Sunday, July 31, 2011

YGITS: Resident Policeman

One destructive view of God is that of the “Resident Policeman,” aka – our conscience. Our conscience, that little voice of Jiminy Cricket or what have you, is not God. While it may certainly be true that our conscience can indeed give an idea as to right and wrong, it is also extremely susceptible to outside influences and culture. One person’s conscience may say eating meat is wrong, another may say no. Certain training can create a conscience that says taking a life is ok, while another creates one that abhors it no matter what. The point is, if we believe God when He says “I do not change,” (Mal. 3:6), and Jesus when He says “I am the Way…no one comes to the Father except through Me,” (Jn. 14:6), then we must understand the fact that God is not some little voice in our heads. The danger in making our conscience into God is that our conscience is not infallible, nor is it a firm foundation. Indeed, it is often fickle, weak, and easily shut-up when we really want to go against it. If our support is built on ourselves, that Jiminy Cricket conscience will get squashed all too quickly. If, however, we choose to accept God on His terms and place our decisions and thoughts on His foundation, we will have the ability to last through anything, come life, death, demons, powers, ages, wars, heights, depths, or anything else in creation that is thrown at us.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Your God is Too Small - Introduction

There are those in life who have difficulty in bringing about a right view of God. Whether it be lack of knowledge, improper training, or simple circumstance is not the issue. The fact is that there exists in many a view of God which limits Him to a small corner or box, from which the person sees and feels only a partial and distorted view of the One Creator.

This small god, if allowed to remain, can come to occupy the place in our hearts and minds where only the True God should be. This is not to say that the person in question is conducting in false worship, or is evil or anything of the sort. At some point all people will have a view of God that is makes Him out to be much smaller than He is. This can leave us with a crisis on our hands if left uncorrected, as the small god is hard to reconcile with the whole of life.

It is when we recognize our weakness that we can move to correct it, and so we will be looking at some of these small views of God that are prevalent in today’s society. The challenge is to ourselves. Are we being held back by a view of God that limits our acceptance of His control over our lives (and, indeed, the world)? If so, are we willing to realign our view of the world and that of God in order to put Him in the place of power that He truly occupies?

This is not a simple thing to look into, but it is vital to our spiritual well-being. Join me as we discover the bigness and fullness of the Creator God of the Universe and relinquish the limiters and blinders on our view of Him, whatever they may be.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Your God is Too Small

"Christ stated emphatically that it was quite impossible in the nature of things for a man to be at peace with God and at variance with his neighbor. This disquieting fact is often hushed up, but it is undeniable that Christ said it, and the truth of it is enshrined (or should we say more properly embalmed) in the petition for forgiveness in the all-too-familiar "Lord's prayer."

-J.B. Phillips, Your God is Too Small

I've been reading this tiny book for nearly two months now. Over the next several weeks (or more) I will be taking this tiny book bit-by-bit, and giving my thoughts on it. It is a tiny book, but it is perhaps one of the hardest-to-read, thought-provoking, faith-testing books I have ever read. I will be using this book as a guide to look at how God is often shown and thought of in the world (religious and secular), what is wrong with those views, and better ways of seeing things. This will not be easy to read nor write and I do not expect it to be, but that does not make it any less important (indeed, it may make it all the more so). If you would bear with me in this, and take it seriously with me, I will write honestly, openly, and in love. My goal is not to accuse, but to open the eyes of both myself and others. My goal is to put something out there that pulls us out of our "comfortable" image of God in favor of something bigger, scarier, and more comforting than we knew before.

As for the quote at the top, it was given because it is truly the point Christ made. This is the purpose of life; to love God with all that they have, and to love their fellow humans with the same God-given, natural love that they have for themselves. Our love is to God first, and along with that we are to love (and show love to) those around us. This is not a suggestion, not an "if it's easy" (it's not). It is a command. It is a no-matter-what, down-in-the-pits, messy, brutal, and unconditional love. This is the love Christ shows us, and the kind of love we are to imitate not matter what happens or who is doing it to us. I hope these posts point us to that kind of love and help us to show it more deeply and more truly than we could otherwise do. Our God is truly not too small. But if we do not challenge ourselves to see His fullness and entirety, we are in danger of making Him that way in our own minds. So join me! Let us seek and experience the full, enormous, infinite God of All Things.