Awe Isn’t Just for Special Occasions
Do you ever stop to think about what brings you the feeling of awe? Or maybe the last time you were truly in awe? How did it feel? How did it affect your mind? Heart? Soul? Maybe a better question would be, do you look for opportunities or places to be in awe?
The feeling of awe has been shown in studies to diminish one’s sense of self. You understand your “smallness” when observing the vastness of a truly great thing. Maybe you have felt this at the beach or on top of a mountain looking down at the world around you. Perhaps you have sensed this when holding a newborn, or you may have felt this on your wedding day. But how often in our daily lives do we look around and find awe in what we consider the “mundane”?
Too often what once may have been a source of awe has now become such a part of our daily lives that it has fallen into the normal or “mundane” parts of life. What does this have to do with our study of Philippians? Simply this- how often have we read through these passages and let the words just roll off our hearts instead of standing in awe of them?
Look at the first few verses of our passage this week:
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14
“Because Christ has made me his own.” Pause. Think about that! Christ has made you his own! Why doesn’t that stop our hearts and give us awe? What in our lives is drowning out this truth?
Maybe the problem isn’t that things are lessening our awe of this statement. Maybe the problem is that we don’t consider it a statement worthy of awe to begin with. We have heard it so often and because we know it to be true, perhaps it falls into the category of normal or, you might even say, expected.
Is it though? “Because Christ has made me His own.” What did it take for this statement to become true? So much! In fact, I can’t begin to cover what all it took for the Lord to bring us to Himself, but think with me on just a few of the things needed.
First, the Trinity had to be true. There had to be the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. There had to be a plan to redeem man that included all three persons of the Trinity. There had to be humility on the part of the Son to come and dwell in our broken flesh. There had to be a broken relationship with the Father as the Son took on our sin: sin He had never committed. He had to become our death so that we could have life. He had to endure a humiliating death, publicly shamed in front of those who days before had confessed their adoration of Him. This doesn’t even take into account the years he walked this earth where he was thrown out of towns, accused of being of the devil, questioned by everyone, and thought to be crazy by His own earthly family. There had to be the Spirit who could only come to dwell in our hearts if Christ died. This Spirit leads, teaches, convicts, and comforts us. In addition, of course, is the fact that Christ rose from the grave and now sits in heaven and secures our heavenly home; this was only done by his sacrifice.
Worthy of Awe? We must say yes! A resounding yes! He makes us his own. He pulls us close. He isn’t blind to our failures and shame, but loves us all the more. Christ stands and calls you His. He claims you as His. What a thought!
What does that mean for our daily “mundane” life? It means that life is in fact not “mundane” at all. How could it be? You belong to the Savior of the world! You don’t just belong to Him; you were bought by Him with His own blood. We were dead, and He made us alive. We were lost, and now we are found. We wandered in darkness, and now we walk in light. We had no hope, and now we have the greatest of hope.
Stop and let your heart be in awe of the truth of that. Let it change your heart and mind. Let it penetrate the depths of your thoughts.
If you stand at the beach and are in awe, let it be because you remember His love for you is as vast as the ocean you see before you. When you are in awe of the night sky, remember that “He determines the number of the stars; He gives to all of them their names.” (Psalm 147:4) If you stand on a mountain and feel awe for the world around you, remember that the devil spoke to Jesus on a high mountain and that Jesus would often go up on a mountain to pray. Follow His example and pray as you look at the world that God created and that Jesus died to save.
We can live this life of suffering, hardship, challenges, and grief because we don’t live this life alone. We are His. He doesn’t stand far off. He is near. The Spirit is near. Our prayers and cries are heard by the Father, and He will answer. He will not leave us nor abandon us. This life we live is never “mundane” because it is lived in relationship with our Heavenly Father.
Awe doesn’t have to be saved for special occasions. We can seek to be in awe of the truth of our salvation, even as we wait in the carpool line, while we praise the Lord for the way He has knit together our children. At the grocery store, we can be in awe of the creativity of our God in the different tastes and smells that surround us. Maybe while you are at work, you can stop to remember how you work “heartily as for the Lord, not for men knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” You serve Him because it is He whom you belong to.
Do not let awe be saved for the mountains, the beach, or the night sky. Let the awe of your salvation and place in God’s family mark your life and define your days.
“Because Christ has made me his own.” This is the challenge for the day: slow down for just 10 minutes and remember what this truth has meant to you. How has it changed your life? How has it impacted you? How does God want this truth to give you hope today?