Mar
06
2012

The Kingdom of Heaven is not for the well-meaning: it is for the desperate. James Denney

But let’s go back to that fundamental question—how does one come into a relationship with God, the Creator of the universe, the One who is beyond beyond? What are the steps we need to make to know him? How do you enter into a relationship with the One who made the stars that make up the Big Dipper, the power and magnificence of the Atlantic Ocean, you and me. When one thinks about it in those terms, on paper, it seems impossible. Me? A relationship with God? Why would he ever want that? How can that ever happen?

Sometimes, a necessary step in moving deeper into a relationship with God is changing how we view him. At this point, we should discuss a little theology. With my work as a counselor and pastor, sometimes my work is guiding someone in making a modification in their life—for example, a slight alteration in thinking can bring on a whole different outlook. How we view ourselves and God can entirely alter the direction of our lives. Put more plainly, sometimes we need to revise how we think about God and who he is.

Let me offer an example of what I mean by this. I love to play golf. It is a game that captures many difficult and trying aspects: concentration, finesse, power and agility. There are many reasons why I enjoy hitting that little white ball. For one, it allows me to be outdoors and see the beauty of creation. Even though Mark Twain commented that it was “a good walk spoiled,” I don’t mind that. Even if I am hitting the ball every which way, and not in the direction I want it to go—on an August evening out on a golf course is what I imagine to be a little bit of heaven. It is also a game in which consistency is a key element if one wants to improve. With golf, a rhythm needs to occur to play well and sometimes how you swing the club can have the slightest miscue, which can lead to a terrible shot. A small alteration—the position of your stance, how you grip the club or how you pull back the club—can make all the difference in hitting a shot onto the fairway or one that is deep into the trees where the poison ivy grows. When you spend lots of time at the golf range, in working on these changes, you can begin to hit the ball where you want. It takes practice, but when you hit that one shot which lands on the green and fairly close to the cup, this is what keeps you coming back for more. But for this to happen, it often takes one small, but important change in what you are currently doing wrong.

For some, this is a parallel of what needs to happen to us as it pertains to our view of God. Sometimes, we just need to re-adjust how we view God—not make dramatic changes, just make minor shifts. Some of the people I work with in counseling or who I have met with as a pastor have disjointed views about God and this creates all types of havoc in their lives. Sometimes, it is not on the surface, but lurking underneath. As we slowly get at the root, they can begin to see how their view of God is not biblical or right. Overtime, such thinking has warped their idea about God, but also about themselves and others. This is a truth—when you have a false view of God, everything can be false thereafter. Here are a few examples:

  • “No, God is nothing like your dad who always told you how you would never amount to anything.”
  • “No, God is not out to get you.”
  • “No, God isn’t like the slot machines in Vegas.”

This is always the first stride in living right, lining up our view of God with what is true and accurate. Essentially, it is a modern parallel of destroying our idols, because this is exactly what idolatry is—a false idea about God.

Here are just a few essential truths about God:

  • He is good and kind.
  • He doesn’t only love you, he likes you.
  • He is on your side.
  • He desires to do a tremendous thing in your life.

But those above phrases are too easy, aren’t they? If we grew up in the church, we learn these things in kindergarten. Usually, they don’t stick then, and they don’t stick now. Platitudes are easy to say, but very difficult to experience. How can we get these ideas to sink in and not be just words that we say? This is the first step in aligning our theology in terms of having correct ideas about who God is and, just as importantly, what we mean to him.


In: Friend to Jesus
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