Pride, Fear & Awe
— Trevor Rhodes —
Pride cannibalizes awe. When we begin to think about how we have been wronged, how we deserve more, or how we are not good enough, our worship is devoured. In being prideful, we remain under the umbrella of our own authority, recognizing no greater jurisdiction and, therefore, recognizing no greater Greatness.
Pride cannibalizes awe.
Pride makes it difficult to praise someone who has risen to the top, or someone who succeeds. When pride cannibalizes awe, it prevents us from seeing true greatness. It prevents us from seeing past ourselves. Even while Jesus walked this earth, there were people who couldn’t bring themselves to learn from one of their own. But what we all want is a God who can relate to us, get us, and knows what it’s like to be human. There He was – God – standing right before them, and they missed His greatness, His beauty, and His awe-inspiring miracles.
There is an antidote to pride. It is fear, but I don’t mean worldly fear. To fear the world and its ever-changing circumstances actually robs God of His credibility as the Creator, but fear of God Himself is necessary. Fear of the Lord and the awe we feel for Him go hand in hand. “Let the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.” (Psalm 33:8).
In fact, they may be the same thing. In a sense, to “fear” may mean to be “in awe.” When was the last time you stood “in awe” of the Lord? To imagine a God who can breathe galaxies into existence with just a breath unmistakably evokes a sense of fear in me. To stand before a God who knows me better than I know myself creates a level of vulnerability that can only be followed by awe and wonder.
When was the last time you stood “in awe” of the Lord?
“Awe” is defined as: a reverential state of the mind and heart that results in a respectful fear or genuine wonder. For example, in a secular sense, one can be in awe of the Grand Canyon and all its beauty and greatness. It can cause even the most unemotional person to experience true “awe.” That is, the distinct sense of fear and wonder towards the magnificence of its creation. Basically, it’s just a hole, but what an incredible hole! It fills us with reverence, fear, awe and wonder towards the Creator!
In our worldly pursuit to be the best we can possibly be, some of us have gotten lost in ourselves. It is time to ask the hard questions. Have we become too familiar with God? Have we unwittingly lost our sense of the fearful and wonderful awe of God? If we have what is the solution?
Have we become too familiar with God?
We must remember he is still the Ruler of the universe. Although He is a loving Father, He is still Almighty and Eternal. He is still the Omnipotent Judge of mankind. He is to be reverently honored, exalted, extolled and worshiped like no Other. He is to be held in awe like no Other. He is to be feared like no Other. The reverential fear of the Lord produces reverential awe. No fear of the Lord means no awe of God. As children, we feared the consequences of our parents, therefore we behaved. This, for me, led to a great deal of respect for them later in life. If we posses no fear of God, how can we fully understand how awesome and powerful He really is?
The reverential fear of the Lord produces reverential awe.
Towering above the authority of “self”, Jesus comes low – so low that His face was pressed to mortal bandages to ensure the rescue of even his persecutors. On the morning of resurrection, He burst through the grave to give us a way out of pride and to recover awe. The resurrection restores our astonishment. It eats up our pride with soul-thrilling glory. Our way out of pride is to look upon a God who is so much greater than ourselves that we could never comprehend his depth. We recover awe when we acknowledge the greatness of His sacrifice, the depth of our own sin, and the height of His love – all in the person of Christ.