The new you… escaping false views of God, part 2
“(I AM) The LORD! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness…” (Exodus 34:6)
We have been talking about people’s false perceptions of God – and how those perceptions have a profound effect upon a relationship (or lack thereof) with God. A proper (and good) relationship with God, begins with seeing Him as He really is – something that Jesus clearly revealed to us.
Yesterday, we talked about the Strict Disciplinarian view – how the holiness of God can become distorted… and cause us either to avoid God… or embrace legalism.
Somewhat similar to the view of God as a Strict Disciplinarian is…
The Perfectionist god. In this view, god always wants more and better. His standards are extremely high – so high, that we are never quite able to reach them, even though we expend a great amount of energy trying to do so. No matter how well we behave, or pray, or serve, or give, the god of perfection is always pointing to more that could be done – or what could have been done better. This type of god wants our efforts – but always demands more and better efforts.
This view leads us to see a god who is never pleased, never satisfied, never proud of us – no matter what we do. But this view also leads us to the unceasing expenditure of effort in our attempts to please him (or to avoid his punishment!). He becomes the demanding, dissatisfied god who can seldom (if ever) be appeased from his disappointment with us.
A relationship with this type of god, produces a works-oriented approach to life, as we try (and fail) to live up to the impossible standards of an unapproachable god – a god who is so focused upon perfection that we can never seem to please or satisfy him.
Righteousness (in ourselves and others) is the prime goal, and motivation. But our lack of living up to the righteousness of this god, instills a prevailing sense of failure, and unworthiness – which can only be overcome by more, and better, efforts. It is an endless and debilitating cycle…
The perfectionist view is only overcome by a revelation of God’s immense grace – and an understanding that God’s efforts, alone, make us righteous.
This true view is summed up in 2 Corinthians 5:21: “God made Him (Jesus!) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
For the Christian, righteousness is not earned by our many, and diligent, efforts at being godly – righteousness is a GIFT from God, provided through the work of Jesus (see Romans 5:16-18).
We all deserved the wrath of God – but instead, because of Jesus, we got grace!
We need to be mindful that the very essence of religion is… DO.
The very essence of true Christianity is… DONE.
The new you has been delivered from the need to do, and do more, to please God. Because of Jesus, God is already pleased. Now, we can turn our thoughts (and energies) to giving out what we have received in abundance… grace!
All that God has done for us is to make us the vessels of His grace!
Prayer focus: God help me to see You as you really are – gracious and compassionate towards me. And to be a vessel of Your grace wherever I go – with whomever I meet.