Many of us live under the tyranny of a god we’ve created in our own image, a god who is cruel, punishing, aloof or uncaring. How do we unseat this false god and let God’s true character be our master?
Our distorted image of God begins to change when we admit our fear, even hatred of this made-up being we’ve named God.
We’ve kept ourselves distant from God because we believed God was not trustworthy, or interested, or whatever. The Psalmist says, “God desires truth in the inner being.” Authentically voicing the reasons for our distance is valid prayer. Even if the emotional tone of your prayer is angry or accusing, you are bringing your truth into the presence of the God of Truth who has invited you, who wants you to be honest with him.
“God I don’t trust you because I believe you are mean. I’ve experienced enough meanness in my life. I’m not going to let you close enough to me to hurt me too.”
Ask God to replace your gut god image with a biblical and corrective one. Cooperate with this request by getting into the scriptures with an open mind. Forget everything you’ve learned about God and let the word speak for itself. Do a word study on the attributes of God. If your god is aloof, meditate on God’s nearness. Uncaring? Look for the pictures of God as compassionate. Memorize the passages that capture the heart of the true God.
Consider common relationships as a means to correct your image of God. Think about the ways a perfect parent respond to a hurt child; the way lovers greet one another; the way friends esteem each other. We are created in God’s image and we are loving, kind and respectful. If we, imperfect creatures that we are do these things, the perfect God must do them even better.
Use your prayerful imagination to invite the true God into the wounded places where a false god has set up shop.
Our head knows God is good. Our gut, where our feelings live, isn’t quite convinced. This can be addressed by praying the scriptures with our imagination. Putting ourselves into the scripture.
Be Zaccheus in the tree…what do you feel up there? Why are you up there? How do you feel about the crowds below you? What do they think about you? What is it like for you when Jesus stops and looks up into your face? When Jesus wants to come home with you, how do you respond?
Let your spirit guided imagination take you to the places the Lord wants to touch, heal and correct.
Remind yourself of what your head does know…God is on your side. Literally speak to the gut god who subtly demands your obedience. “No. God is for me, I am God’s beloved child, God is pleased with me. I will listen to this God.”
Be patient. These distortions are deeply rooted; deep healing will be take time. But remember God is not slow, God is thorough.
With you on the journey,
This is part of a series of posts, The NEW Old. We’re exploring the old familiar things of the spiritual life that God wants to make new. The series begins here. Please join us. When you subscribe to my blog you’ll be notified by email when a new installment is posted.