Who Is God in Your Life?
Ask most people if they believe in God… and of course they will tell you “yes”.
Of course, they will qualify their answer with something like, “I believe in something… I don’t know what it is but I believe there is a power greater than myself,” sometimes referring to a “higher power.” Others may not refer to Him as “God,” rather instead Allah, Buddha, or Brahman. Still others see God and the Universe to be the same and find their god in trees, water, rocks, or whatever. Still yet others who consider themselves progressives in our society have elevated humanistic man as their god.
Many today hold to a politically correct relativistic conception of God where everybody is seen as equally right, thus allowing God to be whatever you want it to be.
I’m not quite sure how to wrap my arms around the idea that God is whatever you want it to be and that everybody is right. Seems like nonsense to me. Either God is the eternal being who created the universe and all there is… the whole man, the whole universe, and all of reality and existence, or he is the Creator of none of it. You simply can’t have it both ways.
There seems to be no consensus about who or what God is. Throughout the ages, people have developed many perspectives of who God is and conduct their lives accordingly through that lens, or world view.
As of 2000, approximately 53% of the world’s population identifies with one of the three Abrahamic religions (33% Christian, 20% Islam, <1% Judaism), 6% with Buddhism, 13% with Hinduism, 6% with traditional Chinese religion, 7% with various other religions, and less than 15% as non-religious. Most of these religious beliefs involve a god or gods. [National Geographic Family Reference Atlas of the World p. 49]
The question, “Who is God?” or “Is there a God?” needs to be answered before exploring how to live our lives on this earth.
If God is only the Creator of some divided platonic existence which leads to a tension between the body and the soul, the real world and the spiritual world, if God is only the Creator of some spiritual little experiential “praise the Lord” reality, then he is not much of a God. Indeed, he is not I AM at all.
On the other hand, if God is the creator of all things as Isaiah wrote, Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, [Isaiah 44:24], then it’s important to hear what He has to say about living in today’s world and it would be profitable to follow His instruction.
God has made Himself known to mankind and reveals Himself and His plan in holy scripture.
I would encourage you to find a Bible, open it, and read the inspired words written over a 1,500 year time span by more than 40 authors from every walk of life including kings, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, poets, statesmen, and scholars.
Is there One True God or are there many gods?
It’s pretty obvious to me there are many gods. Yet, they are not all “creator God” (Elohim) nor are they all equal.
The first commandment stipulates “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3). That commandment assumes that other gods do exist, and even though the other gods exist, the people who follow the Mosaic Commandments shall not embrace any of those other gods as gods who compete for the loyalty of the people.
So, perhaps instead of asking as I did earlier, “Who is God in your life?”, a more appropriate question would be “Which god are you following?”
It’s pretty clear most people believe there is a god, and are following some god. However, it’s NOT the same God they are all following. Even among the monotheistic religions that say there is but ONE god, there still seems to be different gods at the center of their worship. I suppose you only have to look at how they live their lives to help identify the god they follow.
Even among self-proclaimed Christians, they may claim to believe in a common God, but they don’t follow the same God. As the progressive humanist philosophies have invaded the Church, the relativism within the Church has become as pervasive as it is outside the Church. Following God’s commandments and following Jesus means many different things to different people. It seems as if what people are wanting to do is to paint God, Jesus, and the Scripture into their own self-defined box – or to mold God into their image rather than allowing God to mold them into His image. They worship the created rather than the creator (Romans 1:25). Is it any surprise there is so much disunity in the Church and so much confusion in the world?
If our Christian lives are allowed to become something spiritual and religious as opposed to something real, daily applicable, understandable, beautiful, verifiable, balanced, sensible, and above all united, whole, if indeed our Christianity is allowed to become this waffling spiritual goo that nineteenth-century platonic Christianity became, then Christianity as truth disappears and instead we only have a system of vague experiential religious platitudes in its place.
(Franky Schaeffer V, Addicted to Mediocrity (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1981), pp. 27-28.)
Overcoming Life’s Obstacles
The Apostle, Paul, identified for us where the battleground takes place. It takes place in our thought process. And, it is that thought process which the devil uses to fill our minds with false ideas and visions of defeat. Paul says to think on the more positive things:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” [Phil. 4:8-9]
These are the things we need to focus our minds on.
We need both a dynamic concept of mission and also a dynamic concept of life in the power of the Holy Spirit in order to move effectively in God’s will. More and more power is ours as we seek Him at greater and greater depths, increasingly submitting to His promptings, and courageously launching out in obedience to His commands. Our resolution should be (in Hudson Taylor’s words) to “Expect great things from God and attempt great things for God.”
I have spent the past thirty plus years studying scripture and it’s historical context and have attempted to write a practical guide to living the Christian life.
A Lesson From Jeremiah’s Generation
Christians around the world and particularly in America should learn the lesson of Jeremiah 18. The Israelites had forsaken their trust in one true God and were following other gods. God spoke to Jeremiah and showed him through the damaged vessel of the potter that He would start over with the Israelites after sending them into exile as punishment for their idolatry (Jeremiah 18:1-17). America stands at that same place of judgment today, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; <v.9> unless she turn away from her idolatries and turn from their evil.
The message that is needed is one of conviction of sin and the fear of God. Until men and women realize that they have violated God’s laws and that this world is ripening to reap His wrath, they will not see their need for the forgiveness which Christ bought with His blood.
That message will be increasingly difficult to deliver in the days ahead, but it is the only one that will prevent “converts” from coming to Christ for the wrong reasons and thereby being set up to follow the Antichrist when he appears.
We need to be aware of what’s happening!
Throughout church history, there have been those who have (to use Dwight L. Moody’s words) become “so heavenly minded that they were no earthly good.” They quit their jobs, sold their property, and sat and waited for Jesus to return. All of them have been embarrassed, of course, because it is unbiblical to set dates for His coming. It is also unbiblical to become careless and lazy just because we believe Jesus will soon rapture us before the great tribulation and we’ll escape judgement.
“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” – Luke 12:35-40
We need to be alert to the possibility of the consummation of events at any time. That means we are aware of the events unfolding in the world that shape our destiny. Implied in our alertness, is also readiness. We need to be preparing ourselves for Christ’s return which could happen at any moment. As we see the time of His return edging closer, we should intensify our efforts of fulfilling our calling of preaching the gospel so that others might too be saved.
Just as tragic are those self-proclaimed Christians who sit passively on the sidelines as Satan spreads his evil throughout society. They believe there is nothing they can do and instead are satisfied to wait on the Lord to judge the evil. However, the day will come they too will be judged guilty of the crimes they allowed to flourish. (Psalm 50:16-21)
If you see a thief, you are pleased with him, and you keep company with adulterers. [Ps. 50:18]
“When thou sawest a thief, instead of reproving him and witnessing against him, as those should do that declare God’s statutes, thou consentedst with him, didst approve of his practices, and desire to be a partner with him and to share in the profits of his cursed trade; and thou hast been partaker with adulterers, hast done as they did, and encouraged them to go on in their wicked courses, hast done these things and hast had pleasure in those that do them.” [Matthew Henry’s Whole Bible Commentary]
Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. [Romans 1:32]
Above all, we need to continually grow in our faith! We need to spend more time in the Word, in prayer, and focusing on Christ.
I’ve written two pieces that address a practical and Biblical approach to living our lives in this dark fallen world.
Many of the signs we see around us are designed to wake us from our slumber and I don’t believe God will pour out His wrath without first warning us. God loves us and wants us to know He will return. God’s seeming delay in bringing about the consummation of all things is a result not of indifference but of patience.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. [2Peter 3:9]
God is giving us every chance to repent of our sin and return to Him. He is being patient with us because He wants everyone to come to repentance. God wants everyone to hear the gospel and does not desire anyone to perish eternally (1Tim. 2:4). This does not mean that all will be saved, for if a person rejects God’s grace and salvation, then he or she remains lost.
Either we turn back to God or we will suffer His just punishment.