How we view God shapes everything we do. Are we on his bad side? Are we on his good side? Are we on any side?
Does he even know us personally, or are we merely one of 7 billion ants crawling around on the face of the earth?
Has he left us on our own to figure it out with free will? Or is he sovereignly orchestrating the circumstances of our lives?
Do we always need to live in fear of taking a misstep? Is he just waiting for us to slip up? Do we need to live up to the 10 Commandments in order to make him happy, or at least avoid his wrath?
Or does he love us so much that he will do whatever it takes to make sure we end up in right relationship with him?
The subtleties of our view may not be immediately transparent, but it is worth thinking about deeply. Our faith may not hang in the balance, but all the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, and so on – absolutely do hang in the balance.
Even though we all have a slightly different view of God, he is who he is. The greatest lesson I ever learned was in the middle of a crisis when I realized that I had made up God in my imagination to be the God I wanted him to be.
I was thunderstruck with the idea: There is a God we want, and there is a God who is. They are not the same God. The turning point of our lives is when we stop seeking the God we want and start seeking the God who is.
I think that's the greatest lesson I've ever learned. I had been trying to reimagine God to be to God I wanted him to be.
He is the God who hurled the cosmos into existence, regulates the ebb and flow of the tides, and orders the rising and setting of the sun.
Net net for me… so much about God remains opaque and mysterious – even after reading through the Bible 29 times. We can barely comprehend him, much less understand him.
So what are we going to do? What we don't know far exceeds what we do know. But what he has made known to us is very beautiful. He has made his gospel known to us in the person of Jesus.
Jesus said things like, "Everything the Father revealed to me I have made known to you. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. As the Father has loved me, so has he loved you. The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I've said."
So how can we have a right view of God? By looking at Jesus. He is the visible image of the invisible God. He is the exact representation of God's being. He is all of God in human body. Jesus himself said, "He who has seen me has seen the Father."