Honest reality: Each of us know people who grew up with us who want very little to do with God today. They attended the same churches, went to the same camps we did, and maybe grew up in our same families. Yet, for one reason or another, they want nothing to do with him. This saddens me. Not because I particularly care whether or not others adopt my personal framework of belief. It just saddens me because they are missing out on a relationship with a God who loves them so much and cares about them so deeply.
Recently, I listened to a sermon series titled “Who Needs God?” by author and pastor of one of America’s largest churches, Andy Stanley. While I did have some significant problems with several of the implications of a few of his messages (John Piper graciously outlines some of these), overall I found his series very helpful and thought provoking (which is probably more than I can say for more than one sermon I have preached!).
In particular, I found his message “Who Needs God: Gods of the No Testament” very interesting. In a nutshell, Stanley’s premise is that some people have walked away from a picture of god that in no way represents the God of Christianity. In this point, I entirely agree.
Adapting and tweaking some of Stanley’s thoughts, here are 6 “gods of the Bible” that perhaps you grew up believing in that I would suggest do not even exist.
When I think about it, there have been various points in my life when I have struggled with each of these misconceptions of God. Perhaps you might have as well. The question then becomes, what will we do to overcome these false misconceptions? Are we willing to allow them to be excuses that would prevent us from fully enjoying God at a higher level or are we willing to address them intelligently?
In my most recent book What’s the Point?, I write about my experience with God as a kid. One of the greatest challenges I had was that I tended to view him through the lens of other people. I looked at God through pastors, parents, and role models in my life. But while all of these are good, there were times when each of them would disappoint. However, when I was about 14 years of age, I remember making the decision to personally discover God for myself. I wanted to view God for who he was, not through what someone else portrayed him to be. That decision completely changed my life. When we rid ourselves of the wrong perceptions we have had about God, then we can begin to embrace him for who he truly is. This is exciting!
How do you view God today? Have you struggled in one or more of these areas? Feel free to leave a comment below. I would love to hear your thoughts!