fingerprint

The Uniqueness Of Each Person

I’m always amazed when I think of how God created a world that’s filled with incredible diversity and variety. There are different kinds of colors, tastes, sounds, foods, scenery, animals, ideas, types of leisure… (and the list just goes on and on). But one area that is especially intriguing to me is the variety of people He has created. In fact, everyone is different. There are no two of us alike. We are each special.

In spite of our great diversity, the Bible says that we were all created in the image of God. Therefore, we all have some things in common, things that make up our ‘humanness.’ We’ve already noted that all humans have the capacity to think, reason, make decisions, worship, communicate, create, appreciate beauty, etc. We also have similar limitations and needs. We all need food, shelter and clothing. We also need to be loved and to love others. We are also constrained by our physical capacity and strength, knowledge, mortality, and senses, to mention just a few of our limitations.

But do these similarities make us all identical? Not in the least! Though we have certain traits and characteristics that we share, we’re also very different from one another. Everyone of us is unique, a one-of-a-kind, special, limited edition! This uniqueness doesn’t happen by accident. It’s also part of God’s grand design and plan. Even our striving to affirm our own identity isn’t accidental. When a child pulls away from his parents to assert his own unique personhood, he’s really just trying to discover more fully who he really is. This is healthy and normal behavior, part of God’s plan for self-awareness.

God’s Involvement

God forms each one of us lovingly and intentionally. We’re not just an “accident-of-nature” (as many atheists and evolutionists would have us believe). There’s purpose, planning, and design that led up to our existence. Our parents were certainly involved (obviously), but so was God. Whether our parents rejoiced when they received the news of our pending arrival, or regretted their decision to procreate and conceive, we are here nonetheless, because God wanted us here!

David talks about the unique role that God plays in bringing us into existence in Psalm 139:13-15.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

David has become a voice for each of us, expressing gratitude to God for His creative involvement in making us. God was intentionally involved in making us who we are, both inwardly (“inmost being”) and outwardly (“my frame”). The inner man has to do with our personalities, our mind, will, and emotions, our likes and dislikes, our strengths and weaknesses. The outer man is our physical bodies, our appearance, physical strength, natural coordination, etc.

To show God’s personal involvement in making us, the Bible uses words and phrases that capture the notion of nurture and creativity: “knit together,” “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and “woven together.” The psalmist also indicates that God created us with a purpose and destiny in mind, even determining the number of days we would live. Though this passage doesn’t tell us exactly what that purpose is, elsewhere the Bible makes it clear that we exist to bring glory to God (Ephesians 1:11-12), and to live in a personal and eternal relationship with Him (John 3:16).

Unfortunately, in spite of God’s affirmation to the contrary, there are many people who have become convinced that their life is unimportant or useless. Some even consider themselves a burden to society, thinking it would have been better if they had never been born. Nothing could be further from the truth! God has created each of us in a way that is unique and special. Each of us is designed to bring Him glory in a way that no one else can. He wants to accomplish His good works in each of us and through each of us.

Individual Uniqueness

Some social theorists affirm that children are born as a ‘blank slate’ and our surroundings alone are responsible for determining who we become. In other words our environment determines who we are. According to Scripture that is not totally true. God makes each person unique in many special ways. While the environment has an ongoing and significant impact on our lives, God has already written on our ‘slate’ when He created us (Psalm 139:13). He has given us each a unique personality as well as natural strengths and weaknesses. He has given us unique abilities as well, such as hand-eye coordination, ability to play an instrument, artistic ability, intelligence, etc.

Everyone of us is unique, a one-of-a- kind, special, limited edition!!

When we become a Christian, God’s creative work in our lives begins again in a different way. When we trust Christ, God gives each of us spiritual gifts through the person of His Holy Spirit. These abilities enable us to have a unique ministry to believers and unbelievers (I Corinthians 12:7). In fact, most of us have a combination of several gifts. These gifts become evident as we go about helping others in effective and enjoyable service. God also calls us to specific ministries where we are able to employ our special gifts in ways distinct from others. For example,Paul was called to have a ministry to the Gentiles while Peter was called to have a ministry to the Jews
(Galatians 2:8). Sometimes He will even change our ministries as we mature.

God continues to bring about change in us throughout life. He employs agents that work internally (the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures) and agents that work externally (angels, circumstances) to conform us to the image of Christ. There are other forces that God uses to shape us, but one of the most profound is the influence of our family. This environment creates a climate for both good and bad in our lives. It takes wisdom and maturity to process this influence in a healthy way. Fortunately, God assures us that He can even use the bad to bring good into our lives (Romans 8:28). He uses all of our experiences, even the unique culture and era that we live in, to bring us to Christ and to mature us (Acts 17:26-28).

Conclusion

God has made each of us special and unique. He’s created us in amazing ways and made it possible for us to contribute to what He’s doing in this world. Every person who comes to Christ brings something that no one else is able to offer. Rather than making us arrogant, this knowledge should cause us to remain humble as we celebrate our special place and affirm God’s sovereign plan for us.

Application:

• Write down the strengths God has given to you, and thank Him for them.
• What are some of the experiences that have shaped your life? Thank God for them
and what He has done in your life through them.

Get this Pocket Principle in Understanding People, part of Cornerstone  from the WDA Store

For more information visit the WDA Store.

adult son leaving homeThis just happened too fast. Yesterday I was changing diapers and today I am buying sheets (extra long) for a dorm bed. My last child leaves in four weeks for college and the dreaded “empty nest” is right around the corner.

While I really don’t know where the time has gone, I do know I am so very grateful for the time I have had with my children at home. Sure, I wish I had done some things differently, made a few better choices, and spent more time with each of my children. I should have listened more and lectured less, and all the rest of the things on my regrets list. But truth be told, we haven’t done too bad. My children are able to think critically, act independently and take responsibility. They make good choices and are both helpful and useful to those around them. They love and respect their mom and even check in with their old dad on a regular basis!

I would like to take credit for this, but know I cannot. The truth is my wife and I chose, even before our first was born, to raise our children according to God’s direction and to share raising them with like-minded friends. We have prayed for them every day, deferred our “rights” to those God believes is right and sought the counsel, and support, of parents who went before us and raised great kids. We see parenting as both a right and a privilege and have worked at it every day. We are not “holy rollers” or “religious extremist” but we have taken to heart the Lord’s direction regarding love, respect, justice, grace, forgiveness, service, truth, work and a host of other life skills He teaches in His book, the Bible. Old fashioned? I don’t think so. Structured, balanced, honest, caring, trustful, fun and responsible–you bet! Proverbs 15:33 tells us that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and that humility comes before honor. It’s a verse we have tried to live by.

Advice, I guess I have a little, but most of all I would say to just love people like Jesus did. Take the time to learn His leadership model and concepts and then just apply them to your life. The model is not complex, it goes like this: Spend the time to develop real relationships, share real world life skills, talk about ideas and concepts, hold those you love accountable for living what they have learned, pray (a lot), and finally, find situations for your kids to practice what they are learning.

Too often we talk about issues, concepts and ideas without a practical means of letting our kids try them out. Put them in the position to use their knowledge then spend your time catching them doing things right! Praise often, correct when needed, and continuously remind them of their incredible value and worth. Be a parent—every day.

I am not looking forward to the drive home after dropping my son off this fall. My heart is sad just thinking about it. I know he is excited, I know he is able, and I know he is ready. He, like his sister, will make a difference with his life. I say this with confidence because of the knowledge of his relationship with Christ. He knows the truth and he knows how to live truth. However, I will miss having him around. I have come to value his opinion and to enjoy his sense of humor and cutting the grass is going to take a whole lot longer. I remember the same sense of loss dropping my daughter off three years ago. But, it’s not about me…it never was. It is their time to grow and shine, and my time to cheer them on!

The issue is really all about maturity. Growing our children (and ourselves) is the goal and there is a plan that works! If you would like to learn more about parenting according to Jesus Christ’s model of leadership (we call it RCAPS: Relationship, Content, Accountability, Prayer, and Situations or Structures) click here.

I welcome your comments about releasing your children. Please comment below and share your experience, challenges and advice.

 

Originally Posted on JULY 16, 2012.  This was so good we thought it would be good to read again!

thanksgiving dinner rockwell

thanksgiving dinner rockwell

Ok, so most of us are planning a family gathering on Thanksgiving.  Some of you are most likely wondering if there is any way to avoid the tension and stress as families unite, cooks pack the kitchen, and people arrive bearing side items and desserts.

I’m honestly not bothered by the chaos.  However, there are some in my family who find getting the food ready on time, carving the turkey or getting the green beans just right as a stressor. (I just avoid the kitchen.)

This year my family has experienced a faith building situation as my Dad is going through treatment for cancer.  Yuck.  That’s not something to look forward to during the Thanksgiving Holidays.  So Dad having to go thru radiation treatment over an 8 week period has changed some of this years family traditions.  Some of my family, not to name names but they are the only 2 nephews, will certainly miss the crockpot macaroni and cheese. But the thing that I’m considering is how a change in focus from all the food and preparation reminded me of what I am thankful for and Who I am Thanking.

Normally after a big meal and a few too many pieces of pie, we wipe our mouths and say, thanks to the cook or cooks.  “That was great, thanks.”  I’m thinking the change will be good and help us think about how precious it is to be together.

This year, we’re planning on having sandwiches, stuff all us children can bring in, so that Mom doesn’t have to do much more than make iced tea.  I’m hoping the lack of a table full of food helps us consider that it isn’t just about thanking the cooks but being thankful period.

Not only do we need to be grateful, we need to remember who we are Thanking.  America has a long tradition of thanksgiving.  As with many holidays, Thanksgiving has turned into another way to make us spend more on groceries or food channels to show 10 new ways to use left over turkey.  However, the whole point was that we would take time to stop and gather with the people we care about and talk about why we are thankful and to whom we are thankful.

George Washington proclaimed a day of thanksgiving on Oct 3, 1789 and pointed us to the fact that it is our duty to “acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor.” 1

For it is not just the cooks and those who provided the food for our meal that we thank.  It’s not just the Thanksgiving Dinner or the family that is gathered, our focus, as in all things, is to see that it is the hand of Almighty God, our Provider and Sustainer, the God of the Bible who has given us all things.

So this Thanksgiving – Remember who to Thank!

Both riches and honor come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great And to give strength to all. “Now therefore, our God, We thank You And praise Your glorious name ..” … 1 Chron 29:12-13.

Enjoy the good gifts of God!

1 Timothy 4:4-5

For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,  because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

universe picture

universe picture

Are we alone in the universe?  For centuries people have wondered about the place of mankind in the vastness of space.  Ancient astronomers calculated the movement of the constellations, wondering if there was some connection between the stars and people on earth.  Now, with the development of long-range telescopes, the observable universe has expanded significantly.  Some now believe there is a high probability that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe.  (Supermarket tabloids certainly agree: reportings of UFO sightings and alien abductions are on the rise.)  But this curiosity is more than a fringe movement, the scientific community routinely explores the possibility of life beyond our planet.

But not everyone is certain we’ll make contact with other cosmic civilizations.  Ever the cynic, the young protagonist of the comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes” quips that the only compelling evidence that there might actually be intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, is that “no one has ever tried to contact US!”   But despite the various points-of-view, the question remains.

In 2003, Australian astronomers tried to calculate how many stars exist in the universe.  (Every star could be the center of a system of potentially life-supporting planets.)  Using two of the world’s most powerful telescopes, these scientists observed 10,000 visible galaxies.  By extrapolating this data to the limits of the known universe, they estimated the existence of an astonishing 70 sextillion stars!  (For the mathematically challenged among us, that’s a “7” followed by twenty-two zeroes!) (1)  To begin to understand the immensity of this number, try to visualize all the grains of sand along every single beach, and in every single desert on the planet Earth. (2)  Then multiply that amount by ten!  This certainly suggests the possibility that, by comparison, we solar-system earth-dwellers are pretty insignificant.

But the Scriptures maintain another perspective.  Instead of the myriad of stars pointing to humanity’s insignificance in the universe, the Bible says that the vast number of stars actually affirms mankind’s great worth and value.  The psalmist considers the question: “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars which You have set in place, (I ask), ‘What is man that you are mindful of him?’ “  The passage goes on to explain that God has placed man (not the rest of the cosmos!) at the apex of His creation, and “crowned him with glory and honor.” (Psalm 8:3-5)

These verses (and others) remind us that God gave man great worth amid all He created.  In addition to placing man at the pinnacle of His created order, He did two other important things to underscore our value to Him:  He created man in His own image; and He honored man by sending Jesus, God’s own Son, to earth as a man.  We are not alone in the universe!  God has chosen to live among us as one of us, not exactly like us, but significantly like us as a friend and brother!  This ‘living among us’ has three encouraging implications.

God Initiates Toward Us.

God came to earth as Jesus to reconnect with us, initiating the restoration of a relationship that had been broken by sin (John 1:14).  He searched for those who were willing to receive His love.  (And though He returned to heaven, He continues to search through His Holy Spirit!)  The Bible describes this search as like a man who has lost something of great value and who leaves everything to find what was lost (Parable of the Lost Sheep:  Luke 15:1-7).  The parable affirms that once the man finds what he lost, he experiences great joy (vv. 3-7)!

We are not alone.  Though we have been separated from our Creator, He has not forgotten us!  On the contrary, He is actively, diligently, looking for and seeking to rescue us, His lost sheep.  We are the people He created in His image, for His glory.  And once the relationship with any of us is restored, God rejoices and the angels join Him!

This longing for a restored relationship has always been God’s agenda, even when the relational distance seemed impossible to span.  When God dwelt among His people in the Old Testament (Exodus 40:34-38) many of His words and actions made Him seem unapproachable (e.g. Exodus 19:1-25, 20:15-21).  He often appeared to people in His awesome power, reminding Israel of His holy nature with repeated warnings that sinful men were forbidden to come near to Him.  To further underscore this separation, there was an immense veil installed in the Hebrew Temple as a reminder that God could not be approached without an acceptable sacrifice.

But here’s the Good News:  Jesus WAS God’s acceptable sacrifice!  After His death on the Cross, the veil-barrier was removed!  Anticipating this reconciliation, Jesus initiated toward people while He was on earth, embodying the love and grace of God the Father (John 1:16-18).  Jesus put people at ease.  Even the worst sinners felt that they could come to Him and He would befriend them.  God’s nature didn’t change, He was still holy; but the relationship was restored at His initiative.  Jesus was the embodiment of God the Father, showing God’s love, grace, and approachability.

God Identifies With Us.

Not only does God initiate toward us, He identifies with us completely.  Scripture tells us that Jesus Christ was like us in his humanity (Philippians 2:7; Romans 8:3).  It’s incredible, but true: God was fully human in the person of Jesus, The Son!  He functioned just like we do: He got hungry and ate, got tired and slept, worked, moved around, thought and had ideas, made decisions, experienced frustration, was limited by time and space, etc.  But one way in which He was NOT like us, is that He never sinned.  He was tempted, but He never sinned (Hebrews 4:15).  (This sinlessness allowed Him to be the acceptable sacrifice we mentioned earlier and which we’ll talk more about later.)

Because He was so much like us, we can know and have confidence that He understands us.  He is totally empathetic.  Jesus experienced the ups and downs of life just as we do.  He experienced the joys and challenges of childhood, the teen years, and adulthood.  He experienced good times and disappointments.  He was wronged, suffering unjust persecution at the hands of people with selfish agendas.  He was even betrayed by a friend.  Because Jesus is able to empathize with us and our weaknesses, (without sinning), Scripture encourages us to approach His throne of grace in our times of need with hope, courage, boldness, and confidence (Hebrews 2:17-18, 4:15-16).  He’s like a best friend.

We all know what friendship is like, because we’ve all had a friend.  I’ll never forget my best friend from high school.  We did everything together.  We played sports (and rooted for the same teams), we went on double-dates, we took the same classes, we liked the same music, we ate the same fast-food; we could even finish each other’s sentences.  There were few secrets we didn’t share, and he never betrayed a confidence.  Don was more than a friend, he was like my own brother, (but without sibling rivalry).

It’s hard to imagine Jesus being someone like that; but He is!  In fact, He’s better than any friend or brother we’ve ever had, or could ever imagine having.  Because He was like us during His time on earth, we can call on Jesus as our brother and friend (Hebrews 2:11-12; John 15:13-15), and He will be there for us.

Because He was like us, we can also look to Him as a model for living the Christian life.  But He’s not some insufferable bore who’s always correcting us or pointing out our mistakes.  He’s like the buddy who’s always ‘got our back,’ the friend who can teach us how to throw a curve-ball, but who’ll also fight for us and keep us out-of-trouble (if we’ll let him) because He loves us.  We can look to Jesus as this kind of friend, as we seek to emulate His righteous life because it’s the best life, observing how He dealt with rejection and suffering, seeing how He related to God the Father, etc.  And, as we follow His example, we find encouragement and camaraderie.

God Substitutes For Us.

But He’s more than a good companion.  He’s a friend who’ll die for us.  Here’s the Bad News: because all people have sinned, all of us are awaiting God’s judgment and wrath (Romans 3:23, 2:5).  There is nothing anyone of us can do to work our way back into God’s good graces.  All of mankind’s religious systems (attempts to placate God) ultimately fail.  We spoke earlier of God’s holiness and justice.  We can’t approach Him on the basis of our very best merits and deeds, because He is holy, totally unlike us.  Apart from God’s initiative and intervention, mankind has no hope, only the frightful prospect of God’s judgment.

But don’t forget the Good News!  God intervened by sending His Son as a sacrifice and payment.  (John the Baptist referred to Jesus as God’s sacrificial lamb.)  Because Jesus willingly became a man and lived a sinless life, He was an acceptable substitute for us (I Peter 3:18).  When Jesus died a humiliating death on the cross, God poured out His wrath against our sins on His Son, rather than on us (Isaiah 53:6; I John 2:2).

The magnitude of this sacrifice shows the value God places on mankind (Mark 10:45).  (The value of something is seen in the price a wise buyer is willing to pay for it.)  God, who appointed us as the apex of His creation and made us in His Image, also died for us. God has done everything He could do to acknowledge the high worth of mankind and to make it possible for man to come back into a relationship with Him.  Since this was not deserved in any way, all men ought to be humbled and in awe of what He has done in the Atonement.

Though humbled by the majesty and mercy of God, we are not alone in His vast universe, but comforted by His Presence!  He has a cosmic plan and purpose for each of us that spans time and even creation itself.  But at the heart of His plan is a relationship with Jesus, our friend and brother.  It’s impossible for us to fully comprehend all of this, but we aren’t asked to completely comprehend it; God simply asks us to believe it and trust Him.  But it’s a belief that invites action: the decision to follow Jesus!

  Application:

• Choose a passage from a Gospel and read it, paying particular attention to how Jesus relates to people.  Suggested passages:  Luke 7:36-50; John 4:7-30; John 11:1- 44; John 20:19-29

Get this Pocket Principle in Knowing God, part of Cornerstone  from the WDA Store

For more information visit the WDA Store.

End Notes:

(1)Josh Gough, http://www.helium.com/items/128325-ascertain-answer-question-absolute

2)Josh Gough, ibid.

 

glasses

Introduction

glasses

God’s character is described in detail throughout His Word. Sometimes when we read Scripture, we have a difficult time reconciling the words that describe God with our own understanding of God. This may happen because our knowledge of God has been influenced by factors which caused us to develop a false view of Him. For us to grow in relationship with God, we must correct our false views.

Luke, age 30, grew up in an average middle class family. They attended church and Sunday school together every week. Luke has memorized Scripture verses which he quotes regularly and can name, in order, every book of the Bible.

Each of us is specially created by God with our own personality, temperament, gifts and abilities. We each live in our own unique environment. Our inherent traits combined with our environmental influences will determine how we interpret our experiences.  This is how we make sense of our world. However, we do have natural limits; not enough brain power to know everything or enough time to experience everything.  Our desire to protect ourselves emotionally conspires with our own sinfulness to slant our perception of reality. Past experiences will have an effect on our present point of view.  With different variables providing input, we do not always interpret our experiences correctly.

Luke has a very likeable personality, is outgoing and charming, and relates to women better than men. He is also very gifted musically. He sings and plays several instruments well. He is the minister of music at his church.

Unfortunately, our human tendency to misinterpret our experiences can affect our view of God as well. It is common to project the strengths and weaknesses of our parents onto God. It is also common to project other human characteristics onto God.  False views of God can make it very difficult to relate to Him. Because of these false views, many people are struggling to establish and maintain a healthy, Biblical view of God.

Luke’s father was distant and detached when Luke was growing up. He was a quiet, solemn man who rarely smiled.

Some of the common false views of God are a God who is impossible to please; a God who is emotionally distant; a God who is condemning; a God who is unreliable and a God who abandons.

Although Luke appears to have an excellent Christian walk, he views God as emotionally distant and impossible to please. He constantly feels as though he is letting God down and that God is not particularly interested in him. He secretly believes that he has failed God.  He has trouble referring to God as “Father.”

The situation is not hopeless. Once we are aware that our views of God are false, we can take some concrete steps towards correcting them.

Luke recently joined a small men’s Bible study with several men from outside his church.  As the group progressed, the men began to bond emotionally and share with each other more deeply. Luke became aware that many of the men in the group had a different view of God than he did. They were convinced God loved them and they seemed to have an intimate relationship with Him. Luke was surprised by this and gradually began to share his views of God in the group.

Identify False Views

The first step is to identify our false views of God. Exactly what false character traits are we assigning to Him? We must consider ideas that we wrestle with or ideas that we have trouble believing are true. It can be helpful to look at a list of false views that people typically have about God. Some of those are mentioned in the paragraph above, but this list is by no means exhaustive. It frequently happens that we have two competing views of God; the view presented in Scripture and the view based on how we have interpreted our experiences with God. It is as though we have a God we know with our thoughts and a different God we know with our emotions.

One of the older men in the group, Richard, helped Luke realize that his views of God did not line up with Scripture. He encouraged Luke to explore more fully his views of God.

The next step in correction is to identify the sources of our false views of God. How did these false views arise? It is helpful to realize that most of our false views are based on our early life experiences, mainly involving our families. After listing our false views of God, we must spend some time identifying and describing the feelings that these views cause. For some of us this will take some time, but for others the feelings will quickly surface. We must then ask ourselves some questions. “Have I ever felt these same feelings earlier in life? When and in what circumstances did I feel them?”  These experiences and the feelings they cause will often taint our interpretation of our experiences with God.

As Luke talked more about his views of God with Richard and the group, he began to feel sadness over the lack of connection in his relationship with God.  In a fairly short time, Luke was also able to connect those feelings of sadness to his relationship with his father. He realized that he had assumed God was just like his earthly father, cold and distant.

Reinterpret Our Experiences

The third step in correction is to reinterpret our experiences. We must look back at the experiences that contributed to the development of our false views of God and ask Him to show us what He was trying to accomplish in those times. We must also ask Him to reveal His heart towards us. We should try to use our head (scriptural) knowledge of God when asking Him for these revelations. Feelings can be unreliable and we need to be objective, so we may also need someone else to help us to see God’s perspective. It is important to be honest with God about our emotions during this process. If we are angry with God we should express that anger to Him. He knows our hearts anyway, and if we are honest with Him, He can heal our hearts.

As Luke continued to process his feelings, he leaned on Richard a lot for feedback and guidance. He realized that he was angry at God for the lack of connection he had with his father. He felt God had deprived him. Richard helped Luke express his anger to God. He helped Luke explore his past openly and pointed out instances where it had appeared God was there and caring deeply for Luke in the midst of his need. They prayed together for insight, grieved at Luke’s loss and talked for hours about God’s characteristics.

Determine And Reinforce A Right View Of God

The fourth step in correction is to determine and reinforce a right view of God. One important way to accomplish this is to meditate on the truth of who God is. We must read and study Scripture, think about it, ponder it and absorb it into our hearts and minds. We must ask others to help us recognize when we begin to rely on our feelings; feelings that are contrary to what God has revealed about Himself in Scripture. We must create new experiences to help us internalize God’s truth. This means that in spite of what our feelings may be telling us, we will make faith-choices based on the truth of God’s Word.

Richard became a substitute father for Luke during this time. Luke began to experience the way a connected father would interact with his son. Richard helped Luke learn for the first time how to read Scripture with his heart. He directed Luke to Bible passages that would tell him of God the Father’s love for his children.  Gradually, Luke began to let go of his false views of God and to develop a relationship with God that stunned him with its intimacy.

For some of us, correcting false views of God will be a relatively easy process. For others, the process may take longer and be a more difficult journey. Developing and reinforcing right views of God can make a tremendous difference in our relationship with Him. Right views of God will allow us to be more obedient to Him and more compassionate and loving to others. They will deepen and expand our adventure of living with God.

Luke is now able to say with absolute certainty, “God the Father loves me.”

 

Application:

• Looking at the Exhibit “Correcting False Views of God,” work through a false  view of God that you struggle with.

CORRECTING FALSE VIEWS OF GOD

Correcting false views involves several steps:

1) Identify false views of God that you have:

a. We often have two competing views of God.

b. One view is the one presented in Scripture.  The other is the one based on how we interpret our experiences with God.  (Note David’s change of perspective when he took his struggles to God in Psalm 73.)

2) Identify the sources of these false views:

a. Most false views are based on early life experiences, primarily involving our   families.

b. These experiences often taint our interpretation of our experiences with God.

3) Reinterpret your experiences:

a. As you look at the experiences that contributed to the development of your false view of God, ask Him to show you what He was trying to accomplish in those times and what His heart is toward you (Romans 8:28).

b. You may need help being objective since it is easy to just react to your feelings, which may be unreliable.  Ask someone else to help you see God’s greater purposes in your life.

4) Determine and reinforce right views of God:

a. Meditate on the truth of who God is.

b. With the help of others, recognize when you begin relying on your feelings   instead of what God has revealed about Himself in Scripture.

c. Create a new experience to help you internalize truth.  This involves making a faith-choice based on the truth of God’s Word, in spite of what your feelings say.

Get this Pocket Principle in Knowing God, part of Cornerstone  from the WDA Store

For more information visit the WDA Store.