This morning we listened to a message online where the three main points were taken from the book, Your God is Too Small, by J.B. Phillips. There are three misconceptions we tend to have about God:
1. God is a policeman,
2. God is a parental hangover–in other words, we tend to think of God in the same way we think of our earthly father, and
3. Since God is perfect, we set up absolute standards for ourselves (which we can never satisfy and which are a menace to us as they lead us into bondage).
Thinking about which of the three is my most active area of misconception, I would have to say that it is number 3. Sure, my image of my father affects my image of God, but I know that I am constantly striving to meet impossible standards I set for myself in my life. When I read the verse from Psalms 103 the other day my pride reacted–I don’t like to be pitied. After hearing the message today, I looked up the word “pitied” in my online helps and found that it means “compassion,” which in turn means “a strong feeling of sympathy and sadness for other people’s suffering or bad luck and a desire to help.” Fearing God means to have reverence, worship, and awe toward Him, while some definitions add hating sin.
If you add all this together in what turns out to be a combination of the New International Version and the Amplified Bible, we come up with this: As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who reverence and worship Him. I need Him to know me in all my ugly self-sufficiency. I need God to do a work in me so I can rest in Him and stop laboring. I am so grateful that He cares enough to do this.
Andrew Murray says we need to say, “‘I never, by any effort, can take hold of God, or seize this for myself; it is God must give it.’ Cherish this blessed impotence. It is He who brought us out, who Himself must bring us in. It is your greatest happiness to be impotent.”
There is a definite cognitive dissonance here between what I believe (that only God can do–anything) and how I act. I act and react as if I could do all of this Christian life on my own with just a leetle bit of help.
What misconception tends to pop up in your life?
(By the way, Mike’s Crocodile Dundee adventure [see last post] was pretty mundane, although very nice. They drove to a village and had dinner with a number of pastors and their families. Mike shared from the Word and the pastors are quite excited about Bible College.)