See God as He Wants to be Seen
- Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2004 4 Nov
How do you see God? Do you envision Him to be a distant being who scowls at your every wrong move? Do you view Him as a nice guy who means well but can’t do much about your problems? While neither perspective accurately portrays God, He does reveal Himself in the Bible. And He longs for you to see Him!
Deep down, we all yearn to be close to God. But since our relationships are formed by our perceptions, we can’t enjoy intimacy with God until we see Him as He really is – the way He longs for us to see Him.
Here’s how you can clear your vision to see God as He wants to be seen:
Set your assumptions aside and seek Him. Let go of your assumptions about what God is like. Realize that God is not like human beings. Stop trying to tame or manage Him to accomplish your purposes; instead, behold how awesome He is and submit to His purposes for you. Keep an open mind for the process of discovering the truth about God. Keep an open heart that is willing to be transformed by what God reveals of Himself to you. Understand that God can only be known as He chooses to reveal Himself. Look for glimpses of God in nature, the Bible, and the life of His Son, Jesus. Realize that you can’t know all of God exhaustively and live, but you can see what He wants you to see with complete accuracy. Understand that God’s revelation to you depends on His relationship to you; if the Holy Spirit resides in you, you’ll see more of God than those who are not connected to Him through Jesus and the Spirit. Decide to seek God passionately. Tell Him that you long to know Him better. Spend time with Him in prayer.
See God’s goodness. Know that God is a generous Father who intends to bless and encourage you because, by His nature, He’s good. Understand that He chooses to bless you not because you deserve it, but because doing so brings Him pleasure. Know that God is on your side. Expect God to be kind, open, friendly, benevolent, sympathetic, and compassionate toward you. Look for glimpses of God’s goodness through the natural blessings He pours into your life (your health, work, relationships, etc.), through specific times when God intervenes to deliver you from a crisis, through Jesus’ sacrificial death that made our salvation possible, through God’s promise to help us in our lives here on earth and in heaven, and through Jesus’ role as creator and mediator between God the Father and His creation. Respond to God’s goodness by repenting of your unbelief and ingratitude, resting in His goodness when you encounter adversity (knowing that all He has allowed to come into your life has come through His benevolent hands for specific purposes), and taking risks to follow where God leads you.
See God’s sovereignty. Meditate on what the Bible says about God’s sovereignty: He is before all things and all things hold together in Him. He created the universe and everything in it. He upholds all things, sustaining them. He is above all things so that people everywhere may know Him. He knows all things. He can do all things. Whatever He plans to do, He accomplishes. He rules over all things; all strength, power and authority are in His hands. Nothing happens outside of His control. He is absolutely free. Know that nothing will ever enter your life that God did not decree or allow. Realize that, if you’re willing to trust Him, He can work anything out for your good. Look for glimpses of God’s sovereignty in His titles (“the Most High,” “the Alpha and the Omega,” etc.), through His promises (which can only be kept by one who is sovereign), through history, through fulfilled prophecy, and through Jesus, the Messiah. Respond to God’s sovereignty as king of the universe by bowing before Him. Acknowledge your sins and give your life over to Jesus. Recognize that every part of your life – your time, your money, your talents, your interests, your relationships, your plans – ultimately belongs to God. Surrender all that you are and all that you have to the one who loves you like no one else can ever love you, and who is in control of the entire universe. Refuse to worry. Instead, believe that God will use everything in your life for your benefit if you trust Him. Praise God for who He is. Worship Him.
See God’s holiness. Realize that God is in a category all by Himself – He is purely love, purely moral, and completely without sin. God’s holiness encompasses and defines all that is pure, whole, righteous, and healthy in the universe. Look for glimpses of God’s holiness through people (Let your own failures and those of others remind you how much we all need God’s love and compassion), through places (such as a beautiful church sanctuary where God has made Himself known), through His laws, the prophets, His wrath and judgment, His Son, and His church. Respond to God’s holiness by committing to live a holy life and devoting the right amount of effort to doing so, using your mind to think thoughts that please God, obeying Him when you make decisions, and rejecting evil without displaying a holier-than-thou attitude toward others. Don’t hold onto secrets or struggle alone. Confess your sins and so you can be healed.
See God’s wisdom. Know that God constantly spreads circumstances around us that work for our present good and everlasting well-being. Understand that God sees everything in focus and in proper relationship to each other. He knows all things about all people, and how they will impact one another throughout time. God works toward His goals with flawless precision. He orchestrates or allows only the best possible results, by the best possible means, to accomplish the highest possible purpose, for the longest time, for the most people in and around your life. Look for glimpses of God’s wisdom in His finely tuned creation, through His ability to work all things together for good, through His redemptive work, and through Jesus. Respond to God’s wisdom by living in reverence for God, regularly reading and studying the Bible, asking Him to guide your decisions, and trusting God enough to follow Him step by step into a future you can’t see (but that He can).
See God’s justice. Understand that God gives people what they truly deserve based on His full and clear understanding of what they did and why they did it. He applies equity to moral situations. Look for glimpses of God’s justice through the natural order of the universe (such as the law of cause and effect), through the human heart (an internal sense of right and wrong and a conscience), through His role as a the ultimate judge of history, through the work He accomplished on the cross, and through the promise of eternal reward or punishment. Respond to God’s justice by embracing Jesus, refusing to seek vengeance on those who have wronged you (trusting God to judge them), taking comfort in God’s justice, and meditating on the effects of God’s final judgment (spiritual reward and loss).
See God’s love. Realize that God loves you personally and specifically. His love is an unconditional gift; you can’t earn it. He doesn’t love you because of what you do, but because of who He is. He loves you enough to discipline you when He sees you suffering because of wrong choices, but He never stops loving you when you make them. God wants the absolute best for you. He stands ready to provide whatever it will take for you to enjoy an abundant life. God’s thoughts, intentions, desires, and plans are always for your good and never for your harm. He is kind, open, approachable, frank, and eager to be your friend. God emotionally identifies with your pain, joy, hopes, and dreams, and has chosen to allow your happiness to affect His own. He takes pleasure in you just for who you are, completely apart from your performance and/or accomplishments. God is actively and creatively orchestrating people, circumstances, and events to express his affection and selective correction for your highest good. Look for glimpses of God’s love in creation, through His providential kindness to everyone, through the Incarnation (God’s love compelled Him to take on human flesh to save us), through discipline (when He protects us from self-destructive behavior), through the Holy Spirit, and through Jesus’ life and work. Respond to God’s love by receiving His love into your heart by faith, trusting in His love and relying on it, and giving it away to others by serving them.
See God’s faithfulness. Rely on the fact that God is trustworthy, dependable, loyal, resolute, steadfast, honorable, and constant. He keeps His promises. His character never changes. Look for glimpses of God’s faithfulness through His creation (physical laws operating with observable regularity and precision), His people (He fulfills His promises to them, performs miracles for them, etc.), His Spirit (as the Spirit produces good fruit in people), His character (He has perfect integrity), His Word (the Bible records His reliable work), His Son’s life, and the way in which He shapes your life (helping you overcome weakness, temptation and failure; forgiving you when you sin). Respond to God’s faithfulness by confessing sins and accepting God’s forgiveness and grace to move into a better future, bringing your problems to Jesus to solve, placing your hope in the One who will never let you down, and telling someone each day how God has been faithful to you so they’ll be motivated to seek Him themselves.
Adapted from God, as He Longs for You to See Him, copyright 2004 by Chip Ingram. Published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.bakerpublishinggroup.com.
Chip Ingram (Th.M., Dallas Theological Seminary) is president and CEO of Walk Thru the Bible in Atlanta, Ga. His popular radio program, Living on the Edge, can be heard on hundreds of stations throughout the United States and on the Internet at www.lote.org. Chip serves as the teaching pastor for “The Bridge” Church in Atlanta. He is also the author of I Am With You Always and Love, Sex, and Lasting Relationships. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four children and two grandchildren.