The Importance of How We View God
A while back I read an interesting article about a study conducted by Baylor University on peoples’ various perspectives of God. Drawing their conclusions from the survey participants’ responses to 77 questions, the researchers found that four distinct viewpoints of God had emerged: authoritarian, benevolent, critical, and distant.
I think there are certain aspects of truth in some of these descriptions. But personally, I don’t like any of them. So I am proposing a fifth category: the biblical God.
Yes, God is angry at the sins of humanity, as those who believe in a so-called authoritarian God would say. But He is not ready to throw thunderbolts. Otherwise, no one would be alive right now. Yes, God is kind and full of mercy, as those who believe in a so-called benevolent God would assert. He cares about the sick and the needy. He is interested in what is happening in the world. He is not merely a cosmic force who is disengaged.
The Bible tells us what God is like. And God tells us about Himself in a blessing He instructed the priests to pronounce over His people: "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace" (Numbers 6:24–26). God loves to bless us. He loves to smile on us. He loves to listen to us, protect us, and give us peace.
It’s important how we view God, because that will determine how we view life. Let me take it a step further: our view of God will dictate how we live. It will determine the decisions we make. In fact, there are no areas of our lives that are not impacted by how we view God.
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