This morning was set aside for sermon writing - which means, I headed out to a local coffee shop to set up in the corner to try and get some work done. Shortly after arriving, a young man walked in wearing a t-shirt that said, “Jesus Is My Homeboy”. These words were underneath a traditional looking picture of Jesus. As he walked by, I couldn't help but think how much his t-shirt reflects a common attitude today - and that is, making God over in our own image.
Just think about that for a minute: when you picture God, what image comes to mind? Do you imagine God like Santa Claus – a big, jolly guy who gives you things? Or is He a grandfather – old and wise with gray hair? Or do you see God like a hippie – with long hair and a long robe – running through a field picking flowers and flashing the peace sign? Or maybe you picture an absent father – distant and uninterested, showing up only to punish you? Or a mean dictator – controlling you and making your life difficult? The point is, if we think of God in any of these ways, we’ve reshaped Him into something that we think we can handle. We've picked characteristics that we like or that make sense to us, and then we've put God in that box.
In other words, we treat God like He's the buffet line at a cafeteria. It's like we say, “God’s love, that looks good - I think I’ll have a little of that. But God's justice is a little hard to swallow, so I don't think I want that. And God’s holiness really upset my stomach last time so I think I’ll pass on that.” And it’s this sort of attitude that leads to the misunderstandings and confusion about God that exists today – confusion that leads people to say things like, “The God Christians believe in is the same God everyone else believes in.” Or “I can’t believe in a God who lets so many bad things go on in this world.” It's creating God into an image that we like. But the truth is, either we accept ALL of God – as He’s described to us in His Word – or we don’t accept Him at all.
It's a truth that's made very clear in Exodus 20:4, when God tells us, “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind”. The dictionary defines an “idol” as, “a man-made physical or mental representation of a spiritual being”. God doesn't want us worshiping an idea of Him, He wants us to worship Him. And the way we can begin to understand the fullness of who He is, is to take time to study His Word, as it describes the depth of who He really is.
So today, let's ask God to help us worship Him - all of Him. Let's ask Him to help us accept all the aspects of His nature and character, and then submit ourselves to each of those areas in our lives. Let's let His holiness impact us as much as His love; His judgment guide us as much as His grace; and His Truth lead us as much as His mercy.