Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member
Well, that title is from an old Van Morrison song that I like. Sorry to keep going back to “the day” all the time. I just have that music in my blood. But I have been wondering about this lately. Not about the song, but about having “sense of wonder” about our God! Maybe I should name this A Sense of Awe!
I’ve been reading a book about the attributes of God. Actually, I have read it before and am re-reading it. I must say, the second time is better than the first. I don’t know how many of you have read such books, but they basically just talk about who God is. The chapters of this particular book talk about God’s goodness; God’s justice; God’s Mercy; God’s Holiness, etc. I’m only on chapter 3 but am already challenged by many things I have read.
One thing that started coming to my mind several months ago, is my approach to the Word of God, the Bible. For years I have always tried to read the Bible through once a year. I would start off with great zeal and try to read several chapters a day. I don’t know if I have ever gotten through the Old Testament in a year, but I can usually read the New Testament twice in a year. But after a while, my mind gravitates to just getting the Bible read in the timeframe I made for myself. I totally lose the sense of why I should be reading the Bible in the first place; to learn about, and spend time with God! In other words, it becomes a project and loses it’s original purpose.
But this time, I am not concerned as much as how much I get read, as I am, does any of this reading change me or get me closer to God. I have a fear that I need to confess. That fear is for the American church and perhaps for the American style of Christianity itself. Now I need to tell you, I’m not on a crusade, and I don’t want to be preachy, but I know my own life is weak when it comes to having a deep love, trust and awe of our Lord. So, let me ask what do we think about when we think about God? Is God absolutely Holy? Is He totally just? Is God all powerful and in control of the world? Just what is my (and your) concept of God?
The reason this is important to us is that our success or failure in the Christian life depends on our concept of God. I’d like to share a few quotes from the book I am reading that struck me:
Christianity at any given time is strong or weak depending upon her concept of God.
Our religion is little because our god is little. Our religion is weak because our god is weak. Our religion is ignoble (of low birth or common origin) because the god we serve is ignoble.
The local church will only be as great as its conception of God.
What the author is saying in all this is that our concept of God is too small. I don’t for one minute think that we do this on purpose. And I know we are all at different places in our walk with our Lord. But it’s important that we grow in our concept of God. We need to learn to trust God above all else. I have been learning and working on this for over a year. To be honest, I thought I was fine in this area of trust until we came to Step 3 in the Regeneration class I was in last year. People say this step is the most important step in the whole program because every other step that follows depends on our having absolute trust in God. I ended up confessing to our group at the the time, that I had problems in this area.
Let’s end this by just taking one attribute of God from Isaiah chapter 6. You are probably familiar with this chapter. It talks about Isaiah’s call to ministry. In the first verse, Isaiah writes, “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe tilled the temple.” Then he starts talking about seraphim who flew around praising God’s holiness. Then, if that wasn’t enough, the whole room became filled with smoke. In other words, it was filled with the Glory of God! What was Isaiah’s reaction. To be perfectly clear, he was filled with awe and fear. His reaction was, “Woe is me. For I am lost.” Isaiah recognized that this God was absolutely Holy and he himself, was anything but holy. Isaiah was totally broken in God’s presence. Holiness is just one aspect of God’s. And Isaiah was blown away by what he witnessed. I wonder what would happen to us if we saw all the characteristics of God at one time!! I think it would be too much to bear!!
OK. Here is the crux of the matter. If the author is right by saying, “The local church will only be as great as its conception of God,” Then what should our concept of God be? I think in our individual lives, and in the church, we need to have a high concept of God. Yes, God is our friend, our Good Shepard, and all that. But that should not diminish who God is. God is PERFECT is all respects. He is perfect in His goodness, justice, righteousness, love and holiness. If He were not perfect in all these characteristics, He would not be God at all. Might I suggest that you take a few moments and read Psalm 139. I’m sure you have read this Psalm before, but please, just pray and ask God to reveal it to you as never before. When I was in my teens, I used to think that God made a mistake in creating me the way He did. After all, why would he make me so I stuttered severely from the age of five, so much that I could hardly speak. Why would he allow me to be fearful and insecure. I was sure he blew it. But verses 13-16 say otherwise. God formed me as it pleased Him! Can I trust that?
As a part of the body of Christ, may we at Stonepoint grow in our love and knowledge of God. May we not grow in this knowledge just so we can spout it off to someone or let it make us proud. But may this knowledge become part of our inner being and bring change in our lives. May we know and see Him in all His glory! “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His Glory!” Amen!!