How to See God
- Wednesday, July 13, 2005
After I had been interviewed about the topic of pornography, my comments were published in a national Christian periodical. Within two weeks I received over two dozen calls from pastors desperate for help with their addiction. At about the same time, I counseled three pastors who had lost their ministries over Internet pornography. Approximately one-fourth of my counseling has been with those who have been grappling with problems of immorality-most notably, bondage to pornography. Why is this problem so prevalent among pastors?
In over 30 years of counseling, I have yet to find a single problem (spiritual, emotional, or behavioral) which does not have a root of origin, in part or in whole, in an unbiblical image of God.
Pornography is a case in point. Ezekiel, in his famous vision (Chapter 8), was shown 70 of the ancients of Israel gathered in a darkened room of the temple prior to going forth to lead the people in worship. They were surrounded by images of the idols of Israel, some of which were arguably pornographic in nature. What an awful picture! Ministers of God with instruments of holiness in their hands ready to conduct public worship but fixing their eyes upon sinful objects and filling their minds with lustful thoughts.
Despite all their qualifications for ministry-the advantage of maturity, association with other ministers, titles of respect, and theological knowledge-these men harbored some destructive thoughts about God ("the Lord seeth us not; the Lord hath forsaken the earth," v. 12). Their disbelief in God's ability to see them in their sin along with their misconception of His absenteeism fueled their sins. By embracing a lie about the omniscience and omnipresence of God, they were crippled in their belief and led like sheep to the slaughter.
In Romans Chapter 1, we are told that men "changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man" and they "worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator." Why this perversion of life? Why did man glory in the image of man and fixate on the human form? The answer is found in verse 21: "because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God." It was their failed image of God, their distorted view of Him, which led to their sin. That is the bad news.
The good news is that just as sin can be traced to dishonoring views of God, victory can be built on a biblical view of God. Isaiah's life was literally changed after his vision of God. He became a new man with a new mission. He came under heavy conviction of his sin; he found forgiveness and a new life purpose.
But all this happened after a new revelation of Who God is. "I saw ... the Lord ... high and lifted up ... Then said I, Woe is me ... Then flew one of the seraphims unto me ... and said ... thine iniquity is taken away ... Then said I, Here am I; send me" (Isaiah 6). Isaiah's conviction of his sinfulness came after his new view of God.
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