While most of us would say that God is great, do we speak in a way worthy of him?
God is great. God is big. God is transcendent.
The natural line of thinking regarding God’s transcendence is to picture him as higher than us. While that it is true, this attribute is not about him being taller or having a skyline view on the top floor. His transcendence is all about his unthinkable and unattainable worth that far surpasses anything we could ever imagine.
Our verbiage is littered with our attempts to belittle God.
Whether it is referring to God as the man upstairs or Jesus as my homeboy, we futilely attempt to shrink him down to our size.
In our churches, we have the opportunity to teach people to speak highly or to speak lowly of God. We are setting the example and providing the vocabulary whether we know it or not.
We lead people in worship without longing for the object of our worship. Our songs have become so pitiful that there ceases to be an aura of grandeur about them. Their lines are so vague and elementary that it causes to look down on God rather than look up to him. If we can replace the name of “God” with “baby” in some lyrics and it would instantaneously work like a pop love song, we have a serious problem.
Our prayers have been neutered. While I am all for approaching God as Father, sometimes we forget that he is still our “Father in heaven.” Do we show respect for who he is? When we pray, does it seem like we are talking to the one who is so mesmerizingly beyond us? Are our prayers worthy of what he can do or have we neutered them down to requests that require little to no faith.
There’s a danger on the other side as well. While I am all for speaking highly of him, I can cringe when someone’s voice and vocabulary transform into another being once he or she starts to pray. Are we humbled in his presence or are we trying to impress others?
Even our sermons have lost the fire of wonder regarding who we are speaking about. If a sermon sounds more about us than it does about God, we are going about it the wrong way. Before a preacher tell us what we ought to do, we must be aware of the seismic power of whom he speaks of. How tragically often can people leave a sermon and fail to be awestricken by the magnitude of God!
When we fail to speak, sing, pray, and preach of God in such a way that causes our souls to ache for a calming terror of the immense presence of the Almighty God, we do those around us a devilish disservice. God is God – there is none higher than he! There is none so great!
I bid us to wake up and realize the unthinkable infinitude of this glorious God that we claim to follow.
If we were truly to grasp how transcendent he is, it would change our peculiar perspectives. Stop belittling God in church. Speak of him in a way he deserves!
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.