The new you… escaping false views of God; part 7
“I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit…” (from Isaiah 57:15)
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 the “picnic” god – who created everything and then went on some celestial picnic somewhere (leaving us alone, to fend for ourselves)… Many people, who believe that God is impersonal, have adopted some version of the “picnic” god view. Even believers can struggle with their faith when God seems distant or indifferent in their lives. Only a strong, and continual, affirmation of God’s promises to us (as found throughout Scripture) can keep our minds centered on the truth of God’s personal love for each of us.
Today’s topic touches on a misperception of those who are influenced by “high church” ideals…
The High and Mighty. This perception of God places His Kingly attributes on such a high level that God is virtually unapproachable – unless we come to him with proper respect – and are properly behaved. God is so holy, we have no business coming into his presence with anything less than our absolute best. This view honestly seeks to bring reverence to God, in an effort to worship him as he deserves to be worshiped – as the holy Majesty, over all creation.
But those with this view so overvalue the Kingly aspects of God that they completely ignore the kindly aspects of the King. They can see Him only as “high and lifted up” and have very little regard for those who would fail (according to their standards) to reverence him as the utmost King.
Those with this view tend to value piety, reverence, humility, and religious ritual – and also tend to see worship as a quiet and reserved expression of respect to the utter majesty of the King. The downside of this type of view is that God is perceived as distant and often unapproachable (and only interested in His Kingly concerns). Those with this view, can easily assume their religious practices are sufficient to please God – and can fall into the trap of “honoring God with their lips; while drawing their hearts far from Him.” (see Mark 7:6) As with all things, when it comes to God, He is most interested in what He receives from our hearts – and when our hearts are not engaged, all the religious piety in the world is meaningless to Him (see: the Pharisees)!
Escaping this view of God is a matter of realizing the infinite contrast that is Our God. Isaiah told us: “Thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit…’” (Is. 57:15) God IS high and mighty. He deserves the ultimate of our reverence and respect. BUT He also tells us that He dwells with the humble and contrite. In other words, He is not too “majestic” to step down from His exalted place and meet us in the mire of our commonplace existence.
For confirmation, we look to Jesus. Everywhere He went, the lowly and the outcasts of the world felt welcomed around Him. Even the despised and rejected (by the religious leaders) found a friend in Jesus.
This speaks volumes. God IS high and mighty. He is ALSO the One Who was unashamed to leave His exalted throne in the heavens and come to walk the dusty roads of our existence. The Creator, Himself, came to rub shoulders with us – to be our Savior… and our Friend.
Prayer focus: God, help me to properly reverence you… but also to welcome you into the common and mundane things of my life.