Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Proper Perspective on God

Getting the proper perspective on God, our Heavenly Father, is crucial to getting a proper perspective on our how we are to live our Spiritual lives.

Unfortunately, most Christians have an extremely warped perspective of God, and want to make Him into OUR Servant, rather than US being God's servants, as He commands us to be through His Son and Prophet, Jesus.

The hard truth is, God cannot be our wish-granter, or our personal ATM Card, or our personal Genie who must obey our every whim, as most Christians want Him to be.

No, God isn't here to serve US, we're here to serve HIM and to serve our fellow human beings in His name. That's all, and nothing more.

When we seek Riches and Fame and other "stuff" from God, we turn His Will on its head and make ourselves the center of the Universe, rather than God.

God shows no partiality and accepts no bribes (Deut. 10:17) He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matt. 5:45) He shows no partiality to princes, nor regards the rich above the poor, for they all are the work of His hands. (Job 34:19)

In truth, our promises to God and our actions for God are far more important than His promises TO us.

God is not our personal doorman, who (at our bidding) "opens doors" to better jobs, perfect mates, or more expensive cars.

If we are so VAIN that we envision God "arranging" opportunities for us so that we may be physically gratified, we must blame Him when he fails to do so, or throw up our hands and say "well, we just don't understand," which is a philosophical rationalization designed to explain God's failure to cater to our every whim and perceived need.

In fact, when we pray, we're not to heap up a "wish list" of all our wants and desires to God, as if God was a Heavenly Santa Claus who rewards us with toys. Jesus tells us God knows what we need, and those needs aren't physical tools for our personal gratification, they are entirely Spiritual.

Are we, therefore, NOT "blessed" by God? Surely we are! But those blessings are necessarily SPIRITUAL ones. God gives us comfort, hope and wisdom to do what is right. If any of us lack wisdom, we should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to us. (James 1:5)

And the knowledge of God and His Son's life and example are definitely blessings. After this, we see our lives with fresh eyes and we choose with the wisdom that comes from God alone (Job 28:23) becoming more righteous in His sight.

But to envision a God as some kind of "Great Manipulator" that grants wishes and makes things happen or not happen for us is to believe in a capricious and shallow being, not a God of wisdom and righteousness. But sadly, this is the God believed in by tens of millions of souls who are putting their faith in a magic genie to make everyone's problems come out "right," leading to them failing to pursue the Kingdom as a result. God's Kingdom is one in which He requires US to be His hands and eyes, and to serve others on His behalf.

And what about wealth and health and the Gospel of Prosperity?

Jesus was pretty clear: wealth and health and Earthly success is NOT to be used as a sign of God's blessings, and God’s Kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36.) Nature rains and shines on both the good and the evil indiscriminately (Matt. 5:45.) God is not in the hurricane or the flood (1 Kings 19:11-12.) God is in the hands of the rescue workers and in the compassion of the doctors who tend to the sick. God is not in the angry boss who fires you or treats you badly. God is working through the co-worker and spouse who comforts and encourages you. And God is also there to draw upon as an inexhaustible spiritual well, His spirit never ceasing.

God definitely gives us spiritual gifts. He enables us to endure poverty and handle the temptations of wealth, but He shouldn't be demoted to a coin-operated "gimme goodies" machine for our physical gratification. That's a warped understanding of God.

Jesus specifically tells us that we must not pray to God for material things of any kind. God knows what we need, and it's not STUFF that will rot or rust (Matt. 6:19-20.) What we truly need is the spiritual integrity to deal courageously with whatever comes our way - and the knowledge that God will not be throwing it our way or moving it out of our way, because that would be turning God into OUR personal servant, and is simply a false understanding of God - even if many, many pastors of Christendom are teaching it with pretty words behind their expensive pulpits in their expensive church buildings.

Those who hear such things should pray to God for wisdom and discernment (James 1:5,) and they will receive it abundantly, as with all spiritual strength for which they ask God.

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