Have I created a “fake god?” In The Cure, (a recommended read), author John Lynch raises this question. Does this apply to you in some way? “We imagine Him staring at us with a thin smile and a measured nod. He has to love us, but He’s not sure He likes us. His arms are folded. He wears an expression that says “Yes, your sins are forgiven. Your ticket’s punched for eternity. But don’t get lazy! You’ve got to stop being such a slug. And don’t think I missed that last wrong thought you had 4 minutes ago. I’m not stupid. I still keep a list. I just don’t lose my temper as much. “
How can we draw close to a god we imagine saying, “Sure your sins are forgiven, but you’re still the same failure. You had an excuse before, but not anymore.” A.W. Tozer says “What comes to mind when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” In your heart, what do you conceive God to be like? Here are 5 root beliefs which dramatically distort our view of God:
- God can’t satisfy me as much as this sin. (This is really short-term thinking, isn’t it?)
- I’ve always been this way. I don’t believe I’m powerful enough to change that. (2 Cor. 5:17declares we are NEW creations in Christ! We are right in that WE are not powerful enough to change our nature. But God is. He yearns to! “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength!” (Phil. 4:13)
- There is something fundamentally wrong with me. (Yes, dear. We are all part of a BIG club thanks to Adam. (Rom. 3:23). The disease is called sin and the remedy is receiving Christ who died to free us from its penalty and its power. (Rom. 6:17;18;23; 8:3-4)
- I don’t believe God has been fully good to me. (Now this is really sounding like a pity party. Read Ps. 18:19; 107:20; Prov. 11:8; Col. 1:13)
Here are some questions to ask yourself if you just might be seeing shame or insecurity alter your view and understanding of God: (These are also from the author. Let these truths sink in deeply)
- Do I measure my closeness to God by how little I’m sinning or by my trust that, to the extent the Father loves Jesus, Jesus loves me?
- Do I see myself primarily as a “saved sinner”or a “saint who still struggles with sin?”
- When I talk with God, do I spend more time rehearsing my failures or enjoying His presence?
- Am I drawn to severe authors and preachers who challenge me to “get serious about sin”or to those who encourage me to trust and live out this new identity in me?
- Am I drawn to messages that tell me I haven’t done enough or to those that remind me who I am so that I’m free to live out this life God desires to unfold in me?
- Do I read the Bible as “You ought”and “You should” rather than “You can” and “this is who you are now?”
We don’t need to be “white knuckled” about our “hold” on God. He is the one who holds us firmly. “Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 8:39) Are you truly “in” Christ Jesus? Right thinking about God requires we discover Him through His word, His “love letter” to us. There is no excuse good enough to sustain a false image of God once we make a practice of seeing how He has revealed Himself through His word, and especially through the life of the person Jesus. Read all about it! Now, Think About It.