What would happen if you suddenly realized that the God you believe in isn’t really the God of the bible after all? It’s a scary question isn’t it? I think its a question that none of us would really like to spend anytime considering. But I do think it’s an important question to think about for a moment.
Those of us who love God have, at some point, built an idea of who He is and how He is. Over the course of time our perception of God becomes our reality of God. The problem is that some of our reality of God might have nothing to do with truth.
The truth is that our search for who and how God is must not be done apart from Jesus. We can only understand God to the extent that we understand Jesus. Jesus is the exact representation of God and if we see Jesus we see God Himself. Everything invisible about God was made visible in Jesus.
The point is that our reality of God should only be based on Jesus. Is that true for your life? It wasn’t for mine.
I have found that as I grew my reality of God was built by things other than Jesus. I didn’t look to Jesus for my understanding of God. I looked to myself. In other words, I projected on to God every “good” I thought He should have. For example,
1. Vulnerability is weakness so for me God is above suffering and unemotional.
2. Lack of control is unacceptable so God is controlling.
3. Failure is unacceptable therefore I must never fail to be accepted by God.
4. Physical fitness is the only acceptable option therefore I must be physically fit to be loved by God.
5. Perfectionism and being driven are essential qualities therefore I must strive and Drive and be perfect so that God will be happy with me.
I have only listed five but I’m sure there are more. In fact you might be coming up with more right now. But lets look at what my reality of God was based on my projections. To me God was Unemotional, controlling, harsh and I must continuously earn favor with Him by doing and being successful.
But we must take our “lists” and place them on Jesus. Does my list line up with the heart, intentions and desires of Jesus? Let’s see,
1. Jesus displayed true emotion and suffering many times
2. Jesus offered what He had but never made or tried to make to choice for anyone. I don’t see any evidence that Jesus was controlling. Perfect love offers choice not control.
3. Jesus continued to accept and love those who continued to fail around HIm.
4. There is no evidence Jesus didn’t love or accept those who were out of shape 🙂
5. Some essential qualities to Jesus were humility, patience and rest. He only did things as God directed Him. He reacted to God and didn’t strive or drive.
My list does not line up to Jesus. Jesus is the standard when it comes to understanding God. So I encourage you think about God for a moment. Write down your thoughts about who He is and how He is. Then look at Jesus and see if they mesh.
Throw out whatever doesn’t line up with Jesus. Thanks to Greg Boyd for helping me see some of this in his book Is God to Blame?
What are some things that you have projected onto God?
Jesse and Kara Birkey