• Daniel Storm

Rethinking Your Idea of God

A.W. Tozer stated, "What comes to our minds when we think of God is the most important thing about us." [1] Meaning, what or who we think God is will define how and why we live our lives. Therefore, it is important that we should have a right view and understanding of God. In fact Tozer goes on to state, "The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion has ever been greater than its idea of God." [1] This is not just talking about atheism (belief that there no God) verse Christianity. I think many Christian believe that since they go to church on Sunday they must have a right view of God, this is however completely incorrect. One can spend their whole life in church and have a completely wrong view of God.

Creating Our Own God

In our culture today we are flooded with choices after choices tailor made to best suit our needs. This restaurant or that restaurant. Netflix or Hulu...etc. and Os Guinness makes note that "even God is reduced to a consumer choice" [2]. With the concept of choice and the desire in our culture for "freedom of choice" this filters into people's (including Christians) idea of God. We pick and choose aspects or concepts of God that we like and discard those that we don't want. Therefore, at the end of the day we are praying or worshiping a hodgepodge idol of our own making. This goes for Christians also. Some have created an idea of God that we want and then worship him on Sunday. However, this worship is not to the one true God but rather to the god we have created. Tozer states [1]:

"the idolatrous heart assumes that God is other than He is--in itself a monstrous sin--and substitutes for the true God one made after its own likeness. Always this God will conform to the image of the one who created it and will be base or pure, cruel or kind, according to the moral state of the mind from which it emerges."

Affects Our View of Sin

With creating a God after our own likeness, this "god" will approve of the sin that we wish to keep in our lives. Os Guinness notes that too many people, including Christians, instead of aligning their lives and understanding of God to the Bible, take the Bible and try to cut and paste it to form the God that pleases them. Therefore, what directs their understanding and idea of God is their desire to live how they want or keep certain sins in their lives. This will always form an incorrect view of God.

Affects Our Worship

Not only does this wrong view of God effect how you view and deal with sin, it also effects how you worship God. David Jeremiah states, "A lot of people worship a god of their own fancy, a god created out of their own heart." [3]. When one does this, we have "approved" sin in our lives and don't take it seriously and "worship" a god that is okay with our sin. Therefore, we are not worshiping the one true God but rather an idol we have created.

Affects Our Purpose

Again if we have created our own god, then the one that really has say in the purpose of our lives is many times ourselves. Even among good church going Christians we have created this idea that the purpose of our lives is to "make money" "build a family" "start a business" etc. Now, none of these are bad in and of themselves but if they become the purpose for which we live we have lost focus. God has created us on purpose for a purpose. Part of that purpose is to Know Him and Make Him Known. My challenge for us, in this, is our idea of our purpose shaped by what God says or what we say?

Affects Our Response to Hard times

Last point to note here is that our view of God will directly affect how we respond to difficult times in our lives. Many times we know someone's true belief in God when difficult times hit. This is not to say true Christ followers don't struggle during hard times, of course they do. Many times in my life, when going through difficult times, I have seen God as distant or uncaring and because of this view I didn't see God having any purpose in what I was going through and that he couldn't or wouldn't do anything about it. This however couldn't be any more false. I needed to correct my view of God, to understand God is not a distant God but intimately involved in my life. He cares more about us than we probably do. Just because I can't see the big picture at the time doesn't mean God doesn't have one, for in fact he does (i.e. Joseph in the Old Testament - Gen. 39).

Flesh It Out

In conclusion let me give you an example to flesh all this out for you. If you view God as a distant God, as in He is not involved in His creation, you will live your life based on this concept. You will live each day as though God is real but this has no bearing on how you live your life. Therefore, our job is based on what we want rather then what God might have for us. When you go through a hard time or life circumstances are difficult you may believe God doesn't care and therefore you alone must fix and do everything yourself. You will not pursue and seek to know God because there really is no point since He is distant. However, all this is false. The idea of God directly effects how we live our lives therefore we must reflect and ask ourselves: What do I believe about God? Once you have asked that question, then ask: Why? Why do you believe that about God? Is it because Scripture says so or is it because of your desire to keep sin or live your life how you desire to? Let me leave you with this: Are you willing to not only align your view of God with Scripture (what He has revealed) but are you willing to adjust your life to truly follow Him rather than the "god of your own fancy".

Jeremiah 9:23-24

“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom

or the strong boast of their strength

or the rich boast of their riches,

24 but let the one who boasts boast about this:

that they have the understanding to know me,

that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,

justice and righteousness on earth,

for in these I delight,”

declares the Lord.

[1] A.W. Tozer. The Knowledge of the Holy: The Attributes of God: Their Meaning in the Christian life (Harper Collins, 1961). 1-5.

[2] Os Guinness. Impossible People: Christian Courage and the Struggle for the Soul of Civilization. (Downer Grove, InterVarsity Press, 2016). 66-72.

[3] David Jeremiah. The God You May Not Know: Take the Journey from Knowing About God to Knowing God (San Diego, Turning Point, 2018). 17-18.

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