I think we could use a lot more awe in our life. Jaw-dropping, “wow I can’t believe it” kind of awe. The kind of awe that makes us rethink everything—all of our self-centered decisions and all the moments we have acted less than gracious to those around us.
The kind of awe that makes us think, “Only a King could do that.” And then makes us turn toward that King.
We are so easily distracted, and people aren’t impressed anymore. People aren’t looking for things bigger than themselves, things more interesting than themselves, because they’re so desperate to be the most important thing. We’ve lost awe because we have become our own idols. Instead of awe, instead of servitude, instead of self-sacrifice and self-control, everyone preaches comfort, convenience, and pretty much whatever makes you feel good and gets you to where you want to be. There’s no understanding of the Holy hierarchy of King Jesus being worthy of it all.
But to the same degree and to paraphrase the great C.S. Lewis, we must not overstate the uniqueness of our experience as humans now—it seems this has almost always been the case. Like, everything we are experiencing is in line with the way people have always been, the media just makes everything seem more dramatic.
We live in cycles of the same sins—not just individually or societally but historically. Idolatry has always been a problem, and we just happen to have access to the same idols that everyone has always had access to—money, power, lust. It’s all the same thing we have seen for hundreds and hundreds of years. We love to let ourselves sit on the throne of our own hearts—as if we have some miraculous way of making ourselves happy and fulfilled. But we fall short—money falls short, power falls short, sex falls short.
We cannot put our hope in things that are so flighty and inconsistent, including ourselves.
There’s this incredible space in which we have been called to live in awe and joy and total fulfillment, and it has absolutely nothing to do with who we are or what we can do. That’s the space where we can not only set aside ourselves but forget ourselves—and not in a bad, careless way, but in a willful, joyful way—in a sacrifice way that isn’t so much of a sacrifice as it is a shedding of the things that won’t bring us into holiness or joy anyway.
We cannot live in awe of ourselves, and in the spaces when we try to, we will be greatly disappointed.
There is One Name that is worthy of praise, and it isn’t ours.