Have you ever wondered where some of our deep beliefs about God actually come from? Or better yet, have you ever taken the time to ask Jesus to reveal some of the lies that you believe about him? I thought that might get your attention.
Could it be possible that some of the things you and I have learned about God could be false, or only partially true? I am one of those guys that that isn’t afraid to turn over a few rocks in search of the truth. Honestly, sometimes it feels risky…you know, thinking that at any moment a group of law-abiding Christians are going show up and start chucking rocks at me.
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The older I get, and the more I realize that I don’t know the answers like I once thought I did. I keep bumping up against some long-held and defended beliefs that that leaves me scratching my head. For instance, I have had this belief since early childhood that God gets mad at me when I make a mistake. Kind of like when I was young and my dad would smack me upside the head when I said or did something that he didn’t like. As a result, I had this involuntary flinch whenever I assumed that I upset God. Well into my adult life I thought that any wrong action would result in an angry reaction from God.
I wish I had a dollar for every time I have heard a Christian say, “I have no trouble connecting with Jesus, but I just can’t wrap my head around God the Father.”
It has really bothered me over the years, why I never felt close to God…who by the way, invites us into a loving intimate relationship. How exactly are we supposed to trust a Father that flies off the handle whenever we make a mistake?
If intimacy is the point, and we have a Father who is crazy about us even on our worst days, then how do we approach him? He desires us to come to him as a father. To crawl up into his lap and lean into his chest like the Abba daddy that he is. That is how I want to live, and, there is that nagging thought of “what if I mess up?”
Here are some of my thoughts about how we come to believe some of the lies or half-truths about God. I am certain there are more than these, but this is a good start.
- We have an enemy that chose the wrong side and he works tirelessly to keep you and me on the wrong side too. Satan is a liar, a thief and he knows scripture and uses it to diminish our faith. He doesn’t have to get us to reject the scriptures, he simply twists the truth in an effort to get us to believe, and follow his version. You and I have been given Christ’s authority and are instructed to wield it when it comes to the enemy.
- We tend to outsource our beliefs and convictions. There are many who take the beliefs of others and adopt them without really digging into them, questioning them, and discovering what God’s word actually says. There is no one pastor, author, or speaker that has all of the answers. That is why we all need to seek truth from the Scriptures, listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, and bring what we are hearing to a trusted community.
- We allow the world to shape our identity. Rather than trusting that we are adopted into God’s family as his sons and daughters through the work of Christ, we choose to live our lives more like orphans. Believing that we are on our own, and that life is completely up to us. We tend to limit God’s love and settle for less than what He is offering.
- Without much, or any awareness, most of us learned about God and his character when we were children. For instance, when I was a young boy my mom used fear and shame to motivate me to behave. She would say “Peter, if you say that again, God is going to strike you with lightning.” As you can imagine, I developed an ironclad theology early on that had a short-fused and harsh deity who sat on the throne just waiting for me to screw something up so He could hurt me or take something away from me. I know, sad.
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What if some of our beliefs about God are actually hurting us, or others? What if some of our beliefs about God are keeping us from knowing him more intimately? I for one don’t like either of those scenarios.
So, let’s use the authority that Christ has given us to bind the lies of the enemy and ask Jesus to give us clarity and truth. Let’s think for ourselves…read the scriptures, pray for wisdom, and seek a community that is willing to be vulnerable and speak the truth in love. Let’s claim and reclaim our identity as daughters and sons of God. That he loves us more than we are willing to believe. And lastly, let’s be willing to go back into our stories and invite Jesus to show us where some of our false beliefs came from. You might be surprised by what you find.