Friday, 21 June 2013

Putting God in a box (Part 2)

In the last post on this topic we discussed who God is and some common (and wrong) views on his character. In this post my question may delve a little deeper. Why do we do this? Why do we so often try to shape our own view of God instead of allowing his word to tell us who he us? Why do we squirm when we read about his wrath and hatred of sin?

Here are three ideas (there are probably more so feel free to comment if you have any thoughts)

  1. For me at least, a lot of this comes down to pride. Pride is one of those things which seems to invade into every part of my life - is it the same for you? We like to be in charge, and we like to have things our way. The idea of a God who doesn't do what we want him to do, but instead what he wants us to do calls for us to be humble. We don't like that - not under the surface at least
  2. Another idea of why we might try to limit God to how we want him is so that we can make sense of it all. God is hard (impossible) to understand fully. His ways are higher than our ways. But we want to understand and we want to learn, and so I think we find ourselves limiting God to help us understand him. Why is it easy to do this? Well I'd imagine that Satan makes every effort to - what would he want more than for us to have a skewed image of our creator, saviour and lord?
  3. A just God is almost offensive to us. We don't like the idea of a God who will send people to hell (our friends and family included, and ourselves if we aren't christians). A God who hates sin and therefore is unhappy with us. We like the idea of a God who loves us and forgives and is merciful, but we are guilty and his justice means that without Jesus there is a punishment for that guilt.

So how then can we get to know God better? How can we defend against putting him in a box (whether it be accidentally or on purpose)?

Well we need to read the bible. His word tells us about him. How do you get to know someone? You talk to them. You listen to what they say. It's the same in our relationship and walk with God. We need to listen to him by reading his word and paying attention to it. When we are offended by what we read or it doesn't sit right with us, we need to ask why and work it through. And we need to pray to him, and ask for his help to know him better and to commit ourselves to him. We need to pray about everything - we need to "cast all [our] anxieties on him because he cares for [us]" (1 Peter 5:7).

In summary:

Isaiah 55:9
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

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