“TO AN UNKNOWN GOD”
I listened as my friend sat across the table with tears running down her cheeks, sharing her revelation. She had spent her life believing God was judgmental and harsh. She thought God could never love her based on what had been done to her and what she had done.
The effect of this belief about God left her feeling unloved, forever tainted, and she had lived a life trying to check off the Christian to-do list in hopes of being seen as good enough. “Maybe I could be good enough to at least get a few scraps from the table,” she laughed.
Having the correct view of God will significantly influence our life.
Her tears and the pain from realizing her head knowledge of God did not align with her heart’s behavior resonated with me and recent lessons learned while recovering from depression. My heart’s behavior has been primarily persuaded by my perception of how others view me. “Good Christians don’t struggle with depression because they believe God’s promises and He keeps them from spiraling down.”
I have spent a lifetime trying harder to be “good enough.”
I’ve walked with God most of my life, raised Southern Baptist, a denomination that emphasizes knowing God’s Word, seminary trained, and 30 plus years in ministry. How could I possibly be operating with a faulty perception of God all these years?
Yet, there I was, sitting in the pit, believing I was failing God and everyone else. Are my friend and I the only ones who have walked with God for a long time, having assumed we had a concrete belief system about God, only to discover that what we knew in our head did not match how we lived in our heart?
My faulty beliefs about God fed my depression and lifelong cruelty towards myself. My friend’s mistaken beliefs about God led her to drop out of church for a season because she knew she had been playing the Christian game but didn’t know how to stop.
Paul spoke to the crowd in Athens and their idol addressed “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD” (Acts 17:23). They were a thorough bunch who wanted to cover all the god bases, including the one they may not know existed. I feel we run our lives too much like the Athenians by going to church regularly, believing that God’s Son is the redemption plan, and he is a faithful God who will be there for me when I need him.
But at the end of the day, these are empty statements on a statue covering our basis because our actions do not reflect the power of the God with whom we say we believe.
Do our actions reflect a belief in a God who is ….
The Lord is my Hope. God is confidence, courage, and 100% reliable. He is the one I trust, expect to follow through, and my soul finds comfort in his faithfulness.
When the unknown threatens to drain my energy, tempts me to question my faith, and impossibilities overwhelm me, I find myself waiting on God, who is my Hope. I know and therefore act on the belief that God will come through for me. I pull my thoughts to this truth.
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13, NLT
The Lord is my Rock. God is permanent, solid, and dominates my thought life. He is the one I stand on, hide behind, and I know surrounds me.
When life swipes me from the side, my anxiety begins to rise, and it feels the whole world is against me; I find myself going to God as my Rock. I know and therefore act on the belief that God is the only source of genuine help. I pull my thoughts to this truth.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior. 2 Samuel 22:2-3, NRSV
The Lord is my Sufficiency. God is capable, complete, and abundant. He is the one who brings strength out of my weakness, provides help when I need it, and sees me through to the very end.
When I feel I have nothing left, I can’t take one more step, and all support systems are failing, I find myself relying on Christ, who is my sufficiency. I know and therefore I act on the belief that Christ will provide what I need. I pull my thoughts to this truth.
But He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me. 2 Corinthians 12:9, AMP
The Lord is my Peace. God is wholeness, safety, and rest. He is the one who brings unexplainable peace to my soul, healing to my brokenness, and creates spaces for me to catch my breath.
When the world around me is falling apart, the pace is relentless, and a critical voice knocks on my door, I find myself looking to Christ to lead me down the path of peace. I know and therefore I act on the belief that Christ’s peace is pure, complete, and what my soul needs. I pull my thoughts to this truth.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7, NASB
THE SELF-EXISTENT ONE
The Lord is the Self-Existent One. God is The Creator, is uncreated, and is THE I AM. God never changes. His promises will never fail me. He is reliable and trustworthy.
When everything feels out of control, things are continually changing, and I want to question my worth or purpose; I fall at the feet of the Great I AM, the One who is always steadfast, and I know that He is GOD and I am not. I pull my thoughts to this truth.
And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “This is what you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:14, NRSV
Meditate: God is my (pick a characteristic of God).
Reflect: How well do your actions reflect what you believe to be true about God? What are some faulty beliefs you have been operating on about God? Which of the above beliefs about God do you need to spend more time dwelling on and why? What can you do to grow in your correct belief of who God is?
MY HOPE – Psalm 33:16-22, Psalm 65, Isaiah 40:27- 31 MY ROCK – Psalm 62: 5-8, Psalm 125:1-2; 1 Peter 2: 4-9 MY SUFFICIENCY – Psalm 23, 2 Corinthians 3:5, 9:8, 1 Peter 5:10 MY PEACE – Judges 6:1-24, Numbers 6:22-26, Colossians 3:12-17 THE SELF-EXISTENT ONE – Exodus 3:1-20, Psalm 103, John 1:1-18
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(Bible References: NRSV – New Revised Standard Version, NLT – New Living Translation, AMP – Amplified Bible, NASB – New American Standard Bible)