11 Sep What’s Stopping Us From Experiencing the Awe of God?
I want to dwell at the feet of God. I want to live in awe of Him. Don’t you?
So what’s stopping us? While that seems like a simple question, the complexities of life keep getting in the way. The simple answer is nothing. Living in awe of God is a choice. We make it; we do it.
But to put aside the obstacles we face and experience genuine awe and a relationship with Him, we need to understand what those obstacles are and how to overcome them. God’s rulebook, His Holy Word, gives us all we need to know.
Think about the story of Mary, Martha’s sister. Mary lived in awe of the Lord when others did not and, and she experienced a deep and abiding joy because of that awe.
Look at Luke 10:38-42: “As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself?
Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
I always feel a little bad for Martha in this passage. She earnestly wants the Lord’s visit to her home to go well. If you’ve hosted a group of guests, you know all the work that goes into the meal and the hospitality required. Unexpected guests, which Jesus and His followers were, are even more work.
Mary, however, knew that this was her opportunity to sit at the feet of the Lord and learn from Him. She cast off her responsibilities, her worries, and the work and sat in awe.
This story teaches us a valuable lesson: busyness keeps us from experiencing the awe of God.
I’m not saying it is always easy to focus on God and who He is. In fact, I’m right there with you when I say it is unbelievably difficult. Busyness has a way of taking over our lives to the point we sometimes resent the Marys of the world. My prayer for this is “Lord, please let me remember today the value of being a Mary in a Martha world. I know the work needs done, but right now I just want to sit at your feet and listen in awe.”
We each have tasks we need to accomplish. But we need to do so with perspective. Our primary responsibility in life is to trust and follow Jesus. If we do that, He will accomplish through us what really needs to be done.
Another lesson we learn from Mary is that circumstance can distract us from our pursuit of the awe of God.
Jesus returns to see Mary and Martha at a later date, and when He arrives, he finds that their brother, Lazarus, has died. He is greeted by the two sisters with nearly identical words.
John 11:21: “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
John 11:32: When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
While their words were the same, their meanings and intent were dramatically different. Martha was accusatory and bitter while Mary spoke from a place of belief and awe.
Jesus then asks to be taken to where Lazarus is buried and against Martha’s wishes has the tomb opened. “Then Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?’ (Be awed)” (John 11:40).
The circumstances were not good for Mary and Martha. Mary, despite the circumstances, remained in awe. And because of that, Jesus brought Lazarus back from death. Martha let the circumstances and practicalities get in the way of that awe once again, but after Lazarus walked from his tomb, everyone present stood in awe of the Lord.
The last lesson we learn from Mary is that fear can stop us from experiencing the awe of God.
Mary came to the upper room to anoint Jesus’ feet with oil shortly before the end of His life here on earth. The others present were astonished, and not very nice, about what they saw as a waste of valuable resources.
Mary did not let fear of what the others thought stop her. She continued with her task and kept her focus on the Lord. Are you in fear of something today? Fear has no place in our lives as Jesus Followers, and if we let it in it detracts from our ability to live in awe.
As we move forward in our sermon series, take time to examine your life. Are busyness, circumstance, or fear keeping you from experiencing the awe of God? Make a commitment today to sit at His feet, just as Mary did 2,000 years ago.