Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Developing a healthy image of God

Seeing God in the proper way makes our prayers more effective, causes our relationship with Him to be more real and personal, greatly diminishes our fleshly tendencies to wander away from faith, and preempts demons and their attacks. I’ve compiled a list of what I see as the most important components of who God is based on what the Bible reveals about Him. It’s not a perfect list, but it’s definitely a starting point to developing a healthy image of God.

  1. He’s holy. He is set apart from the ordinary and common, and deserves total and utmost respect. Respecting a holy God means having holy fear: fear of losing His favor and of being banished for eternity because of our sin.  
  2. He deserves all praise and worship… because He’s perfect and holy, not because we’ve received something from Him. Even if God never sent Jesus to die for us, even if we had no hope of salvation or answered prayer on this earth, He would still be worthy of all praise and honor because He is supreme and perfect. The fact that He has been so gracious to grant us the opportunity to be saved through Jesus’ sacrifice only makes Him even more worthy of praise.
  3. He is just. He hates evil and will punish it. He even obeys His own laws. He will not, and cannot allow people who are defiled by sin to enter His Kingdom. If He tolerated evil, He would no longer be God, no longer be holy and no longer be perfect. The sacrifice of Jesus would be worthless, He would cease to exist as God, and Satan would win. Because He is just, Jesus was sent to earth to die in our place for the sins, sicknesses and evils of the world - past, present and future. Jesus took the punishment that each and every one of us deserves. As long as we serve Him daily as our Lord and Savior we no longer need to worry about being punished. 
  4. He’s personal. He is a Father, a Counselor, a Comforter, a Shepherd, a Light and a Path. He wants a relationship with us, and not a list of dos and don’ts that we check off to prove how good we are. Just like the people who you love the most, He wants to listen to you, speak to you, carry you through tough times, inspire you to greater things, laugh with you, refresh you – and also correct you when you are entering into the dangerous territory of the devil’s realm. He is both our Master, and our Friend.
  5. He is goodness in it’s purest form. When we view Him with the warped lens of past relationships that failed and hurt us deeply, we block what little faith we may have. Religious traditions distort God’s justice and holiness, convincing us that we have no right to ask for blessings, much less insist on receiving them. Because He is good, and because He’s a Father, it’s only logical that He is eager to bless His children with all things that are good and perfect. Our job is to act on that fact, and to expect Him to protect and provide the best for us by faith.
  6. For Him to act, our faith has to act. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11). Faith isn’t simply believing we’ll go to heaven when we die – it involves proving that we believe through actions. Living by faith means a going out on a limb, with no worldly guarantee that we won’t fall. Obedience and sacrifice are risky, but He can only work supernaturally in our lives when risks of obedience are taken. This means that all people – no matter their background, culture, nation, or economic status – are instantly placed on an even playing field. Anyone can see miracles and move mountains with an active, pure faith.
  7. He is love. Today, the word “love” is usually misinterpreted to mean embracing everything, even sin and evil. Like in point number 3, God would cease to be God if He did that, so we can conclude that pure love is intolerant of certain things. Perfect love “…does not rejoice in evil” (1 Corinthians 13), but goes so far as to punish it. As a loving Father, He defends us from evil if we act as His children. Of course we have the choice to give in to evil, reject His protection, and suffer the pain of our own choices. But even when we’ve drifted far from Him, and blame Him for our own mistakes, He still loves us and is reaching out to draw us back to Himself.

What aspects of God’s character are hard for you to believe? How has your image of God been distorted by religion? We’ll be looking at these points every day to see what His word has to say about each one.  

May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in His works. He looks on the earth, and it trembles; He touches the mountains, and they smoke. I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. May my meditation be sweet to Him, for I will be glad in the Lord. Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord!   Psalm 104:31-35, MEV

1 comment:

  1. It was during the previous 21days of fasting that the Holy Spirit taught me this, to see God as He really is and the knowledge of His Spirit living in me brought me to this realization; that there is a great and undefeated power within me.

    This has also taught me to declare the greatness of God even when I am going through challenges. Its often easy to express how great a problem is and perhaps at the end of the sentence utter "but God..." this showed who I believed had more power and reality is in my eyes the problem took the upper hand. When I would pray during the 21days, these thoughts came; who is God? and is anything to hard for God? I would verbally respond with joy, remembering His power in my life, the psalms and even the exodus. My approach in prayers, even against the devil, in my speech when facing problems totally transformed.

    If I explained how this action transformed my spiritual life and seeing the fruits overflowing to my external life, I would write a book.

    Thank you for the message. I didn't know how to explain this in an impactful way, truth is I never tried, I thought if I took the action, those around me will get the Spirit but the blog will reach many more.