Our GOD LENS
Who do you believe God is?
And, what do you believe He thinks about you?
We all have our own idea about how we’d answer both questions (whether consciously, or subconsciously). And our hearts will either be set free or die a thousand deaths based on how we answer them. Our answer to these questions is what I call our God lens.
The first question is a little easier for the Church to deal with because we spend a lot more time answering it. Believers would agree that God is good, loving, and just. We believe He is all powerful, and glorious in His majesty. We may even go much deeper, dealing with some of His attributes that defy description - Like the Trinity… Three in One - Mind blown - BOOM! Or, how about the fact that He’s infinite? Think about this… He had no beginning and will have no end… It’s not even possible for a human brain to think on that level. Cutting to the chase, God is far greater than we can comprehend and perfect in character.
Now to the more difficult question… the second question… What do you think God thinks about you? Growing up, I was lead to set aside this type of question. I was made to feel that such thoughts were selfish to consider since our purpose is to glorify God, and as I was told, “it’s not His job to make us feel good.” But, as I got older, I realized that no matter how much I tried to shove it down, what I believed God thought or felt toward me defined my relationship with Him… and honestly, it defined my life.
Let me share a bit of my story so you will understand what I mean... and hey, you might even be able identify.
For most of my life, I think I would have gotten the first question right. I would have piped in with proper theology and declared the wonder of His greatness. But, when it came to actually understanding how He felt about me… relationally… I had all the wisdom of an ass (totally meant the animal). In other words, I knew nothing. And, I knew nothing because I was too ashamed to ask anyone about it.
But up until two years ago, I had developed a subconscious belief that God was disappointed in me. I wouldn’t have said so if I was asked. But, deep down, on the few scary occasions when I was brave enough to get real with myself, I thought, well of course He’s disappointed in me. He is sinless and I am sinful. He fixes mistakes and I make mistakes. He gives life, and though I’m exhausted from trying really hard… I spent most of my life falling flat on my face. Utterly defeated, I would picture God as this glowing giant Being, who crossed His arms and shook His head as He looked down on me. All I could do was hang my head in shame.
This is actually how I felt. And it impacted everything I did. I was dying inside, and all the hurt I felt in my relationship with God was impacting the relationships I had with those around me.
So, why was I producing hurt instead of love? Because I thought God was constantly frustrated with me.
But, by Divine intervention (I can’t remember the source - maybe God spoke it into my heart) I came across this statement, and God radically changed my perspective. - “If the God you’re believing in does not produce love in you and those around you, then you are not believing in the God of the Bible.”
Ummm… Wow… Can you feel that? I felt it again just typing it and I’ve been thinking about that statement for the last three years.
The Lord brought me through a lot to reveal what was wrong with my “God lens.” When all was said and done, I had to decide what kind of Father I believed God to be. I had to decide whether I was going to believe that God loves me unconditionally or that He loves me based on my level of obedience.
Again, by the grace of God, I began to read the Word and test the affect that both outlooks had on what I read. For instance, if I read John 3:16-17 with the outlook that God’s love for us wavers based on whether we are [perfectly] obedient or not, then the passage didn’t even make sense. But, if I read the passage intentionally believing in God who loves His children unconditionally, then this passage spoke life into my heart.
See for yourself. I encourage you try to read this passage through both perspectives - John 3:16-17 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.”
Furthermore, I found the same of both perspectives when I read anything in scripture. But, here are a few more passages if you wish to continue to test the what I’m proclaiming: Colossians 3:16-17, Psalm 19:7-8, John 6:35, Gal. 6:9-10, Psalm 34, John 10:10.
Generally, this is what I found:
A relationship with God who loves me unconditionally = fullness of life in His presence.
A relationship with a Being who loves me based on my ability to be obedient = impossible weight and misery.
Thinking of God’s love as conditional is a lie that hurt me and those around me, so I had to let that belief go. And as God shifted my perspective to seeing Him rightly - that He loves me (and all His children) unconditionally - my heart began to become overwhelmed at the life I felt as I opened up His Word. For, when I truly believed He loved me (no if’s, and’s, or but’s), even His commands were sweet to my soul, drawing me deeper into life.
To add to this, I find that I am more surrendered to Christ than ever. Why? Not because I can do it. I can’t. I kept messing surrender up. But, when God fixed my God lens, His love began to revolutionize my life. His love began to work in and through my life. His love began to radiate into other people’s lives. And, His love caused a joyous surrender/obedience. I say this for all those who say I emphasize God’s love too much… when the truth is, I couldn’t emphasize it enough. For God’s love is what produces godliness. Embracing God’s love for us is what positions us to love God and others (1 John 4-19).
The truth is, for all who believe in Christ, He loves you unconditionally. He loves you no matter what. He is not disappointed in you. He is proud of you. He wants to unleash the power of His love in a unique and beautiful way that He specifically made you and only you for. But, it all starts by allowing Him to fix your God lens.
So I challenge you to do something scary. Ask yourself, “What do I really believe God thinks about me?”
After you’ve gotten real with yourself on this level, ask God what He thinks about you. Let Him speak truth and life over your soul. I promise you that if you let His grace in, He will unleash freedom upon you.
Drew East | Worship Pastor