“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
– A. W. Tozer
When someone is struggling with trusting God and finding peace, it’s usually because they have a distorted view of God’s ways (Ps 95:10-11).
A man contacted me after seeing my story on YouTube. He was a believer in Christ, but was in the midst of terrible divorce pain and scared to death about his future. He couldn’t sleep and was ready to give up on life, when suddenly he was prompted to check his email at 1 am. He found a voice recording from me, replying to his email.
He was touched by my reply, but he was completely transformed when his understanding of God changed. Just 2 weeks later he writes, “After listening to your messages Mike, I now look at our trials not as God sitting on a throne seeing what sport he can get by testing us, but more of his way of saying, ‘I need you to change, but also to never forget this lesson.’”
With his new view of God, this man found enough trust in Him to completely surrender his entire life to Jesus. In another email he writes, “To actually give up and trust God with my life, has to be the best thing that has ever happened to me. Yes I still have all my senses and emotions, but I am not afraid anymore.” He described a supernatural peace that had settled into his heart (Jn 14:27).
The reason that so many people have so many different religious experiences, or lack thereof, is because so many of us have skewed views of God. Every denomination represents someone who sees God differently than others (Judges 21:25).
You might imagine that after thousands of years and millions of test subjects, the devil has concluded, “If we can’t stop them from believing in God, we can at least pervert their view of Him.”
Think about this. How you view God effects how you view His love, His Word, His faithfulness, His ways, yourself, relationships, the world, money, your dreams, suffering, death, sin, grace, mercy, holiness, obedience, the devil, your purpose, etc.
I myself can’t really say that I’ve ever had low thoughts of God, but they were always severely incomplete. By far, the greatest misunderstanding I had about God was His Sovereignty and His power to work precisely and specifically on behalf of little ol’ me. The size, power, faithfulness and sheer magnificence of God is continually growing in me, as I experience Him more and more.
I’m learning that our faith only rises to the size of the object that we put our faith in. If my image of God is small, I will have small faith. If you view God as distant or uninterested you will not enjoy intimacy with Him. If we don’t see God as being in total control, we live in fear and anxiety as if everything is up to us. He often only allows our experiences of Him, to match our view of Him.
Experiencing God is the key to understanding Him. If you read the Bible for 40 years straight (and you should) but you never experience God, your faith will remain only paper deep without any substance. He will remain only as an idea or uncertain hope to you, not an actual living personal God, who you can know and enjoy now, like Jesus promised in John 14:21-23.
Throughout the bible we read the words, “And they will know that I am the Lord” or “then He knew that the Lord is God.” Ironically they are mostly spoken of people (The Jews) who already had faith in God. What God was saying is now they will know me by experience. (Ex 16:12, Ex 18:11, Deu 4:35, Josh 4:24, 1 Kin 20:13, 2 Chr 33:13)
I imagine during the first 19 years of my being a “believer” that if an alien spaceship landed in my backyard to tell me this whole Jesus thing wasn’t real, and that they were the ones who created us, it could have likely shipwrecked my faith. Today, I would know they were a deception from Satan himself. If I ever fell away from the faith today (God forbid), it wouldn’t be because I hadn’t seen enough evidence of Him in my life. I have indeed experienced enough of God’s amazing sovereignty to have a very large view of Him! May it be true of you as well, as you trust and obey Jesus!
“We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true.” – 1 John 5:20