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Friday, September 16, 2016

The God We Want vs. The God Who Is

 Honesty is key in coming to grips with our life on the other side of the door. If we aren't willing to be objective about our circumstances, we can't stop being subjective about them and come to a real understanding of what got us to this point. 
 For anyone who has felt the suppressing enslavement of being trapped in such darkness, we can all admit to having listened to certain voices in our head - voices that told us things long enough that we began to believe them. Whatever the messages have been, we've latched hold of them. We have embraced either the lies of others or we have created our own and used them to fuel our life on the other side of the door. These become part of our new reality, and begin to view ourselves through this lens as well as the world and others around us. We sort of enjoy the power we feel at being able to interpret life the way we want to. 
 But eventually, we find ourselves beginning to question whether or not these things we have believed for so long are true. We start to wonder if there isn't another side to the story...one we've refused to look at: God's side of the story. We read in Psalm 51:6 that God "desires truth in the inward parts." Also, we see in John 8:32 that knowing the truth will set you free. And yet, we ask ourselves, What is truth? -  harkening back to the very question asked to the face of Jesus Christ himself (John 18:38). 
 In the spirit of humility, we can be led to search God's letter to us in which He promises to reveal to us the true facts about ourselves and about Him that lead to true life-change: the Bible is our guidebook. God is the voice of truth, speaking into the darkness of our inner being, challenging the lies to leave, and calling out to us yet again, "Where are you?"
 But this time, we don't turn away as quickly as before. Now, things have gotten so bad that we are starting to get sick of our act and our life on the other side of the door. We know that He's been watching all along but, somehow, something makes us want to delve deeper - to compare our script to His and see what comes of it. The Voice of Truth has gotten louder; it hasn't drowned out the other voices yet, but we are starting to hear it above the din. 
 As we go along through life, it is very easy to form our own concepts of who God is and who we are in relation to Him. When the world is saying that "you can have your own interpretation of God and everybody else can have theirs," we often go along with it. Whether we are earnest about church and faith matters or not, we can become accustomed to defining God the way we want Him to be, not the way He really is. 
 Looking back, even a lifetime of sitting in church didn't stop me from creating my own personal perceptions of the God I claimed to know. In my mind, God was distant...aloof maybe...and not really engaged in the personal aspects of my life. He wasn't accessible. I wasn't sure He listened to me on the rare occasions I prayed, let alone cared for me and loved me. And I certainly didn't look to Him as a Father, even though the Bible told me so (Psalm 103:13). I picked and chose what I wanted to believe...and the crazy thing is, I was really into being an opinionated Christian: There is a certain way to believe and I know it! Just ask me - I'll tell you! The fact is, I was more concerned with mastering my definition of God than being mastered by Him. I had given Him no control over my life, and I began to feel as though I could get along quite fine without Him...God, you just stay in your little box where I put you, and everything will be just fine.
 In time, I came to see how very wrong I was. You can't contain an all-sovereign and holy God and put Him in a box and tell Him to stay there. He was meant to be at the center of our lives and to work a mighty and greater thing within us than we ever imagined. As referenced in previous posts, God is all about relationship - He communicating with us and us with Him. Everything we can think of to want from a human relationship - love, acceptance, approval, commitment, forgiveness - He can provide and does unconditionally, whether we choose to see and receive those things or not. The God who is is far beyond the one we want. The god of our own making is fallible, just like us. And we treat the true God like one of us: always coming up short, never being enough, never giving us what we want, letting us down when we think He owes us better. But the God who actually exists, not the one we've created, breathes life and meaning into the depths of our aching souls, and He yearns to give us something that nothing on this earth ever can: life abundant. The real question now becomes...will we allow Him to?