What Kind of Savior?

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What does your idea of God look like? How does it shape the way you have built your relationship with Jesus?

It all depends on where you think you are right now.

  • Are you sinking in a leaky boat?
  • Are you sailing around the bright blue sea in cruise ship?

Our perspective – definition of the situation – will always shape the way we approach God. Recent research revealed that Americans can be divided into four different broad categories based on their description of the God they believe:

  1. A benevolent God who is active in our lives in a positive way
  2. An authoritarian God is active in the world and our lives and is angry, handing out punishment
  3. A critical God who is not really active in the world but will in the afterlife hand out punishments
  4. A distant God who is a cosmic force and does not really hold opinions about human actions

All living in the same country, reading the same Bible, yet having developed very different ideas about who God is. Hard to imagine, huh?

“You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” ― Anne Lamott

How do your current circumstances shape your perspective about God? What kind of Savior are you praying to each day? Someone who needs to help you with your dinner reservation on that cruise ship?  Or maybe you are in desperate need of someone to help you plug up all the holes in your life raft?

Is God here for you? Or are you here for God?

When you are trying to figure out who God is – the best place to look is at Jesus. Go to the Gospels and read what he said and look at what he did.  I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me. If you have trouble believing based on My words, believe because of the things I have done. – John 14:11 (The Voice)

When you are trying to figure out who God is…

  1. Don’t let your personal circumstances dominate your definition of God
  2. Think about how the society around you has shaped your perspective about God
  3. Listen to the way people you trust talk about God, really listen
  4. It never hurts to open your heart and mind and learn more about God – He’s too much to easily explain

For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life.  Here’s the point. God didn’t send His Son into the world to judge it; instead, He is here to rescue a world headed toward certain destruction. (John 3:16-17, The Voice)

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Momentary, Light Affliction

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So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. – 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NLT)

The Apostle Paul certainly knew about suffering. He had been beaten, stoned, imprisoned, shipwrecked and starved. He had friends abandon him and spent the last years of his life on a perpetual journey and finally in prison. He knew trouble’s first and middle name.

When people are sick or taking care of sick people – they can get absorbed in the situation. Surely this is a survival mechanism that helps people in crisis make it from day to day. But Paul reminds us that despite the urgent crisis that inevitably hits, there is so much more to center our souls upon. There are things that will last forever, things to come that we will be a part of and will be a part of us. How are you doing at “fixing your gaze” on what really matters?

Preliminary to any self-determined act of behavior there is always a stage of examination and deliberation which we may call the definition of the situation. And actually not only concrete acts are dependent on the definition of the situation, but gradually a whole life-policy and the personality of the individual himself follow from a series of such definitions. – W.I. Thomas

How are you defining your situation? Is the suffering you are experiencing the whole ball of wax? Is there more to your life, to your suffering, than just right now? Do you need to get some people around you who will help remind you of what’s going away and what’s lasting forever?

Remember, every single day of your life, there are people that cross your path who are suffering in their own private ways. What can you do to be a lighthouse, a little bit of salt, a reminder to look up and watch what you believe?

“If I paint a wild horse, you might not see the horse… but surely you will see the wildness!”
― Pablo Picasso