Cultivating Awe

My Viewfinder is Blocked. One look at the pile of laundry, the bits of leftovers dropped from the last meal all over the floor, and the list of work/family/life stuff that I have on the docket for today, and I’m painfully aware of just how tired I suddenly am. That’s the point, though- it’s when I look down here. It’s easy for myself to be so large in my viewfinder of life that I just can’t see the God that made me and is everywhere-present and fully capable of handling every detail.

The Secret to Great Gain. We have only so many moments to spend in this life, and we can’t be certain that when we reach our hands in our pockets tomorrow that there will be any tokens of time left there to spend. We’re all spending our moments to gain something- whether that something has earthly or eternal value. God has clearly laid out to us all a secret to great gain in life. What is it? In 1 Timothy 6, Paul warns of the ruin and destruction that threatens our lives when we get caught up too much in earthly gain,”But godliness with contentment is great gain” (vs. 6).  While contentment is a critical part in this, we will be focusing on the godliness part here.  In 2 Peter 1:3-9, Peter talks about how God’s divine power has given us everything we need for godliness and incites us to make every effort to pursue it.

So, What is Godliness?

I remember being captivated by the concepts behind this word as a new Christian struggling to understand what it means to “fear the Lord.” I have had to deal with a lot of fear in my life, so understanding what God meant on this was quite important to me. The Bible deals with two types of fear- an anxious dread of the wrath of God against sin that someone under God’s wrath may experience in moments of guilt and regret, and the awe, reverence, adoration, respect, admiration and honor that stops a child of the King in his or her tracks and elicits thankful praise.

The latter is the one closely connected to godliness.  When awe and reverence for the Lord characterizes one’s life, godliness is the result. TheBible.org has a nice article that defines godliness as “devotion in action” and goes on to say that:

“Devotion is not an activity; it is an attitude toward God. This attitude is composed of three essential elements:

  • the fear of God
  • the love of God
  • the desire for God.

Note that all three elements focus upon God. The practice of godliness is an exercise or discipline that focuses upon God. From this Godward attitude arises the character and conduct that we usually think of as godliness.”

Entirely Within our Reach. While it is so easy to get our viewfinders blocked, godliness is the fruit of discipline. Yet, it is something that God, through His divine power, glory and goodness, has placed entirely in our reach. He has given us everything we need for it (2 Peter 1:3-9). It is something that can be cultivated through time spent in His presence, in His Word, with His family, in reflection and prayer.

Hebrews 12:28-29  28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”

 

Read more about what inspires this in The Most Important Fact about us.

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