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Some Things in Life Should Be Reserved for God and Him Alone

Some Things in Life Should Be Reserved for God and Him Alone

Matt Redman
Elvis impersonator

Elvis impersonators. They’re everywhere. If the statistics are to be believed, one in every 3,400 North Americans is one. In 1977, the year Presley died, there were only about 150 Elvis wannabes dotted around the USA. These days there are approximately 85,000 of them. Now, if this growth rate continues, by the year 2019, one in three people in the U.S. will be an Elvis impersonator! (Stats taken from The Lore of Averages, by Karen Farrington, (Arcane)*.

The Lore of Averages

A lot of these people would no doubt tell you that Elvis was awesome. But, Biblically speaking, they’d be wrong. He may well have been the crème de la crème of rock and roll acts—and many other things beside—but the Bible makes it quite clear that there’s only One who is worthy of the description awesome:

“Dominion and awe belong to God” (Job 25:2).

Not To Be Cruel

Awesomeness (I think I just created a brand new word) is something reserved for God alone. He is the sole owner of that title. But looking around these days, you wouldn’t think so. It seems today that everything is awesome. “Man, this hamburger is awesome….” “That movie was awesome….” “The game was awe- some!” Somehow we’ve lost yet another word for describing our God and seen it diluted down all over the world, used for the most trivial and fleeting of things.

My point is this: it’s essential that we use our words purposefully in gathered worship—and one great way of doing this is to identify certain words that we will only ever use towards or about our God. Every time we sing them, therefore, we remember and respond to His otherness.

Word Walls

But of course, there’s an- other side to this argument: “If we’re using words uniquely towards God, are we not creating an alien vocabulary and putting up even more barriers to those outside of the Church?” This is indeed a good point to make, and we must guard against swamping our gathered worship songs and services with words unfamiliar to our visitors. But as I once heard Todd Hunter explain, when you join any group of people—for example a car mechanics club—there will always be a few new words to learn. Those who run this club will not be gripped with paranoia, panicking to rename everything that was un- known, simply for your benefit. Instead, where they have a reason, they will cling to these distinctives and, simply, educate newcomers as to the meaning of these various words.

Couldn’t we do the same in the Church—celebrating the unique names and attributes of our God, yet along the journey teaching on their meanings? Sometimes you can even do that with- in the very same song you’re using the word. Brian Doerksen’s “Refiner’s Fire”* is a great example:

“I choose to be holy, set apart for You Lord.”

He skillfully manages to describe the essence of the word ‘holy’ (i.e.; being ‘set apart’) immediately after it appears in the song. In my book, that’s pretty clever stuff.


I’m by no means saying I’ve got this whole thing sorted in my mind. Far from it. But what I think to be true is this: Out of sheer reverence and respect, some things in life should be reserved for God and Him alone. This principle must surely extend to our use of words. Worship wordsmiths, let’s reclaim some descriptions and titles which were purposed only ever to be used for our incredible God. And if you can’t think where to begin, why not join me on my personal hobbyhorse—helping to reclaim the word ‘awesome’ for His worship. Just for fun, I’m thinking of starting a club—and the rules are very simple: never again use the words awesome and hamburger in the same sentence. I’ve even gone to the lengths of buying a Web domain: www. Together, we will change the world! (A little bit.)

So what is truly awesome? Certainly not a hamburger. Not a movie. Not even the ‘main man’ in rock and roll history. Only God is awesome.

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