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Archive for October, 2011

Is God More Human Than You Think?

The above question may seem sacrilegious. I admit I was attention seeking, but I have a point to my madness. Would you have been less offended if I have said humans are like God in many ways? Many God lovers have good intentions when they emphasize God’s glory and our obligation to worship Him. Let’s though not stress God’s divine side at the expense of His relational side. The Bible might not say much about parenting because we only need to follow in God’s parenting footsteps.

We are made in God’s image so God must have much in common with humans. Scriptures describe God having many human emotions including love, jealousy, and anger. Let’s not demonize God’s anger. God is angry or jealous as human parents when in the best interests of their children. God is not indifferent to ways that lead to our destruction. Parents should get angry when certain behaviors can lead to long term consequences. Parents should get jealous when distractions/idols keep our children from achieving what is best for them. But, God’s unconditional love was center stage in Scriptures. God is Love not Wrath. (I John 4:8) God hates the sin not the sinner, because sin leads to destruction in the end.

God created humans for mutual intimacy. If God wanted more worshippers to bow down to Him, He could have created more angels. The Bible’s request for God’s glory is not self-infatuation. Loving God is loving others and yourself to the fullest. Glorifying God is simply doing what is right according to God’s perfect standards, and not humans’ every changing, selfish standards. Imagine a world that glorified God in all they did? No wonder God ask for our love.

Do you believe God is a present, loving parent or a distance, condemning judge? God certainly doesn’t need us to be whole any more than men and women need one another to be human, but a relationship is desirable both by God and humans. Humans were made in God’s image. Ephesians 4:24 explains: “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Though man is certainly not God, God and His Son did not shy away from calling humans friends, as if such a concept is sacrilegious. Abraham and Moses are called God’s friend, and Jesus called the disciples His friends. God is not a representation of our earthly parents but the perfection of the human parents we have always desired.

What Is Being In The Image of God?

The Bible declares we are made in the image of God but doesn’t specify exactly what that means. We can speculate based on our readings of Scripture. Genesis 1:26 says “God created human beings in his own image.” The exact words in Gen 1:26 are used in Gen 5:3 when stated Adam “had a son in his own likeness, in his own image.” God surely is not the least bit offended being compared/associated with us. God took that risk by creating us in His image. Since we are made in God’s image, we can better understand God as our heavenly Parent by understanding how we are as earthly parents.

As we are made in God’s image, how might we understand God’s request to glorify Him? Is God really a glory hog or a needy God? When others wish to delight in our kids, do we try to deflect that praise off them and take it all for ourselves? Are we thinking “how dare people give my children glory and not me as the parent? Don’t we want our children to be encouraged by how they are received by others? Does God really want us to see ourselves as lowly beings and to reflect all credit back to Him or share the glory alongside Him? Maybe God asking for glory is similar to parents asking children for respect. We want what is best for them, thus if they delight in our guidance they will have fulfilling lives.

Parents don’t have children so they can grow up to worship the ground we walk on. Do we only have children for purely selfish reasons rather than so they might enjoy life? God didn’t create us just so we can worship Him. God doesn’t want us to praise Him out of obligation. God wants us to love Him because we want to not because we have to, and we will once we understand who God truly is. Kids who have great parents understand wanting to follow, not having to follow. God created us for mutual pleasure. God didn’t create us to make Himself complete but creating us somehow added to His pleasure as children do a parent’s life.

Many of us may need to unlearn the things we believe about God. Those beliefs may keep us from knowing who God truly is, thus enjoying Him and life to the fullest. What is God like? Think of what you desire for your children if you are a parent or what you desired from your parents as you look back growing up. Think of God not as a reflection of your parents but the perfection of parents you always desired or wanted to be. This is God. We are made in His image!

 

Does God Have A Perfect Will For Our Life?

A misconception Christians have is that God has a specific will for each individual. Since God does not speak audible to most of us, this assumption can lead to confusion or anger with God because of lack of clear direction. I believe we can always know that we are in God’s will. The Bible never speaks of following an individual will. We are free to use our gifts and pursue desires of our heart, where we think we can make the greatest contribution in our current circumstances.  

The Bible does speak of following God’s moral will for God desires we avoid heartbreaks and hardships due to immoral choices. Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  Following God’s moral directions will put you on the right path. The Bible suggests a believer not marry an unbeliever; otherwise, which God will the children follow? (2 Cor 6:14-16)  The Bible never advises there is only one man a woman must discover to marry to be in God’s will. In fact, Paul teaches individuals to make a wise decision whether to marry based on their circumstances at that time. Paul does not condemn whichever choice is made. (I Cor 7)

God communicated to Moses through a burning bush. Paul knew whose voice he heard on the road toDamascus. You won’t be guessing if God is speaking to you. Those who suggest God speaks to them today do not claim God always speaks to them in every situation. There are countless instances in the Bible of decisions being made without being directly advised by God. In the Bible God never held one accountable for not doing His will when not spoken to.

One belief suggesting God has a specific will for one’s life is that God’s foreknowledge includes knowing the future. God though can be all-knowing and not know the future, if the future is not knowable. God is everywhere in the universe at the same time, so His knowledge is unimaginably extensive. God with unlimited power does not loss control though the future is open. The Bible implies God interacts with a world where there is genuine freedom. People are free to love or not love. An open future gives more integrity to the concept of freedom.  An open view of the future suggests many godly paths can be chosen while still remaining entirely within God’s will.

It may be asking too much for the reader to accept that an all-powerful God does not know the future before it happens. If it is suggested God knows what is going to happen in the future ahead of time, this doesn’t mean God has predetermined our future choices or there is a specific script for individuals. God can simply know what decisions we are going to make and there does not have to be one predetermined direction we must take. There can be many avenues we can travel to accomplish God’s will in our lives. God is far more creative and able than we give Him credit for.

We do not have to be looking for some bulls-eye. We know God’s moral will. Regarding amoral decisions God accomplishes His will in whatever we do. Does a parent only approve or love their child if they pursue a certain type of career? We are free to dream and pursue the desires of our heart. What is the wisest path to choose at this time in life based on past experiences, current circumstances, and future aspirations? Consult with others. Attempt great things for God and leave the outcome in His hands. God’s will is accomplished by doing all the good we can, in all the places we can, at all the times we can, to all the people we can, as long as we can. Many “Godly” paths can be chosen while still remaining entirely within God’s will. You just can’t go wrong with a desire to love God. When you stumble morally, God will lift you up.

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