Am I worshipping God through vain religious practices or in the truth of who He really is?
23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
INSIGHT: Many people say, “My God is a god of fill in the blank”, yet they have a distorted or incomplete view of Him. We cannot buy dinner with a one sided twenty dollar bill, and we cannot enter life to the full or heaven with a one sided view of God. God saves, and uses people who see Him according to who He really is (1 Sam 2:35, Ps 95:10). How we view God determines our beliefs, which determine our actions, which determine our destinies now and for all of eternity.
“What a person thinks about when they think about God is the most important thing about them.” – A.W. Tozer
A favorite scheme of the devil is to get people to heavily emphasize one attribute of God’s over another. Distorting the image of God is heresy. If I only recognize and talk about God’s love and grace, and I ignore or dismiss His justice and wrath, I am defaming the person of God and should not expect Him to be close to me or keep me. Our easily deceived human nature wants so badly to see the good and remain in denial about the bad. I think of the video of the lady at the zoo, who is being bashed against the bars of the cage over and over, screaming hysterically because the polar bear has her entire upper thigh in his mouth, and he is trying to pull her in the cage and devour her. She approached the polar bear only seeing his gentle and calm side; she failed to acknowledge his other nature. Guess what? God has a very destructive nature like that polar bear and if we don’t acknowledge it now, it will certainly be too late when we approach Him. (Ps 9:5, 37:38, 145:20, Pro 16:4, Mat 10:28, Jn 3:36, Rom 11:22, Heb 10:27-31, Rev 20:15)
We must allow God to define Himself and His attributes fully through His word, not our favorite teacher or own ideal image of God. Many of us worship God in vain religious tradition or in error of who He really is. For 19 years, I would have been so confident about who I thought God was, but I was wrong in so many ways. I was largely ignorant of who God really is, and it was reflected in my heart. Today, I hear many believers say something about God or describe Him, and I instantly know they don’t really know the truth about Him. As I became intentional about obeying Him, motivated by my love for Him, He began revealing Himself to me in His word and through spiritual experience. And yet, I know that I still know so very little.
We can never know everything there is to know about God, but we can have much greater understanding than most of us have now. It takes years of seeking Him, but God rewards us with more of His presence as we come into agreement with who He really is. A proper view of God is critical and can only be attained by obeying Him and depending upon His grace to make Himself known.