Have you ever formed an opinion about someone, only to discover months or even years later that you were completely off base? I think a lot of us have. In my own experience, I’ve learned that if my perception matched reality then my relationships would often look radically different.
Much like our relationships with others, how you see God drastically affects our relationship with Him. Similarly, what you believe God thinks about you determines how close you will grow toward him.
So, why is an accurate view of God so important?
If we don’t see God with 20/20 vision, it distorts every other area of our lives: how we see ourselves, relate to other people, make decisions and fulfill our life’s purpose.
When you bow your head and pray what comes to your mind about God? Do you see Him as loving and just God, but back in your mind you suspect that He’s also a “cosmic cop”? Or do you see Him as a loving father but one who is complacent, just sitting back in his chair and stroking his white beard?
How we see God is shaped by our life experiences and beliefs. As a result, many people have an inaccurate perception of God because our “vision” of Him is through the cracked lens of the world. But God longs for us to know Him on every level. He loves us and wants a real, intimate relationship with us.
So what does it take to see God for who He really is?
First, we need to admit that our “spiritual eyes” don’t see very clearly on our own. We need to check our vision and challenge first impressions. There are three focal lenses of Biblical revelation that reveal who God is and is not:
1. God is not like us! Some of us make God an enlarged version of our dads or a version of God we’ve seen depicted in a book or movie. But God is not like us – He’s different. He’s holy and unique.Isaiah 40:25-26 talks about how we can’t compare Him to anyone or anything else: “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these?”
2. If left to ourselves, we tend to reduce God to measurable and controllable terms. For instance, we might make God our “self-help genie” and think things like… “If I read my Bible and treat my spouse well then God will make everything OK.” We are in error when we make God accountable to us rather than being humble and realizing we’re completely accountable to Him.
3. God can only be known as He reveals Himself to us. Three ways God reveals himself are:
- Nature – He has clearly written evidence of himself into the created order. In Romans 1:20, the apostle Paul writes: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”
- His Word – God was the original communicator and He created us as receptors of his Word. In John 1:1 says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
- His Son, Jesus – This is probably the most accessible way we can grasp who God is in human terms. The Bible says Jesus is the very essence of God. We can more clearly understand God by observing Jesus.
This week we’ll begin the series, The Real God. In it, we’ll examine seven attributes of God’s character and dismantle common misconceptions about Him. My prayer is that as your beliefs are firmly rooted in truth that you’ll experience God again … for the first time.
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