How do you see God? Who is He to you? You probably know the right answer, but in your own reality, deep within yourself, who do you see God to be?
We know God is God! That He is all powerful, all knowing, all seeing, and loving. We know He is creator, saviour and lord. We know He will judge the earth and He holds our eternal destiny in His hand. We know He is the God of the Bible, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
But to each of us personally, when we relate to God, we approach Him according to our own idea of Who He is.
Many people, including Christians, keep seeing God as judge. That’s a healthy perspective in view of the ‘fear of God’. When we fear God we reverence Him and know we have to submit ourselves to Him and be careful how we live. The fear of God is the foundation of wisdom. If we don’t fear God we will act foolishly.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” Psalm 111:10
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” Proverbs 1:7
Respect, reverence, honour and obedience are wonderful qualities. Every person in authority wishes those they care for held those attitudes.
However, God is much more to us than an authority figure to be feared.
Some people live in a fear of God that is unresolved. Where there is no relationship the one we fear will judge according to the code of conduct we are to follow. Where there is relationship as well, the authority will seek ways to relieve their subjects.
It’s a tricky balance every parent has to deal with. We expect obedience and respect from the children, and we certainly require instant obedience as a way of protecting them from harm. We may have to be stern and firm in our discipline to teach the heart of the child to submit to our authority. But we do that because we love them and want to establish them for successful and fruitful life.
If the child is too casual with us they will disregard our instructions, missing the heart training and the protection our authority provides.
If they are too fearful, they will miss the fact that we are their parent and we love them and want the best for them.
So Christians can come under a wrong fear that blocks their realisation of relationship with God. God may rebuke them, and God may require them to change their ways, but not because He is a demanding tyrant. Instead it is because He knows what is truly best for us and He wants us to live in His eternal blessings.
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day had developed an idea of God, based on the Old Testament law and their own experience of getting away with evil. They became very religious about the rules and rituals, not to please God but to prove themselves among themselves as qualifying in their community.
Yet they also did things that suited themselves and served human craving. Their lips said all the right things, but their heart was cold toward God and they lived for themselves, within a religious framework.
Jesus came on the scene and began doing things from a different perspective. He didn’t care for the religious traditions. He didn’t care to win the approval of man. He didn’t care for the religious order of the day. He brought a revelation of God as a loving God who is intent on blessing people, with truth and practical miracles.
Jesus came and taught truth to all the people, not just the religiously qualified. He spoke that truth with authority and practical application. At the same time He readily healed the sick and cast out demons. This was an amazingly practical and wonderful blessing.
Jesus said He was revealing the Father to the people.
“He who sees me sees him who sent me.” John 12:45
“He who has seen me has seen the Father; so how can you say, Show us the Father?” John 14:9
When Jesus taught His disciples to pray He started by defining the nature of our deepest relationship with God. He said, “Our Father”.
“In this the way you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.” Matthew 6:9
If we are to respond to God as Judge then Jesus would have taught us to pray, “Almighty God, maker of Heaven and Earth”, or “Most Holy God, Who is to be feared”, or some other authority focused start to the prayer.
Instead Jesus taught us to come to God as our Father.
So let me repeat the questions I started with: How do you see God? Who is He to you?
Can you and do you come to God as your ‘Father’, or do you come to Him as if He is an angry Magistrate, or the School Principal? Or do you come to Him with total disrespect, as if He is someone to be treated lightly?
Consider that Jesus revealed God as ‘Father’ and taught us to come to God as our Heavenly Father. Whatever else your religious training or your own ideas have come up with, you need to discover God and relate to God as Father.
You can only do that if you have placed your faith in Christ, been forgiven of your sins and been born again as God’s Son. So make sure that’s cleared up first. Then come to God and explore what it is to call God ‘Father’.
I suggest you take time today to sit quietly in prayer and pray to God as your ‘Father’. Then ask God to reveal to you some of the depth and wonder of that relationship. The Holy Spirit within you not only calls God ‘Father’, but ‘Daddy’ (Abba Father). As a child in God’s arms you can relate to him as an infant child relates to their Daddy.
If you find you can’t approach God like that then ask God to reveal to you the ideas or teachings that block you from the sweet intimacy that is yours when you have the God of all eternity as Your Father.