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What Is Your God Like?

the-gargoyle.jpgThis may strike you as a strange question, but every one of us has a decidedly personal concept of God, a blend of what we’ve heard, what we’ve been taught, what we’ve researched in our personal devotions…plus our own feelings, emotions, impressions and desires.

Those of you who have suffered through classes on world religion in high school or college classes have seen many interesting concepts and pictures of God held by individuals and cultures from the past and present. From dragons, gargoyles and hideous creatures to beautiful forms that appeal to the eye, God has been represented in every imaginable way. The attributes and personalities of deity have also taken many forms. He has been seen as loving, hateful, cruel, soft, aloof, diabolical, devious, perfect, flawed, weak, strong…on and on the list goes.

Paul captures some of these ideas in writing to the Romans, a culture saturated with pagan religion and idolatry.

20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. Roman 1:20-25

Man continually re-makes God into an image like corruptible man or other beings. While people who hold to the Judeo-Christian understanding of God may reject such far-out views, we still tend to think of God in a way that confirms our own thinking or desires.

Here is a list of images some people cast God into:

  • Agent:  Sees things from my perspective.
  • Banker:  Provides finances for me whenever I need money.
  • Bell Hop:  Carries my baggage.
  • Bodyguard:  Won’t let anybody hurt me.
  • Coach:  Gives me pointers on how to live my life.
  • Co-conspirator:  Helps me carry out my plans.
  • Congressman:  Makes new laws just for me.
  • Custodian:  Cleans up after me.
  • Doctor:  Diagnoses my every problem.
  • Judge:  Interested only in right and wrong.
  • Lawyer:  Constantly looks at the fine print.
  • Mechanic:  Fixes things for me.
  • Nurse:  Makes me feel better.
  • Personal Chef:  Prepares foods I like.
  • Personal Valet:  Always makes me look good.
  • Policeman:  Always ready to enforce the law.
  • Press Secretary:  Always spins the story in my favor.
  • Referee:  Makes sure I play fair.
  • Scorekeeper:  Keeps a record of my actions.
  • Sympathizer:  Affirms my feelings regardless of what they are.
  • Teammate:  Works with me and helps me out.
  • Water Boy:  Attends to my smallest needs.

The problem with re-making God into our image:

a.  We become the main character in the drama of redemption.

Isaiah 44:15-20 speaks about a man who cuts down a tree. He says,

15 Then it shall be for a man to burn, For he will take some of it and warm himself; Yes, he kindles it and bakes bread; Indeed he makes a god and worships it; He makes it a carved image, and falls down to it.  16 He burns half of it in the fire; With this half he eats meat; He roasts a roast, and is satisfied.  He even warms himself and says, “Ah! I am warm, I have seen the fire.”  17 And the rest of it he makes into a god, His carved image.  He falls down before it and worships it, Prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”  18 They do not know nor understand; For He has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, And their hearts, so that they cannot understand.  19 And no one considers in his heart, Nor is there knowledge nor understanding to say, “I have burned half of it in the fire, Yes, I have also baked bread on its coals; I have roasted meat and eaten it; And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?”   20 He feeds on ashes; A deceived heart has turned him aside; And he cannot deliver his soul, Nor say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”   NKJV

But in Colossians 1:15-19, the Apostle Paul writes, ”He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. 19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell.”  NKJV

b.  We end up with a false God. (Hosea 13:1-2)

When Ephraim spoke, trembling, He exalted himself in Israel; But when he offended through Baal worship, he died.  2 Now they sin more and more, And have made for themselves molded images, Idols of their silver, according to their skill; All of it is the work of craftsmen.  They say of them, “Let the men who sacrifice kiss the calves!”   NKJV

c.  We live our lives under false pretenses. (Esther 4:13; Romans 2:1-3)

2:1 Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. 2 But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. 3 And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?   NKJV

The truth is that we were originally created in God’s image. (Genesis 1:26-27)

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. NKJV

  • He has primacy over all. (Revelation 1:8-18)
  • He has ownership. (Psalm 100:3)
  • He gives direction to us. (Proverbs 3:6; Jeremiah 10:23)

The real challenge is letting God re-make us into his image.

There are three operative words here: Become, Grow and Change.


John 1:12-13  “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  NKJV


Ephesians 4:15 “But, speaking the truth in love, [we] may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— “  NKJV

1 Peter 2:2 “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.”  NKJV


2 Corinthians 3:18  “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. “  NKJV

Why is the process of change into the image of God so hard for us?

  • It goes against the way we were raised.
  • Prejudice, Anger, Superiority, Entitlement, Victim mentality, Fear.
  • A past religion or teaching we received.
  • Easy believism, ecumenism, humanism, legalism, self-reliance.
  • We don’t want to lose any advantage we may have. When we have lived our lives investing in our identity and establishing our persona, the thought of walking away from it seems to make us a non-person.
  • It’s a scary proposition to re-define ourselves.
  • We don’t want to lose face.
  • It will cost us money, possessions, independence.
  • It may be painful.
  • It seems unfair.
  • We don’t know what the end result will be.
  • Yet, regardless of the difficulty of the change, discipleship demands this precise transformation.

What does God need from us in order to re-make us into his image?

A willing an pliable heart.

  • Jer 18:3-4 “Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.  4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.”  KJV
  • Romans 9:20-22 “But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?”  NKJV

Humility. 1 Peter 5:5

Teachable spirit. 2 Timothy 2:2

Submission. James 4:7

What methods will God use to re-make us into his image?

Examination and trial.

Psalm 26:2  “Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my mind and my heart.”  NKJV


2 Corinthians 4:17  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. NKJV

Fire. 1 Corinthians 3:13; 1 Peter 4:12.

Preaching. 1 Corinthians 1:18

Discipline. 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15

Buffeting. 1 Corinthians 4:11;

1 Cor 4:11-13  “To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. 12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now. “  NKJV

What is God’s purpose in re-making us into his image?

Mark 12:15-17 “Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?” But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why do you test Me? Bring Me a denarius that I may see it.” 16 So they brought it. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” And they said to Him, “Caesar’s.” 17 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at Him.” NKJV

In the end of all time, when the church lives in eternity with her bridegroom, God intends to fashion us into his image.

1 John 3:1-3 “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” NKJV

I know what the God of the Bible is like.  He is a God of love and forgiveness.  He is a God of might and power.  He is a God who takes a personal interest in me.  He is a God who has a beautiful plan for my life.  I can believe in a God like that.  If your God doesn’t resemble the God of the Bible, it’s time to make a change.

Micah 7:18  ”Who is a God like You, Pardoning iniquity And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?  He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy.   NKJV

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