In the final blog of our mini-series on contrasts I’d like us to consider the following two focal points- the God of our Head vs the God of Scripture. There is considerable distance between the two and I wonder if we really have given any thought to it in our daily lives.
We hear it all the time. Some derivative of “God wants us to be nice to each other.” It points out that along the way, the partially uninformed are now sharing their lack of information with others who would, in turn, share it with even more people until it gets so diluted down no one could recognize it as the same as it started with. This points to the fact that we begin to come up with ideas about God which do not resemble the God of Scripture whatsoever. We just don’t know what we don’t know.
I hate in part to bring this up but it so illustrates my point. I was raised in a rather conservative German Lutheran church that had a rather difficult view of God. He was not a happy camper. The senior pastor’s attitude personalized the belief that God will crush you like a bug if you screw up. Youngsters lived in fear of his anger in the church and the consequences they would pay when their parents would find out.
It would be years later that I began to wonder why my concept of a God of love was a bit fuzzy. It was not taught, shared, or lived out in the life of anyone near me. I had no model to equate that model of love and forgiveness to look to for relief. I was simply the bug running for cover like everyone else.
Yet God does not desire the death of sinners. Scripture says He loved the world so much that He sent His son Jesus to die the death on the cross, be raised from the dead, and pay the once-for-all price for salvation. Jesus did it. Now I do not have to do it!
We THINK we know what is on the mind of God only because of what we THINK we heard from someone else, and often that really never painted a great picture. So ask yourself this question- “Is what I think I know about God really based from Scriptural reading and prayer or is it based upon someone’s advice or interpretation?”
We really WANT to know because they keep making movies and books about people who claim to have gone to heaven and for whatever reason have come back to tell us how they peeked into eternity. I really wonder how their book tour squares with what Jesus tells us about how the end will come, as a thief in the night, timing unknown by all. Can’t sell many books that way!
Just so you realize that this is an extremely slippery slope these days, I am not suggesting to you that I know what God is saying to you, or that my understanding of God is everything it needs to be. It is what I have studied and discerned with the help of the Holy Spirit and what I have read and taken to heart from Scripture. It is not based upon what I read from the rack waiting to check out at the grocery store.
Stop and ask yourself what you know about God. Stop and ask yourself who models for you what you think are the attributes of God? Where do you get your information? Is your faith built upon what it ought to be, or is it more common misunderstandings than get repeated?
What I am hoping to get at in all of this is the fact this side of eternity we still have a lot to learn about God and our faith. We must be involved in a process of discerning what God is about in our lives. Sometimes we hear and see that in church, and at other times we see that lived out better in a coffee shop. In the process of your own personal learning, be sure you take the time to live out a life of faith that is based upon a solid foundation, and not upon what someone heard that morning on their favorite morning show.
God is bigger than all of that! Take the time to study what Scripture says and then apply it personally to your life. Talk about it with your circles of family and friends. Just be certain your understanding is based upon Scripture, and not hearsay.