“I'm okay with Jesus.
It's God I'm not too sure about.”
or many daughters of patriarchy, God is an imposing figure. Why wouldn't He be? His name is the one attached to doctrines of men. He is the why behind many destructive religious lifestyle choices. From the earliest crusades unto today's authoritarian Christian family, some form of God's name, character, or command is mis-used and misapplied with devastating results.
In the hands of a sinner, God is a dangerous weapon.
My will be done?
Of course, we are all sinners with the capacity to use God's name in vain to serve ourselves. For the one, however, who grew up literally threatened with God, experiencing Him as a tool of manipulation and control, of behavior modification, force, and cruelty, God is a destructive force who breaks hearts, crushes life from the spirit, and leaves us without hope.
The adage is true: actions speak louder than words.
Despite lifelong biblical messages of God's love and salvation and grace, the imprint left on hearts by God-in-the-everyday becomes what is true. It becomes what is lived, believed, and known. It shapes our theology and our faith.
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. (John 10:10a)
God becomes the enemy.
But what about ...
Yes, God is a holy God. Holiness cannot look upon the unholy; otherwise, it is no longer pure. This requires a set-apartness which drives many well-meaning Christian families to often seek unworldliness through a type of lifestyle or external behavior. To become a peculiar people. What makes someone peculiar? What would you say, or your family say? Is it to be different?
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Tit. 2:11-14, KJV)
Do we redeem ourselves?
Do we purify ourselves?
Can we make ourselves holy?
On the contrary, our Holy God came in flesh and took on our unholiness so that we might take on His life. He redeems us ~ so lived redeemed! He reconciled us ~ so lived reconciled! He sets us apart and makes us holy ~ so be holy! When we seek holiness anywhere other than resting in the finished work of Christ, we are, as Lewis Wells states so fittingly, stitching up the veil.
Worse, we testify by our lives that Christ died in vain.
So who is your God?
Chad Holtz, a pastor recently removed from his church due to doctrinal differences, writes:
“We become what we worship. A God who demands sacrifice to be appeased is going to form a sacrificing people. A God who is angry and vindictive is going to form angry and vindictive people. A God who divides and conquers is going to form divisive, competitive people.” http://chadholtz.net/2011/03/28/losing-a-job-is-worth-this/
Jesus says: I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10b) Paul reminds us that ...the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2 Cor. 3:17) King David writes,
With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful;
With a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless;
With the pure You will show Yourself pure;
And with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd.
Jesus tells us that He has come to set at liberty those who are oppressed, heal the broken-hearted, give sight to the blind, proclaim liberty to the captive ~ you are free! So live free! ~ and to preach the gospel, the good news to those in need of good news.
How beautiful are your feet to the people who hear the news you bring?
To your children? To your husband? To your wife? To your neighbor? I humbly suggest that:
your good news will reflect your God.
The portrait of God
If there is destruction, heartache, hopelessness, and despair in your midst, look to the source. The enemy destroys. Jesus came to bring life, liberty, healing, grace and truth. Is His spirit at work in your heart and home?
“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father ... ”____
Recommended reading: Equally Loved Leads to Humility by Sisterlisa