May 21, 2024

Who Is Your God?

cris photoshoped by djem

Or what could also be titled, “Welcome to the Crisis of Belief.”

If we’re truly seeking after God, He will bring us to points in our lives where we have to make a decision about what we really believe about God.  A crisis, or decision, comes when we are asked by God to join Him in a work only He can accomplish.  This work is one in which, if God doesn’t help you, you will fail.

In order to illustrate what I’m saying, let’s look at different circumstances in the Bible:

  • Joshua 6:1-5 – The people could march around the city, try to do it themselves or give up.
  • Judges 6:33, 7:1-8 – After paring them down, the people could have given up. Gideon could have refused to send men home.
  • I Chronicles 14:8-16 – David could have just gone to battle instead of asking the Lord.
  • Matthew 17:24-27 – Peter could fish, or he could just pay it himself.

God’s Strength

In each of these cases, God was going to do a work.  Also note that in each of these cases God did something different.  He had people march around a city to bring walls down.  He used torches inside pitchers to scare a marauding army.  He used His man to fight a conventional battle.  He told Peter about a fish that had money in its mouth.

Most of the time, we look at what others are doing and where we see God working in other churches or in other lives and think that because it’s working there, then it must work for us too.  That if we can only do their work, we’ll see God.  The problem is that what works yesterday, or in some other church, may not be what God wants to use today.

You see, only God has the right to tell you what to do next.  He is the Head of the Body.  He is the vine, we are the branches.  We can do nothing if we do not abide in Him.

Encounters with God Require Faith

We can not have encounters with God without faith.  Again, in John 16 Jesus says that we have to be abiding in Him in order for us to bear fruit.  Without being in Him and Him in us we can do nothing.

Some other verses that talk about faith:

  • Hebrews 11:1 – Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:7 – We live by faith, not by sight.
  • Deuteronomy 18:20, 22 – If a prophet said something in the Lord’s name that the Lord did not tell him to say, he was to be put to death.
  • John 14:12 – Anyone who has faith in Jesus will do what He has been doing, and greater things.
  • Matt 17:20-21 – Faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains.
  • 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 – Paul said that his message was not using wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

The interesting verse in this list is the Deuteronomy passage.  Because there is a grave warning on anyone that claims to have heard from God, before you call yourself, your family, or your church to exercise faith, be sure you have heard a word from Him!

Our Self-centeredness

Part of the problem that’s prohibiting us from being used of God in a way that pleases Him is what I like to call the It’s a Wonderful Life effect.  In this classic Christmas movie we see George Bailey confronted by an angel when he attempts to commit suicide.  The angel proceeds to take him to an alternate reality where he’s shown “what would have happened if you’d never been born.”

What he sees is that everything that he has done in the world has had an effect on others– not necessarily a bad lesson.  But the problem is the underlying lesson.  Without you, God would have His hands tied.  George’s brother could not have been saved by another kid that day.  Mr. Gower would have poisoned the kids.  His Uncle Billy would have ended up in the insane asylum and his wife never would have married.

The story elevates self, and coupled with American individualism, we begin to think that we’re pretty important.  That God needs us to accomplish His will.  That if we’re not there to do something, God is powerless.  Our problem is that when God speaks we think we have to do his assignment on our own power with our current resources.

Hebrews 11:6 teaches us that without faith it is impossible to please God.  If we’re to show God to the world, we will need faith to accomplish a God-sized task.  Without faith, a person or a church cannot please God.

When God speaks, He is revealing what He is going to do.  He is not revealing what He wants us to do for Him.

I cannot stress this enough.  God is at work all around us.  He’s active this very day.  He wants us to join Him in a work that will show Him strong, not us.  He can only do this through faith.  In Mark 10:27, Jesus states that what is impossible with man is possible with God.

So I ask you, are you going to continue to try to do it in your own power, and basically for your own glory, or are you going to do it in His for His glory?

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4 thoughts on “Who Is Your God?

  1. MIn, this is an incredibly timely post. There are so many groups/churches/denominations/cults who “tailor” God to their own needs instead of following the One True God of the Bible. And it’s all justified with the “I can’t imagine God would be that way” mentality. When people make statements like that it makes me wonder if I’m not dealing with some “unrenewed” minds a la Rom 12.

    The second part of this post is very important to me. I struggle a lot – A LOT – with the teenager girls in our youth group. I just want so bad to see them renounce the world and serve God. But of course they are too wrapped up in dressing sexy and pursuing boys and watching and listening to filth. Sometimes I want to throw up my hands in frustration; I wonder is anything I say getting through??? It’s those times when I realize I’ve been relying on myself and not on God. I’m hoping to see fruits of my labor and I’m ready to give up when there is nothing being produced. The only way to have success in ministry is to consistently do what God has told/is telling you to do and have faith that if you don’t see fruit during your time then someone else will come along and add water to what you’ve planted. I have to remind myself of this a lot working with teenage girls.

    Rachels last blog post..Fickle Fay

  2. @Rachel: You’re definitely right. Most of the time we think that we can put God in a box– making Him in our image instead of us in His. It reminds me of the Chronicles of Narnia where Christ is pictured as Aslan, the lion. He’s good, but He’s not tame. The implication here is that He is above human methods and understanding.

    As for the second part of your comment– all we can do is be faithful. It will take God’s work in their hearts for them to truly want to pursue Him. We are called to witness, to love, and to care for them, but only He can draw people to Himself.

  3. This is a great post. I really enjoyed it immensely.

    Trying to do it all in our own power can be very, very frustrating. We can NEVER succeed in anything whether it be parenting, marriage, or church life.

    As fallen people, we tend to base our identity on a characteristic that defines us. Some of us mothers identify ourselves as “good” mothers and put our trust in our mothering skills. Yet since we are fallen we can never be perfect mothers and, like all, we make mistakes. And it devastates us because we have placed our identity in something that we should not have. We have made “God” out of the fact that we are parents and have not given the true God the glory.

    How often do we elevate something above God? How often do we put our trust in our own abilities in whatever? Lest we forget that it is God who has given us both our abilities and our shortcomings and it is He that should be given the glory. For by our own devices we can never be perfect, but only through Him.

    militarywifeys last blog post..What are wives supposed to do?

  4. @militarywifey: I think it was A. W. Tozer that said something that really blew me away. He said that even in our worship we’re unable to worship Him the way that He deserves.

    In our flesh, we’re unable to totally worship Him. That’s why it’s so amazing (to me anyway) that He would choose to love us. We’re constantly replacing Him with something, even though we look at the Israelites and wonder how they could be so silly as to do the very same thing. We try to do things in our own strength, even though we know that the only way something will please God is if there is faith in there.

    Thanks for the comment, I think you’re dead on here.

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