"What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us." - A. W. Tozer
Lately I've become acutely aware that calling yourself a "Christian" doesn't necessarily give someone an accurate picture of how or what you believe. Growing up as a southern baptist in little Arkadelphia, Arkansas, I led a pretty sheltered life. I thought all "Christians" believed the same thing. That they all shared the same moral code and value system. I knew that there were a few little differences. For instance, those Methodists didn't believe in dunking you under water... they thought sprinkling a few drops on your head was enough! How crazy, right?!! And the Church of Christ didn't believe in using instrumental music in the church service and thought you had to take the Lord's supper EVERY Sunday! Bizarre!! AND the Catholics believed you could go in some little booth and confess all your sins that week to the priest and you'd be "forgiven". NUTS!!! Thank goodness I was one of the "normal" baptists who had it all figured out. Ha!
Well, I WISH those little differences where the only things that "Christians" were arguing about today. It seems the little cracks in our belief systems that used to separate us have become a grand canyon in which there is no way to join together anymore. The saddest thing is that it must be extra confusing for non-Christians. How the HECK are they supposed to know what Christians believe when WE don't seem to be able to agree on it anymore? Sigh....
I've been reading Pete Wilson's book "Empty Promises", and I've been on chapter 10 this week -- "You Are What You Worship"... and he talks about worshipping "an accurate picture of God so you can reflect an accurate image of God." I guess that's the main problem we are facing. Everyone has their own "image" of God.
Do you see God as a cosmic cop waiting for you and others to screw up? If so, you may spend your life walking on eggshells.
Do you see God as an impatient father withholding his love from you until you finally become "good enough"? You may never stop jumping through hoops, trying to make him happy.
Do you see him as a heavenly concierge whose main concern is your comfort? You may resent him for not doing his job.
Do you believe he thinks and acts like you? Chances are, you'll be confused most of the time, trying to figure out his next move.
So this question is for all my Christian friend's out there today.... how do YOU see God? And how do you balance the "legalistic God" with the "peace, love and merciful God"? Please share... :-)
*italics are direct quotes from "Empty Promises" by Pete Wilson.