The new you… escaping false views of God; part 5
“Oh God, Your ways are holy. Is there any god as mighty as You? You are the God who works wonders; You display Your power among the peoples.” (Psalm 77:13-14)
We have been talking about people’s false perceptions of God – and how those perceptions have a profound effect upon our relationship with God.
Yesterday, we talked about the view of God as some big Teddy Bear, to whom we run, in those times when we need comfort (but pretty much ONLY in those times)…
Today, we turn our attention to the misperception (and incorrect application) of God’s power…
The Magician god. This view of God focuses upon God’s ability to powerfully change things, immediately – almost magically. As opposed to the “teddy bear god,” this god does not just exist to bring comfort in times of need, he exists to get the needy out of their troubles, with a bit of divine hocus-pocus, whenever necessary. The main focus on this type of god is that he is USED to control situations and circumstances – alleviating all hardships and difficulties by his “wizardly” powers – at the petitioner’s discretion.
Prayers to this type of god often resemble magic formulas (or potions) to get whatever is desired – like magic! The perception is that if the words are just right, the formulas “are seldom (or never) known to fail” (a phrase I have actually seen in some “prayer” books!). In this view, god is reduced to a performer for one’s personal pleasure and immediate satisfaction – and is sought usually, and only, in times of significant need (and quite often, only when attempts at helping one’s self prove unfruitful!).
A vivid picture of this type of god view is the Genie, in the animated movie Aladdin (except without the 3-wish limit!). In times of need, the lamp is rubbed – and the all-powerful god appears, to grant our every wish by his awesome magical powers.
There is no doubt that God does have awesome powers! “How great is our Lord! His power is absolute!” (Ps. 147:5) And: “…Power, Oh God, belongs to you.” (from Ps. 62:11) But a true view of Him does not make Him, or His power, subject to our every whim and call. God does not exist to control the circumstances and events of our lives, according to our desires – or our plans.
The new you understands that the external events and circumstances of our lives cannot deter, or eliminate, what we have inside of us. John was right! “He Who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4) Jesus was also right! “Take courage; I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33) And the apostle Paul was quick to remind us that in all things (especially difficult circumstances!): “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)
God’s power works in, and through, us – not to grant our every wish, but to bring His Presence into our lives – and His power to this earth, as HE desires.
Prayer focus: God, help me to see You as You really are – and to be aware when my prayers are trying to use You to control my circumstances.