You know down deep inside. You might not talk about it but you know it. There is something, Someone, bigger than you “out there” who is responsible for all this…life. What you believe about this “higher power,” effects and influences every aspect of your life. God – Jehova, Yahweh – is. He always has been. He always will be. That’s where I start because I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist. That said, what you believe about God is the most important thing about you because it will ultimately determine your thinking and your behavior, as it is THE base belief. For many, it is also THE question of life…and I’ve answered it for myself. Have you?
I Don’t Believe in God Either
I’ve had a lot of people tell me, “I don’t believe in God.” And whenever I ask them to describe the kind of God they don’t believe in, they are often shocked to find out, “I don’t believe in that kind of God, either!” Too many people have a misconception about God that is based on hearsay, assumption, television evangelists, or some other hair-brained idea of who God is and what He is about without ever checking what His own Word says about Him. If you want to know who God is, look at who Jesus is. It’s that simple. Far from the obstantant, unreasonable, unpleasable, and vindictive “god of wrath” that many perceive, Jesus showed us love, grace, forgiveness, and mercy while standing firm, confident, and resolute about who He is and all while referring to God as Father.
The Influence of a Father
There are myriad research studies on the effects and influences fathers (and mothers) have on us as adults and how those perceptions impact your beliefs about who you are as a person. More sepcifically, the relationship you have/had with your father directly influences your perception of who God is. If you had a good relationship with your dad, chances are you also have a decent view of God. The opposite is also true, poor relationship with dad, poor view of God (generally speaking). It’s the filter of your self-concept – who you believe you are based on your perception of what others (including God) think you are. I won’t bore you with the research because you already understand this to be true simply from personal experience. Suffice it to say, if you believe something about God that is inaccurate due to a negative earthly father experience, it can have a negative impact on your life and how you choose to live it.
If you believe God is unreasonable, unreliable, unconcerned about you, and unpleasable – that He is an order-giving killjoy and cosmic cop out to enforce rules you can’t possibly keep while taking away any fun you might have – it will rob you of clear perspective and a shot at true happiness. On the other hand, if you believe God to be compassionate, trustworthy, engaged and interested in you and your life, and has vented all His displeasure on the cross (as the Bible teaches), then you approach your life differently. There is amazing freedom that comes with a clear understanding of what Christmas and Easter are all about.
Which God Would You Trust?
Let’s use a Bible verse that most of us know or have at least seen referenced in the endzone of a football game, John 3:16. But let’s edit it a bit and put your name in the verse. It would read like this: For God so loved [David] that he gave His one and only Son, so that [if David would believe] in Him, [Dave] would not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn [Dave], but to save [him] through Himself (John 3:16-17). Does that sound like a mean ol’ grinch of a God to you? I don’t want to get preachy (and I can) but having a clear concept of who God is and what He wants for your life is critical to finding your beach and reaching your potential. Notice that we’re promised “life” through Jesus. Friend, that life is anything but stagnant, boring, or sit-on-your-butt dull. It’s about living an adventure.