If you were to take out a piece of paper and jot down a summary of thoughts you have had in the past 24 hours, what would you see? Now focus for a minute on your thoughts about God, how do you view Him?
In a previous post, I shared about the Triangle of Transformation. This is a simple illustration to help us understand a pathway to experience a closer intimacy with God. The first side of the triangle is “adopting Jesus narratives”. This step can help us reorient our thinking from darkness to light, from fear to love.
According to a study in 2005 from the National Science Foundation, an average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are repetitive thoughts!
Baylor University conducted a study asking participants for their view of God. 78% said God was either authoritative, critical, or distant.
If this is our view of God, how do we think God views us? Is He disappointed, angry, disinterested?
“If we can’t see ourselves as God does, it’s difficult to see Him for who he is.” Kenneth Boa (Life in the Presence of God).
The bottom line is we all have false narratives of varying degrees of who God is and have believed lies of the enemy which keep us from experiencing the love of God.
In his book The Good and Beautiful God, James Bryant Smith discusses several attributes of God as described and experienced by Jesus. As we think and meditate on these attributes, it helps us see who God really is. This is by no means an exhaustive list but fixing our minds on these attributes can help us reverse the negative narratives we have to see who God really is.
God is Good
This can be a challenge when we see injustice and pain in the world, but circumstances do not change who God is. He is good. In Matt 19:17, Jesus responds that “there is only One who is good.” God is good.
God is Trustworthy
God would never do anything to harm us. Jesus chose to trust God and obey in His darkest moment in Gethsemane. Because He is good, we can trust Him.
God is Generous
“Jesus reveals a God who does not demand, but who gives; who does not oppress but who raises up; who does not wound but heals; who does not condemn but forgives.” Brenden Manning
God is Love
Bank on it. God is love.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
God is Holy
Holiness is crucial to appreciate. If we do not have a holy God, what happens to darkness and evil? Amid a fallen world, we can find comfort in God’s holiness.
“God cares deeply about sin because it destroys his precious children. And God longs for holiness in us because it is the way to wholeness.” James Bryant Smith
God is Self-sacrificing
Do you wonder if God really loves you? This is a good attribute to savor. Sacrificing means to give up yourself for someone else without expecting anything in return. John 1 tells us Jesus was in the world, but the world did not know him. His own people did not accept Him. He knew this but gave of Himself anyway. He gave His life so we have an opportunity to experience redemption and new life. Does God really love me? What more could He do?
“The process of spiritual formation in Christ is one of progressively replacing . . . destructive images and ideas with the images and ideas that filled the mind of Jesus himself. . . . Spiritual formation in Christ moves toward a total interchange of our ideas and images for his.” Dallas Willard
Be patient. These false narratives don’t die easily. The study referenced about highlights our natural propensity to think negatively. However, when we are armed with the truth, God begins the work of transforming our minds so that our thoughts are more like His. Take some time today and rest in these attributes of God. As you do, may you experience a sense of the “peace that passes all understanding.”