I keep coming back to this question: “What do I think God is like?”
Let me first state that in no way am I attempting to answer this question from my own feelings, understanding, and insight; rather, this question pertains to how I conceptualize what the Scripture reveals about the Lord. At the heart of this question is the search for where my faith in and response to God breaks down as a result of my failure to grasp the message of Scripture. You see, I struggle to know God because I am completely depraved—not because the Bible inadequately reveals God.
The Scripture reminded me of the importance of this question while reading in Luke 19 (vs.11-27). The story is familiar, but often misinterpreted. Jesus tells the parable of a master entrusting three stewards (servants) with the same amount of funds (about 3 months wages). Two of the servants invest their master’s money and make a profit, one does not. When the master returns and examines the servants, he praises two of the servants for properly handling the funds he entrusted to them and he strongly punishes the servant that did nothing with the funds entrusted to him.
When this passage is taught, often the focus is good stewardship of what God entrusts to us. Sadly, this is not the point of the parable. The point of the parable is why the wicked servant did not invest the funds. The answer? He thought the master to be severe and exacting, thus he did his master’s authority undesirable (vs. 21 & 27). Even though the wicked servant could have imitated what he saw the other two servants doing, he chose not too because of his dislike for the master. The point Jesus makes to the pharisees is clear, because they do not desire Christ—God is flesh—to rule them, they do not obey Him as Lord. As I pondered this, I realized that what I dislike about God shapes me as much as what I love and admire about the Lord does. Let me prove this. I know it seems hard and evil to say we dislike something about God (because it is!) but, as fallen humans, there remains within us seeds of rebellion that constantly refuse the authority and rule of God. Additionally, our confusion about God creates great difficulty in exercising obedience to God. Allow me to demonstrate.
When I think God is looking to punish me for my sins, I do not tell others about Him. Why? Because I am in fear of judgment, and judgement never motivates us to praise the Lord. When I feel that serving God is too difficult and unenjoyable, I will not praise Him or proclaim Him to others. Why? Because I feel overwhelmed and crushed instead of empowered and emboldened to share. You see, the way we view God radically alters how we act. When we dislike God’s authority we will ALWAYS rebel; however, when we are confused about the character and nature of God (as the wicked servant was), then we will operate within that confusion through acts of rebellion as well.
Bearing this in mind, let’s examine our understanding of God:
When you think about the Lord and Christianity, what thoughts do you have that feel negative, unpleasant, and undesirable? What does the Bible say about these thoughts (How does it contradict, defeat, and correct these thoughts?)?
When you think about the Lord and Christianity, what motivates you to find joy, hope, and comfort in God? Why do you think this fades from our minds so quickly?
As you contemplate these questions, it is my expectation that the Holy Spirit will draw your heart to Him. Remember, our God is a God of hope who draws us into His marvelous presence for our good and His glory!
Enjoy the Lord today!
In Christ, Pastor Darin