Have you ever gotten to know someone and later realized that your first impression of him or her was completely wrong? We all have a tendency to form opinions based on subtle cues, knowledge and even our own perceptions. When our impressions are 180 degrees off base, they become a real barrier in building an authentic relationship with someone.
Much in the same way, many of us have constructed an image of God that’s based on our feelings rather than on who God really is. In doing so, we constrain God to characteristics and proportions that make sense to us … personality traits that we’re familiar with. Essentially, we completely limit the very essence of who God is!
Consider this cause / effect relationship:
- If you see God as an overzealous policeman, you’ll always walk on eggshells.
- If you see God as an angry judge, you’ll always struggle with guilt.
- If you believe God is just like us, you’ll be casual about your sin.
- If you see God as distant and uninvolved, you’ll never pursue an intimate relationship with Him.
What you think about God shapes your whole relationship with Him. In addition, what you believe God thinks about you determines how close you will grow toward him.
You were created for closeness, love and friendship with your Creator. Are you experiencing that? If you’re not sure, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you feel like you never measure up?
- Do you sense that God is “down on you?”
- Do you fear that God is waiting for you to mess up so he can discipline you?
- Do you find it difficult to pray?
- Does the thought that God delights in you seem foreign?
- Do you secretly struggle with obeying God because you fear missing out on the fun in life by completely surrendering to Him?
Your answers to these questions reveal a lot about who you believe God is. You see – God cares a great deal about what we think of Him. He longs for us to see him clearly and know him on a deeply personal level.
This week we’ll begin a new series called God As He Longs for You to See Him. In it, we’ll examine the key characteristics that God has revealed about Himself. Along the way, we’ll dismantle many of the most common misperceptions of God and the barriers each represents in drawing closer to Him.
I invite you to take out your wallet-sized, crinkled snapshot of God and trade it in for an entirely new perspective. Doing so will change the way you pray, the way you live, and the way you think about the world around you.
Keep Pressin’ Ahead,
Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip