A couple of years ago I was greatly encouraged by Paul David Tripp’s Dangerous Calling. It was an honest book highlighting the difficult but glorious road of pastoral ministry. It is one of those books that pastors, elders, and anyone who has a pastor should read every so often to be shaken back into reality. Among the warnings and graces of the book, what stuck with me the most was a chapter on being an awe-driven pastor. Living, ministering and worshiping out of awe of the goodness of God in Christ. This is exactly how I want to live and I am always pursuing, longing for and talking about this awe of the gospel.
So when Crossway offered a copy of Tripp’s new book, Awe: Why It Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and Do, I jump on it.
Tripp is a gifted communicator and this book made up of brief chapters all inclining us to desire more awe. In situation after situation we are presented with the truth of an awe problem in our lives. The reasons we dwell in the land of comfortable sins, the priorities we run after, the way we treat others, they are all shaped by our awe and when it is misplaced we are off kilter by a few degrees.
The truth is, we were all created for awe. We were all made to be struck by the infinite goodness and glory of God but as a result of the fall of humanity into sin, we skip after awe from lesser sources and they always come up short. Tripp tackles this by thinking through thirteen categories or our lives including our awe amnesia, our tendency toward complaint, materialism, worldview, church, ministry, parenting and our work. In each he reveals the better way of awe, being struck and transformed by the truth of Christ and how it is meant to motivated our living, living in quite a different way than the norm.
Tripp is not preachy here, instead he is inviting you to join him in a journey toward awe. “I wrote this book for me because I am aware that I need to spend more time gazing upon the beauty of the Lord. I need to put my heart in a place where it can once again be in awe of the grandeur of God that reaches far beyond the bounds of the most expressive words in the human vocabulary. I need awe of him to recapture, refocus, and redirect my heart again and again.” Me too Paul, me too.
The book is a helpful diagnostic for the awe problem of our lives and it is a call to recenter on the glory of God, to stare at the goodness of Jesus until we see it. Those looking for orderly steps of application might be left wanting, but awe is about putting ourselves in places of being wrecked by God’s otherness and kindness toward us, you can’t bootstrap that!
I highly encourage you to check out Awe, and ask the Lord to give you an increasing dose of it in your life.
Here are some choice quotes from the book:
“What all people share in common is that they are human beings, and because they are human beings, they are hardwired for awe.”
“In grace, God does battle for the awe of our hearts. You could argue that one of the fundamental purposes of the great redemptive story and the person and work of Jesus is to recapture our hearts for the awe of God and God alone.”
“Whether it’s the worship service, the children’s lesson, the small group, or the sermon itself, each must share the central goal of holding the awesome glory of the works of the Lord before his people once again.”
“If you’re not living in awe of God, you are left with no higher agenda than to live for yourself. It really does get reduced to your wants, your needs, and your feelings.”
“Jesus is saying that the anxiety of a believer is directly connected to his street-level view of God. If awe of God does not grip your heart, the anxieties of life will likely influence how you live.”
“There is no greater grace than to have your fickle heart forgiven and finally satisfied forever and ever. Amen.”