AWE: An overwhelming feeling of reverential respect or admiration mixed with fear or wonder.
Apologetics: a defense of our true faith; our giving answers for why we have true hope in Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 3:14-19 NIV - For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
In 2002, my good friend Jason Dulle conducted a seminar at our church designed to be theological teaching rather than inspirational preaching. It was three days of teaching about the reality of the full deity and full humanity of Jesus Christ, and most of the difficult intricacies of Godhead theology that we could explore. But something occurred in our final session that I will never forget as Jason taught on the subject, “Christ - True Man, for Man.” What had been largely an academic seminar suddenly morphed unexpectedly as an important reality of the Incarnation (God adding humanity to His existence) literally broke on all of us including the speaker. It is not uncommon for gifted ministers to hold an audience in awe as they minister, but this was different. It was as if everyone present, regardless of how long they had served God, received a direct and profound understanding of something far beyond intellectual learning. We received an awareness of just how truly, how deeply, and how fully God loved us. Everyone was in awe - not of the speaker’s ability’s or the profound teaching of Scripture. We were stunned (literally) by understanding, at a deeper level, the reality of God’s love for us. People were in tears (including a cameraman we had hired to film the seminar), others had their mouths literally hanging open, others (like myself) were quite shaken as if we were unsure how to respond to what God had just poured out upon us. It was not new information because all of us knew and believed that God loved us. It was not emotionalism caused by the lecturer or music because the presentation was not geared in that manner. Those of us present were quite literally overwhelmed by understanding God’s love for us more perfectly. It went beyond typical church experiences or personal prayer times. We were in awe - as the love we intellectually believed God had for us was really understood not just mentally, and not just as a warm feeling, but on the deepest level possible. I truly wish it was a permanent experience. I am convinced that the security, the warmth, the joy, and the assurance of God’s love in this manner is exactly what both Christians and non-Christians need desperately. In terms of evangelism or even overcoming anxieties as Christians, truly understanding God’s love for you is an awe-inducing experience.
Do you have anxieties about God’s love for you? Will you ask God to let you truly understand - at the deepest level of your being - His love for His people? What Scriptures might you apply to root yourself in the love of God more securely? (Make this a personal study)
Psalm 63:2-3 NIV - I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. 3 Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.