When did it happen? When did the word “awesome” become a throw-away word?
Here’s what I mean by throw-away.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “awe” this way: an emotion variously combining dread, veneration (respect), and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime. For example, “stood in awe of the king” or “regard nature’s wonders with awe.”
But now, it’s an everyday occurrence for people to refer to the most common things as “awesome.”
That t-shirt with the clever saying on it. “Oh, man, that’s awesome.” A program on TV, the actor in that TV show, a video someone shared on Facebook or YouTube, or hey, just about anything can be “awesome.”
But are they really?
Do these things invoke the kind of inspiration felt when we’re in the presence of something or Someone deserving of the definition? God, His creation and any of His works are truly awesome. There are few things that compare.
A.W. Tozer, a theologian and author of many books about worship, living in the presence of God and knowing Him personally, says this:
“What comes into our minds when we think of God is the most important thing about us.”
What comes to your mind?
If our God is all-knowing, ever-present, sovereign, mighty, and constantly and impartially loving, the truest form of “awesomeness” is Him.
Hubble telescope view of the Horsehead Nebula
Whenever I go stargazing, I’m in awe. When I think of how a baby grows and is born into the world, I’m in awe. Seeing God work through people who are broken and imperfect puts me in awe. God’s revealed message to us through His Word is awesome. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross of Calvary brings me to a state of humility and awe.
I stand in awe of the King.
The other day I was listening to a song by one of my favorite Christian singer/songwriters, Rich Mullens. In “Awesome God,” he writes
“Our God is an awesome God. He reigns from heaven above with wisdom, power and love. Our God is an awesome God.”
That chorus is repeated over and over, a technique in songwriting I’m usually not fond of. But in this case, I don’t mind singing like that. Matter of fact, I was singing at the top of my lungs how awesome God is.
In my van. In front of God and everybody.
Because God and His creation are the truest form of the word “awesome