This is another "teaser" from the book that I'm writing called Divine Disturbance. This follows the previous entry called "Do Your Prayers Make God Yawn?"
I need your help on this. I've listed several different "pictures" of our view of God. If you can think of others, please let me know. I would love to add your idea to the book!
Character – focusing on the character of his Heavenly Father
Nehemiah begins his prayer this way: “I pray, Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God…” This is how Nehemiah begins one of the most powerful prayers in all of Scripture! Wow. Do you really believe that God is great and awesome? I believe that one of the major hurdles for NOT living audaciously is because we don’t know who God REALLY is. We don’t embrace His character. We have misconceptions about God. Our view is skewed.
One of the books that stopped me in my theological tracks was The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer. This small book is pregnant with power. Out of the many take-aways from this book, one stands out among the rest. Tozer quips “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Read that again, slowly.
He goes onto say that “We tend, by a secret law of the soul, to move toward our mental image of God.” Read that again, slowly.
The correlation is thus: Nehemiah’s view of the character of God was that He was great and awesome, able to accomplish anything, the God of the impossible, the God who implants and imparts Divine Disturbances to mere mortals and was going to aide in seeing this dream become a reality.
What is your view of the character of God? How do you view God, really? Because, remember, your view determines your actions. Maybe you’ve never thought of it this way before, but I believe that your erroneous view of God, as Tozer states, is the cause of all of your problems in life.
Here are some common views of the character of God that people have. Where can you relate?
What is your view of God?
- God is a Fun Grandfather
I saw a bumper sticker the other day that embodies this view. It said “Sin now, pray later.” When you view God like a Fun Grandfather, you act as if He’s just going to wink at your actions and give you a check in the mail for your birthday. He’ll let you get away with anything because He’s trying to be the “cool” grandpa.
- God is a Gumball Machine
I heard someone say recently, “I give money in the offering plate because when I give, I get.” Their view of God was that God was a gumball machine. Give a little, He’s gonna give a little. Give and take.
- God is a Genie in a Bottle
God is at your beckon call. He wants to grant your every wish, regardless if it matches up with Scripture or not. As long as you pray the right words, with the right inflections, with the right cadence, God is required to make you healthy, wealthy and whole.
- God is an Emergency Parachute
You know that your view of God is the emergency parachute if you find yourself praying prayers like this, “Lord, if you get me out of this one, I promise I’ll never…” Or, “If you can help me NOW, I promise I’ll always…” But what happens after God comes through and delivers? Your never and always get lost in your busyness and you revert back to life before God’s merciful intervention.
- God is My Homeboy
You’ve seen the t-shirts made famous by Hollywood celebrities. They are wearing Jesus Is My Homeboy memorabilia while being hammered at parties, living lifestyles completely contrary to the life of Christ. However, their actions are merely a reflection of their perception of Jesus. If their view of Christ is that he is their homeboy, it makes sense that He would be club hopping with them.
- God is a Wimp
Does your God look like Napoleon Dynamite or The Gladiator? Most of us don’t pray courageous prayers like Nehemiah because we view God as too weak to handle our requests. We have bought into the “Jesus meek and mild” philosophy. Consequently, our actions follow. We control everyone and everything in our lives because obviously God can’t handle the details. He’s not strong enough to conquer the addiction. He’s not powerful enough to restore our marriage. He’s inept at resurrecting our finances. So, instead of praying and trusting, we control and stress.
- God is an Overstressed Boss
God is too busy to listen to you. He’s got too much on His plate. He’s too concerned with pressing world issues to care about your “small” request. Really? Tell me, what’s a small request with God? What’s a big request? You don’t want to bother your busy heavenly Father because obviously He’s pacing the streets of gold, worrying about the upcoming election, terrorism, gun-control, and nuclear armament. His knuckles are white with anxiety because His to-do list of going out of control. He has no time for you.
- God is an Abusive Parent
Maybe the scares of someone in your life who has done some horrendous things to your has transferred to your Heavenly Father. If they abused you (physically, verbally, emotionally) they obviously God treats you like that. You equate the two. And tragically, your actions follow your view. You’re afraid. You shrink back. There’s a disconnect between the Scriptures and your story. You don’t trust. You isolate yourself. You miss out on the abundant life God has for you.
- God is a Cosmic Cop
Constantly looking in your rearview mirror, you just KNOW that God’s going to “get you.” Have you ever driven with expired license plate tags? I have. When I would see a cop, I would automatically veer off onto a side street, because I just KNEW that this cop was going to pull me over. Then, from the backseat I would often hear, “Daddy, this isn’t the way home! Why did we turn down that street?” Ouch.
But sadly, many Christians view their Heavenly Father this way. Is this you? Are your actions a direct result of this erroneous view?
- God is an Impersonal Force
God is not relational. He’s like electricity. He doesn’t have a personality. Therefore, why would you pray to an impersonal electrical force? He is not a He, rather an IT. An IT does not have compassion. An IT cannot love you. An IT does not forgive you.
So, having said all that, what is YOUR view of God’s character. I believe that God is holy, just, forgiving, powerful, merciful, gracious, playful, humorous, creative, passionate, sovereign, compassionate and detailed. My actions therefore are dictated by my view. So are yours.