The term “awesome” gets thrown around often in my life. I have been known to tell people of an awesome new show I am watching, or brag about something that my kid has done that was just awesome, or in regards to a spectacular play made in the sporting arena. I have even eaten some awesome food. Over the years I have gotten in the habit of using the word so often, and in reference to so many things, that it has become essentially meaningless.
About a week ago my son let me know that the word awesome was not allowed in one of the classes of the school he attends. I have to admit, I was shocked to find this out. Why would such a word be banned in class? I can understand curse words. I can understand words that could have racist meanings or origins. I can even understand words with a toilet humor attached to them. The word “awesome”, though, seems to be a strange word to ban.
In an attempt to wrap my brain around why such a word would be on a banned list I asked my son if he had been told why the word shouldn’t be used, and he said something that I have to admit rocked me.
‘Dad, we should only stand in awe of God and who He is. Awesome is a word that should be reserved for God.’
I have to admit that I had never thought of things in this way, but the more I think about it, the more I understand it to be true. God is awesome.
In Scripture we find the word awesome used 33 times in the Old Testament, and One time in the New Testament. Each usage is pointing to God in some way or another. I have no desire to seem legalistic, or to assign sin to the use of this word to anything other than God, but talking to my son has opened my eyes to how I should be using this word. As an act of worship, I will only use this word in response to God. There is nothing on Earth that compares to Him.
God alone is awesome