One of the funniest TV shows on these days is “Little Big Shots,” which features kids showing off their amazing skills. But that isn’t my favorite part. I enjoy listening to them talk. Kids have a particular view of life that can be so funny.
Kids have a particular view of God, too. Here’s how a few kids answered the question, “What is God like?”
“God has big hands because the song says, ‘He’s got the whole world in his hands.’” – Kalen, age 9.
“God doesn’t have a house. He doesn’t need one except on Sundays ‘cause that’s when he needs to rest.” – Ethan, 8.
“My mom talks to God when we need more money.” – Manny, 6.
Kids aren’t the only ones with a less than accurate picture of God. Many adults have a wrong impression of who and what God is, too. Here are three wrong impressions that I run into on occasion.
1. God is like human beings
You’d be surprised at how many people believe this about God. It’s so easy to think this way, because humans are about the only reference point we have to interpret who and what God is.
But it’s a mistake to think of God as being anything like a human, and God is different from us in many important ways. God has supernatural abilities that set Him apart. God is eternal- He always was, and He always will be. He is both everywhere and in one place at any given time. He can see the future and knows what will happen before it happens. He never changes- His personality, His values, and His love remain constant and true regardless of anything else. This truth that God is nothing like us has many life-changing ramifications for you and I, and I challenge you to consider what this means in your life.
2. My life’s circumstances indicate how much God loves me
I see this all the time. People judge the intensity or truth of God’s love for them by what’s going on in their lives at any given moment. Got a raise at work? Hey, God must love me today. Got a date with that hot guy you met last week? I must be doing something right. And on the flip side is this: Lost your job? God must be unhappy with you. Lose someone you love? God must hate you.
Your circumstances are not a good indicator of whether or not God loves you. Circumstances are simply the results of the choices you make or the random occurrences of your life as you interact with others. There is a much better way of gauging God’s love for you than circumstances. It’s two verses found in the Bible:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17)
3. God wants me to be happy
This is a shock to most people, because in today’s culture of autonomy and individualism, God is often thought of as a genie whose purpose is to make us happy and give us what we want. Too many prayers have simply become wish lists: God, give me a good job, more money, a bigger boat, a happy marriage, and I’ll follow you.
But here’s the truth: God’s greatest desire for us isn’t to be happy. It’s to be holy. I’m not saying that God isn’t interested in our well being, because He certainly is. But more than anything, God wants to change us into the men and women He created us to be. We were designed to be in a close personal relationship with Him. We were made to serve Him, to adopt His moral and ethical standards as our own, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. The broken nature that we inherited has ruined all that, and God’s number one priority is to restore us spiritually. That’s it. God wants us to be whole and holy much more than He wants to see us spoiled and happy.
Earlier this year, my good friend vacationed in a place described as “the undiscovered treasure of Europe.” I believe there is a hidden treasure in our world that needs to be discovered: the treasure of who God really is. I hope these thoughts will tempt you to lay aside your pre-conceived notions of who you think God is and find out for yourself who God really is. That discovery fundamentally changed my life. I promise that it will change yours too.