5 Signs You May Have a Wrong View of God

If the truth sets us free, it's safe to say that a lie holds us back.

If the truth sets us free, then it's safe to say that a lie holds us back. What we believe about the nature of God is of infinite importance. We are either growing in freedom or we are becoming disenfranchised.

There is one foundational truth about God’s nature by which every other aspect of His nature should be measured: God is love (1 John 4:8).

Jesus is the perfect expression of what love looks and sounds like, of what love does. He is perfect theology.

A true view of God will free and empower sons and daughters to live like Jesus. We have been designed and created to know God as love and to be transformed in this truth. But slipping into a false view of God as angry, vengeful, waiting for you to live up to His standards or whatever else can tamper your witness and your personal spiritual life.

A true view of God will free and empower sons and daughters to live like Jesus.

There are many different false ideas we put on God, but here are a few signs that you have a wrong view of God.
 

1. You're Motivated by Shame Instead of Love.

Feelings of shame or condemnation are often the evidence that you believe God’s opinion of you is determined by how much you have pursued Him or, obeyed Him or loved Him.

First, God never communicates using shame or condemnation—those feelings come from elsewhere.

Second, you get no say in how God feels about you. God is love, and His heart toward you is perfectly displayed in the life, death and resurrection of His Son.

Third, “we love because He first loved” (1 John 4:19). Your devotional life is always meant to be a response to your revelation of His love, not motivated out of a fear of His anger or disappointment.

2. You’re Scared of Being ‘Outside’ of God’s Will Instead of Trusting That He's Guiding You.

God’s will isn’t a mystery. It’s not some giant puzzle He’s waiting for us to figure out or forever live outside of what He wants for us.

Being overly worried about figuring out what God wants for our lives betrays a lack of trust that He has a good plan for us, that He is the one in authority and the one ultimately guiding our lives.

If we get too caught up worrying about what we’re supposed to be doing, we may miss what God desires us to see right where we are. Jesus also told us in Luke 12:32, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for the Father has been pleased to give you the Kingdom.” We can pray with confident faith for things that are of the Kingdom of heaven to come on earth and for God to use us in His bigger plan.

3. You Feel a Need to Defend the Gospel Instead of Reveal the Gospel.

There’s nothing wrong with a healthy conversation about faith, but when you feel a need to “defend the faith" at all costs, you have a misunderstanding of Jesus. Jesus didn’t live, die and rise in order to defend a set of ideals, principles or beliefs. He never defended a Gospel, He revealed it.

Jesus had one mandate: reveal His Father. He said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” He said, “I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (John 14: 911).

God doesn’t need to be defended, but He loves to be revealed. To be honest, the best “defense” of the Gospel is sons or daughters living as expressions of love in every aspect of life.

Our main responsibility as a Christians is to reveal love.

4. You Equate Hardship With Holiness.

If you tend to equate pain and suffering with holiness and a Godly life, you have a misunderstanding of God’s heart.

The verse in Matthew 16, “take up your cross and follow me” is certainly an invitation to follow Jesus in every way, and pain and suffering are part of the Christian life, but they’re not the point. In fact, even Jesus’ suffering and death were not the main point—resurrection life was always the destination. “For the joy set before Him he endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2).

“Take up your cross” is not a celebration of suffering with Jesus; it’s an invitation to live in the power of the resurrection. Yes, sacrifice is a part of the journey, but suffering is not the high road to holiness. A Godly life is about living in the joy and power of resurrection life.
 

5. You're Trying Harder Instead of Being Transformed.

Jesus didn’t live, die and live again so you could try harder. He overcame in every way so you could be transformed.

Jesus didn’t live, die and live again so you could try harder. He overcame in every way so you could be transformed.

Feelings of spiritual inadequacy are often the evidence that you may have a misunderstanding of His perfect love.

Jesus lived 30 years without doing any miracles. Then, after He was baptized, His Father declared, “This is my Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased” (Matt 3:17). It begs the question, what was the Father pleased about? Jesus hadn’t done anything yet.

It was the Father’s pleasure that empowered Jesus to do all the things He is famous for.

Discipline and principles are important, but the Christian faith was never meant to be about “trying harder,” it’s about becoming sure in God’s love. Only through the discovery of God’s love and pleasure are you empowered to do the “greater works” Jesus promised and the pastor is preaching about.

58 Comments

Joseph Horta

24

Joseph Horta commented…

I don't mean to sound harsh to the author of this article but please allow me to challenge the first conclusion "If the truth sets us free, it's safe to say that a lie holds us back." No. It is not safe to say that because that statement takes what Jesus said totally out of context to make a point that may indeed be lacking truth.

What does Jesus actually say? He is the Truth and he defeated sin and death and that includes the lies of men. What is the context of what Jesus said? Is it that we can manufacture a principle that if truth sets us free a lie can counter that and take our freedom? No. We were once slaves to our sinful condition in death but are set free from sin and death in Jesus "and he whom the son sets free is free indeed." The Way of Truth is continually setting us free from our nature of death by giving us Life, revealing the Father to us by his Spirit in us and us in Him.

Apologetics (a function of the Church) or the defending of the faith, or the contending for the faith IS sharing the Gospel NOT the defending of the Gospel. There is this false presumption that debate, reason and preaching is self indulgent. But actually thinking we can somehow not open our mouths to defend with the Gospel our faith is the self-indulgent character of this current generation so afraid of offending. The struggle is part and parcel with our faith. It teaches us the value of faith in God's will that definitively offends a world enslaved by sin. Now if you think Jesus never offended his enemies and friends then I don't know which Jesus you are following, but yes we are to follow Jesus and just as much as he said to love, which is of utmost importance he many times defended with truth.

hai ninh Nguyen

1

hai ninh Nguyen commented…

“Take up your cross” is not a celebration of suffering with Jesus; it’s an invitation to live in the power of the resurrection. Yes, sacrifice is a part of the journey, but suffering is not the high road to holiness. A Godly life is about living in the joy and power of resurrection life."
yes i am

Daniel T Shumaker

1

Daniel T Shumaker commented…

Very well written, expressed - and theologically correct. I, too, a recovering fundamentalist Pharisee, used to have a schizophrenic view of God. He was both an austere, aloof Father on the one hand who was just itching to crack me over the knuckles when I messed up, and on the other, a really nice but ineffectual guy who'd give a smiling shrug when hard times came. Like the mythological Janus, He was an aloof observer and superintendent of war and peace, with a dual personality.

But when the Apostle John said that God is love, he was also saying that love is what God is. God establishes love as a truth, a concept that is defined by what He is, how He is, what He's like.

He is not, as I believed, balancing Himself on the fulcrum of a see-saw, with love on one end and justice on the other, willfully tipping it to one side or the other in reaction to our actions or events, sometimes loving and sometimes judgmental. No, He is always loving. Even when He punishes the guilty, He is being loving - to the victims of guilty deeds and to the guilty, who have victimized themselves and His image in the process. Even when He allows the consequences of sin to impact subsequent generations, He is lovingly respecting the ability to choose with which He entrusted us. Whether we choose for Him or against Him, He knows that the love and obedience He desires so much for us to give Him must be freely given - as His love is to us - or it is compulsion and not love. And He values a free gift of love from us to Him so much that He is willing to risk our rejection of Him and all its terrible consequences, to ourselves and others.

So God is love; and love is what God is, how He behaves, what He's like - Who He is.

David Thorne

33

David Thorne replied to Daniel T Shumaker's comment

It's funny because if we say God's like a loving father it messes people up because of their own dads. But, if we think of God like a loving dog owner...people will buy that- because no one's mean to their dog. And people get that a dog owner loves their dog even when the dog is dumb! Just a thought. Www.refuelblog.com

Martin Cogburn

10

Martin Cogburn commented…

I've been guilty of # 3 many times. People can get downright angry when "defending" the gospel... which means they certainly aren't "living" it. For more info on simple steps to impact the culture check out "Straight Impact Introduction" @ www.straightimpact.org

Helen Birkbeck

1

Helen Birkbeck commented…

This is an excellent article, on a subject I have been struggling with for years, after starting life in a church that viewed God more as a sort of cosmic head teacher out to correct us than as a loving creator and father, and having had parents who judged me by what I did rather than who I was.

Ayana Taplin

8

Ayana Taplin replied to Helen Birkbeck's comment

I feel your pain. I too struggle with this even though I am now apart of a church with a more biblical view of God.

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