Who is God?
Do you know Him? Or do you prefer not to know Him, so you don’t have to feel any discomfort over shocking Old Testament happenings and radical commands from the New Testament?
Is your god God? Or is he a benevolent, prayer-answering, rather un-god-like figure who fits quite neatly into your compartmentalized life in which your religion is but one, tidy, unrelated compartment?
The fact is, God is kind. And He does answer prayers. But He is also very much God. He created the universe and He created you, and He does not have to answer to you or do things as you dictate.
7 How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.
8 They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house,
And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.
9 For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light. (Psalm 36:7-9)
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (James 5:16)
14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. (1 John 5:14)
20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” (Romans 9:20)
It seems to me that a lot of people like to claim God. One woman thanks God for her boyfriend (who is not a Christian and has led her into sin) and another talks about how God blessed her with the baby she prayed for in His perfect timing while she’s unapologetically living in sin. Sin that God declared was sin and was off-limits for His followers.
It is never for me to condemn someone’s soul. But I only have to briefly glance at these people’s lives to see that what they’re saying does not match up with what they’re doing. One cannot follow God and still live blatantly in sin. God hates sin. And as His adopted children, sin should be our burden.
14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:14-20)
So I have to wonder. Do these people even have any idea who God is? Some claim to know Him and to follow Jesus Christ, but have they let Him be God in their lives? Have they let themselves truly know Him?
Imagine that these people, indeed, are not true believers. That they have not believed in Jesus Christ, trusted Him to save them from their sins, and surrendered their lives to Him.
Imagine that on the last day, they declare: “Lord, we publicly thanked You on Facebook! We prayed to You for a baby and gave the credit to You in front of our fans and followers! We started going to church after watching Heaven is for Real!”
And what if God tells them: “Depart from me. I don’t know you.”
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:21-23)
What are they going to say in response? “Um … well … I guess I didn’t really know You, either. In fact, I didn’t really want to know You—the real You, not just the You that fit into my “religion compartment”; my fire insurance, my guilt-easer, my feel-good fix when I start getting uncertain and depressed—because I didn’t want to stop living the way I was living. I was afraid of what You might ask me to give up. I didn’t trust You and believe You were who You said You were. I didn’t believe You really loved me. I didn’t believe You were good.”
So I made up my own god. One that let me be in control. One that didn’t care how sinfully and selfishly I lived. One who always gave me what I wanted. One that didn’t tell me what to do or how to live. One that I didn’t have to trust, or surrender to, or give up control to, or follow.
I was worried there really might a possibility of hell. I wanted to go to heaven when I died. I wanted only warm, fuzzy, feel-goods from my god figure. I didn’t want to completely disappoint my family. I wanted my prayers answered and the desires of my heart given to me.
But I didn’t want You.
But God is God. And if you try to change Him in order to fit Him into how you want your life to be, you’re only creating a false idol, and you do not know God.
How we, in our frail, pathetic, human arrogance think we can do what we want, run our lives, dictate who God is and what He does and then think He will honor that—when He is the one who breathed everything that exists into motion; when He is the one who thought us up and knit us together in our mother’s womb—is the epitome of foolishness.
3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (1 John 2:3-6)
What a horrifying stench our pride must be to the one and only God. The Creator of Heaven and Earth. The King of kings and Lord of lords.
Our pride, though. Not us.
I don’t believe that our scent disgusts God.
I am not perfect. I am a sinner. I fail again and again. I am even guilty of the things I mentioned above – trying to fit God into my limited comfort zone. Avoiding passages of Scripture I can’t understand.
But still, I have been saved. And I do not say in despair: “How deplorable I must be to God.” But I say: “I am a child of the King. I am God’s princess.” Because of His love; His mercy and grace. Because of Jesus Christ. Because I have accepted His sacrifice and gift, and He is teaching me to walk His path.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24)
Listen, friends, this post may be a warning, but it is not a condemnation. God, as all He truly is, loved us while we were yet dead in our sins. Before we trusted Jesus Christ.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:4-10)
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)
If you realize you’ve been guilty of not surrendering to God, not trusting that He’s good, not believing in Him and in His Word, you should not run away no matter what shame you feel. You should run to God.
He can turn your shame into a testimony.
Your sorrow into joy. Your doubt into faith.
Humble your heart before Him. Be honest with Him. The time for pretensions, and faking, and fear, and ignorance, and trying to manipulate everything into your version of how life should be is long past over.
Try praying: God, create in me a desire for You. Give me the strength to surrender everything to You. Help me to trust that You are good. Teach my heart to know Your unconditional love for me. Show me how to love You. Reveal Yourself to me and help me to live up to the term “Christian” by actually following Christ!
No matter the consequences, the sacrifices, the discomfort, the humility—no matter the mountains of questions I don’t have answers to and the many things I can’t understand.
I want to know You.
And simply trust Him.
Instead of shutting my Bible when I come across a passage or verse I don’t understand, I’ve learned to talk honestly with God. “Lord, I don’t understand this. It seems like a hard teaching to me. But, You are God and I am not. Your thoughts are higher than my thoughts, and Your ways are higher than my ways.”
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Learn to be okay with not knowing everything. Not understanding all. Not being in control. Let God be God.
Because He is.
I also learned to speak truth over myself. To meditate on His love. To pray daily and deeply. To ask God to show me how to love Him! To give me faith. To help me trust. To make my heart’s desire for Him. To give me a hunger for His Word. A heart for the people of the world – all created in His image! A passion for His design.
Lord, help me to delight in You! In Your words. In spending time with You. In talking to You.
Surrender to Him, friends! He is God, beyond what we can imagine and comprehend! He is love. He is holy. He is able. He is forgiving. He is compassionate. He is merciful and gracious. He is the giver of good gifts!
8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:8-11)
(That reminds me of a Youtube video I watched by Joseph Solomon that was very inspiring. Watch it below.)
Do you want to know God?
Surrender to Him and seek Him with all your heart. Stop searching for what you want, and search for Him.
13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)