Game Changer

In 1952 the Anglican minister, theologian and author JB Philips published a book provocatively titled, You God Is Too Small.   The first half of the book is spent looking at destructive images of God. You know, incorrect images of God that people believe to be true.   This book was published in 1952 but it reads as if it was recorded during some of my weekly conversations. I want to share three of his destructive images of God.

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God is the resident policeman cruising up and down the streets. Is he keeping you safe or is he out to get you? Does he want you to drive the speed limit or does he want to write you a ticket? This view leads one to live in a constant state of guilt. I’m not always speeding so I don’t fear cops when I’m parked or out on a walk. But I do sin often. And if God is like a policeman I live in guilt because he sees all things. It’s destructive.

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God is your parents super-sized.   If you happened to be born to a troubled set of parents this is disastrous. You take all of their negative traits and project them onto God. If you happened to be born to a good set of parents this could also be dangerous. No matter how good your parents may have been … they don’t compare to God. You can’t limit God to such a comparison. In either case, it’s destructive.

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God is a jolly old man with a white beard sitting in a rocking chair. He lets you sit on his lap and feeds you candy. He incredibly generous and never asks much of you. It’s destructive.


Here’s my question for you:  How would you describe God?

Given some time. Given a cup of coffee and perhaps a donut or two, how would you describe God? What would you say and how would you go about saying it?

Would you describe a God that is too small? OR would you describe the God of the Bible?

Join me in reading [Colossians 1:15-23].

Imagine this passage as a house. We are going to stay on the front porch of this passage.  We need to stay on the front porch because the beginning of this passage is a game changer.  It provides a truth that is foundational for our understanding of God.

Jesus is the image of the invisible God.

Let me say it another way: in Jesus we see God.

Let me say it another way: if you have questions about God you find the answers in Jesus.

Let me say it another way: if you want to see God you need to look to Jesus.

Jesus is the image of the invisible God.

I asked, how do you describe God? Well, your answer needs to sound like Jesus. If your description of God does not sound like Jesus – you need to correct your description of God.

Let’s make this practical. I rarely get asked to describe God but I do get questions about God almost every single day.

Perhaps you’ve asked the question, “Does God care?” when you have lost a loved one. Picture Jesus weeping at the death of his friend Lazarus.  At the sight of dead friend, Jesus wept.

Jesus wept

Perhaps you’ve asked the question, “Am I too far gone to be used by God?  Picture the woman at the well.  Jesus turned a broken women into a disciple and an evangelist.

woman at the wll

Perhaps you’ve asked the question “Is my sin too deep to be forgiven?”  Picture the woman caught in adultery.  While the crowd wanted to stone the women to death, Jesus offered forgiveness.

rock

Perhaps you feel as if you are drowning in the sea of life. Picture Jesus calming the sea.  While the storm rages, Jesus speaks “Peace be still.”

Be Still

Perhaps you’ve asked the question “Will God provide?  Picture the feeding of the 5,000.  Jesus fed thousand with a boy’s lunch.  Perhaps he can provide for you as well.

feeds 5,000

Perhaps you’ve asked the question “Does God love me?”  Picture the cross.  While we were sinners Jesus died for us.

Cross copy

Perhaps you’ve asked the question “Is there hope?”  Picture the empty tomb.  Through the resurrection Jesus defeated sin and death.  Is there a greater hope?

tomb-image

Jesus is the image of the invisible God.

What does Jesus tells us about God?  In short – everything that we need to know.  

That’s why it so important that we know the Scriptures. When we create God from our own imaginations or from some misconception – we miss the mark. When we create God from the image of Christ – we get it right.

To accurately know God we must know Jesus Christ. To accurately know Jesus Christ we must know the Scriptures.

Abandon you destructive images of God. Fill you heart and mind with Jesus Christ. Spend time this week reading Colossians 1:15-23. Allow it to drive you to worship.

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