Everyone has a picture of God in their mind. What’s yours?
Having spent over four decades in vocational ministry has given me a multitude of opportunities to talk to people about God. One of the questions I like to ask is, “Who is God to you, what’s He like?” The variety of answers is amazing, but they tend to fall into several general categories.
I often ask children to draw what they think God looks like. Some draw a man on a throne, others draw an old man in the clouds. I often see a smiley face, shining sun, or some happy picture from nature. Some have a more religious tint, such as a cross-legged Buddha, cross, man caring for children, or a person doing something miraculous. Children express what they have been told about God, and it’s obvious that they have been told many stories.
Adults also have “images” of God in their minds. Often, I hear the comment that a person could never love, believe in, or accept a God who ______________. Their image of God is what’s in the blank.
Some see God as a cosmic killjoy or an angry force ready to strike them down at a moment’s notice or to stop them from having any fun in life. God is a god of vengeance, and lightning bolts are likely to fly at any moment.
Of course, there is the insurance industry image of God where natural disasters are “acts of God.” For them, God and mother nature are somewhat synonymous. He’s the guy who controls the climate when man is not messing it up.
Others see God as a kindly old grandpa who is relaxing in Heaven and watching the show go on down below. He’s there but not actively engaged in the day-to-day affairs of life.
For some, God is a sort of buddy who walks with them when needed and protects them in life. Many see Him as a sort of genie they turn to in times of need and believe this genie will always be benevolent and grant their wish. He’s always there when you need Him but not active in your life unless you have a need.
Some see Him (or Saint Peter) as the guardian of Heaven. He’s the One who has the final say in whether you get in or not. He has a scale in His hand and will weigh your good deeds against your bad ones and let you in if you’ve done more good than harm. He will send the really bad people away but more than likely you’ll get in because you’re not really a bad person.
Still others see God as a kind of moral conscience. He’s not really a person but the good spirit who sits on our shoulder and tells us the right thing to do.
A growing number of people deny the existence of God all together because He cannot be proved to exist with any manner of proof they will accept. If you are a person of faith, you are unenlightened or brainwashed because reasonable people are certain there is no God.
How do you see God? Take a moment to think that through. How would you describe Him to someone?
Does your image reflect any or some of those above? You are not alone if it does. It is very difficult to describe something or someone so beyond human experience. It is the attempt of the created to describe the creator. Perhaps more of a challenge than we could accept. So where could we find an accurate description of God? How about the Bible?
How does the Bible describe God?
The Bible describes God as the All-Powerful Creator of the universe. He is One in a triune expression of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is perfect and eternal and has many attributes.
“For who is God except the Lord? Who but our God is a solid rock? God is my strong fortress, and he makes my way perfect. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights,” (2 Samuel 22:32-34).
“Who is like you among the gods, O Lord—glorious in holiness, awesome in splendor, performing great wonders?” (Exodus 15:11).
“Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding,” (Isaiah 40:28).
We could go on and on as the Bible describes God in many passages.
The question arises, “Will you accept the biblical image of God or continue to rely on your own?”
It takes courage to accept the biblical description or image of God above that which we have developed or learned. It takes even more courage to embrace the biblical description over the popular ones in society today.
To really understand God’s love for you, you must believe what the Bible says about Him, accept that you can have a relationship with Him only on His terms, and surrender your way of doing things to His.
Remember, you are not surrendering to the god of your creation, but to the God of creation.
This is the God Who intentionally touched mankind in creation and formed you in your mother’s womb before you were even born. This is the God who loved us while we were still His enemies and at the right moment in time sacrificed His perfect Son to pay the price for our sins, something we could never do on our own.
God is the One who saves us from ourselves and the fate of our own choices, not because we deserve or have earned it, but just because He loves us and wants to have a relationship with us.
Finally, and most importantly, God is the One Who continues to mold, guide, and shape us into the image and plan He has for us. He lives in us in the form of the Holy Spirit and makes us into His new creation.
Paul Sums up God’s Love for Us
“For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son,” (Romans 5:10).
“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners,” (Romans 5:8).
“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago,” (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Read these passages again very slowly. Your relationship with God is a gift from Him! Other translations say it is by faith in God. and He even gives us the faith to believe in Him. Our relationship with God is not based upon how good we are but rather on how good God is. God calls us His masterpiece! He created us and saved us to be a part of His master plan! Why did He do this? Because we deserve it? NO, BECAUSE HE LOVES YOU!
Whether or not you feel like or believe it, God sees you as a person of ultimate worth.
God sees you as a person of ultimate worth, not because of what you have or have not done, but because of who you are, His creation. How valuable? If you were the only person to ever live, in the past, present, or future, He would still love you enough to send His perfect Son to pay the price for your sin (that which separates you from Him). When God gives you His gift of salvation, He no longer sees you as the frail, imperfect being that you are. He sees you as the righteous child that you became when Jesus paid for you.
Believe this verse,
“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me,” (Galatians 2:20).
God’s love for you is bigger than you can imagine, because He is bigger than you could ever imagine or dream.
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