“What comes to our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” – A.W. Tozer
Many years of my life have been spent worshiping an idol. I bet that’s not much of a shocker is it?
Most of us have sat through that sermon about the abomination of our comfortable nation’s ability to make anything other than God an idol. An idol is whatever takes our main focus from God. Facebook. Body image. Sports. A spouse. A job. A piece of chocolate cake that motivates us to get through a rough day as we think about it CONSTANTLY until the moment arrives to devour it! Delicious.
An idol can be almost anything. But what if it is God himself?
One of the most beneficial books in my life has been The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer. The very first chapter spells out the reason why it is desperately important for us to accurately know who God is.
Born with the blessing of a Christ-centered family, I have learned about the attributes of God throughout my entire life. But over the last several years, I discovered I had been playing a grand game of Telephone.
I’d learn about God’s Might or Grace from a teacher who had read a commentary or lesson plan about it, that was written by an author who studied many other books including the Bible before writing it, and (hopefully) was accredited at a seminary or somewhere comparable where he/she learned about God’s Might or Grace from multiple professors who had spent time learning about the topic in class themselves… By the time I was in my early years of college, I realized most of the “facts” I knew about God were from a source other than God’s Word.
Learning about God from other people is in and of itself not a terrible thing. It can be good, very good. But it isn’t necessarily optimum. The best.
The best way to know God? You might not like my answer. It’s not new or seemingly epic.
Read His Word. Sit alone and read. Wrestle. Do the work.
Do the work because the terrifying reality is that our view of God, if not accurate, is a mighty BARRIER to deep relationship with Him. Tozer states,”The idolater simply imagines things about God and acts as if they are true.” And in my own life, God himself had become an idol. My view of who He was, kept me from knowing who He truly is.
Shaped by my mind, God was a stern Coach, a figure of complete authority, and One to fear above all else. He was hard to please, not forgiving at His core and would puppet me around with a strict reward/punishment system. All good things were from God, and all bad things were also from God. It was my choice of action that dictated His response of goodness or pain. And I suffered immensely from this wrong view of Him.
When I did read my Bible, often my mind would read God’s words with a disapproving and annoyed tone. God was an impossible person to please. And after a while, I got tired of trying.
It has only been in this last year or so that my view of God has begun to correctly shift to accuracy as I continue to spend time alone studying God, and talking with Him. And what I learn about Him constantly produces goosebumps.
What is it that consumes your thoughts? How do you view God?
Turns out, it makes ALL the difference for your eternity.
“If we insist upon trying to imagine Him, we end with an idol, made not with hands but with thoughts; and an idol of the mind is as offensive to God as an idol of the hand.” – A. W. Tozer