What picture comes into your mind when you think of God?
“If any want to boast they should boast that they know and understand me…” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
Our understanding of God affects our actions, opinions, and decisions. It influences everything we do.
In his book, The Knowledge of the Holy, A. W. Tozer discussed the significance of our view of God. “What comes to our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” He went on to use the foundation of a building to explain the importance of having a correct view of God: “Where [the foundation] is inadequate or out of plumb, the whole structure must sooner or later collapse.”
So, how do we view God? Many people view God as a genie, who exists to grant wishes. Others see him as a judge, ready to mete out wrath and punishment for any wrongdoing. Still another view is that God is a distant cosmic force who doesn’t get involved in day-to-day events.
Our view of God is particularly important when we pray. How we approach God in prayer is largely shaped by our view of him. In Luke 11:2, Jesus presented a new view of God. When he taught his followers (that includes us) to pray, he said to address God as “our father in heaven.”
This was a new paradigm, a new view of who God is.
People in the Old Testament couldn’t see God’s goodness clearly because their vision was blocked by their sin. They had to continuously offer sacrifices and observe rituals to stay OK with God, but the sinful nature of their hearts never changed.
Thank God, things are different now. Now, because of the cross, our hearts can be changed and our spiritual eyes opened. We are able to see God’s grace, mercy, and love clearly. We are blessed to see the truth, that God is a loving and kind father who works for what is best for his children.
God isn’t angry with us, filled with wrath, eagerly anticipating an opportunity to punish someone. His wrath was poured out on the cross. It was directed at the sin that separated him from his children, whom he dearly loves. A. W. Tozer said it like this: “The Cross is the lightning rod of grace that short-circuited God’s wrath to Christ so that only the light of His love remains for believers.”
John 3:16 tells us the story in just a few words: “For God loved this world so much that he gave his only son…” He did that for us, when we were covered in sin and transgressions. He did it because he loves us as a perfect father loves his children. Earthly fathers vary greatly on how well or how poorly they love their children. God’s love isn’t like that. He loves each of us perfectly.
When you pray, remember you’re praying to a God who loves you dearly. He wrote you a love letter on a cross 2,000 years ago. He treasures you. You can approach him in prayer with confidence, knowing you are praying to your heavenly father…and he loves you like crazy!
Our father in heaven, reveal who you are. Set the world right. Do what’s best—as above, so below. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the devil. You’re in charge. You can do anything you want. You’re ablaze in beauty. In Jesus’s name, amen.