Sunday, November 04, 2007

Who is God--Really?

1 Peter 1:6 (New International Version)
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.

John 16:33 (New International Version)
33"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

I wonder how God feels when someone turns away from him, not because of who he is, but because of a person who said they were his follower; someone who called themselves by his name; but who was so harsh, abusive, condemning or legalistic that the person said, "If that's what Christianity is about, I want no part of it."

2 Corinthians 3:2 (New International Version) says this:
2You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody.

Rightly or wrongly, people judge God by his followers. This scares and sobers me. I am often such a poor representative of him. It also makes me realize how very important it is to know who really God is.

It's a dangerous thing to choose selectively from God's Word--using it like a grocery store from which to pick up parts that are to our taste or what fits our carefully packaged worldview.

I've heard it said by some that constant victory, perfect health and abundant financial blessing can and should be our expectation as children of God. That is a seductive and appealing view, but does it represent what Jesus said?

The verses for today, from the Daily Light, say that our encouragement comes from facing difficulties with rejoicing and peace. It doesn't say they'll necessarily go away. After all, we are following someone with nail scarred hands and feet.

The only way to know who God really is, is to read the Bible from cover to cover, and then start all over again--dig into the book that holds the whole truth about God. Don't ever just rely on what someone else says. Check it out. What did God really intend when he said this thing or that? Talk about it with friends, pray for insight, meditate, and remember that Jesus was always counter-culture.

Lord, I long to know you and for your image to be formed in me. All that I know of you is so wonderful, but I confess that there are parts I don't understand. Please help me to know you better and to reflect you with greater integrity to the world.


Dave Hingsburger said...

I so agree, as you know I get comments as a disabled person that in essense makes it clear that my disability makes me less of a person, less of a Christian than others. I don't get this at all. It's just not biblical. It's raining here in Windsor, I'm not the first to notice that it rains on both the just and the unjust ... where have I heard that before?

Belinda said...

One of our cell group wrote this to me this morning:
"I am reading this on my way off to work and definitely need a good dose of insight.

I have struggled with the ever unattainable expectations we put on ourselves as Christians: always in good moods, financial success, perfect family etc.

I am then brought back to earth when I read your passages. Grounded and rooted in the foundation of Gods truth.

When these thought enter my head I also often recall the first Cell group I attended when Paul said to me that “we are all broken vessels”. That quote put things in perspective.

Letting go of expectations and focusing on my relationship with God washes away the pain.

When I am struggling with my vices and temptations I often say “Jesus is my accountability partner,” He is always by my side. I love him for that dearly."

Another friend wrote:
"I'm reading through Hosea at the moment, and it's a sobering read. Looking at our weak and indulgent sins through God's lens -- we look pathetic actually. Sin is pathetic, and stupid. And once when I interviewed an LA Sheriff's office cop, he told me that in all his 30 years, he had rarely come across a criminal who was smart. Most of them were at average or below average intelligence. (I was interviewing him for a TV show, and he was disabusing me of the Hannibal Lechter notion of smart criminals.)

So it is with sin -- and it is so clear reading Hosea. You're right -- people do judge God by his people. Yesterday, my minister's sermon was what does a godly community look like, and he used Acts as an example. One of the things was it would be a community that was both attractive and scary to people looking in."