Toxic Faith
Wednesday, February 2, 2011

 

“Never, Lord!  This shall never happen to you.”  Mt. 16:22

 

A.W. Tozer wrote: “That our idea of God corresponds as nearly as possible to the true being of God is of immense importance to us.”  I believe that, and therefore I believe that the most important work of the devil is to change the way we believe about God.  That is obvious, because indeed that was his first assault against God’s created humans.  He sat about to change the way Eve thought about God.  He convinced her that God was a liar (Did God really say…); an abusive authoritarian (you must not eat. . .); and a ruthless Creator (you will die. . .).  And when he was able to change Eve’s view of God, he was able to change the world.

Don’t believe for a moment that the devil’s work has changed in any way today.  He is just as busy changing the way we view God as ever.  The way we view ourselves, the way we view our responsibilities to family, the way we view our churches, the way we view our power structures, and the way we view the Kingdom of God, are all reflections of the way we view God.  For instance, if you believe you are unworthy, then you are dismissing all the biblical commentary to the contrary.  Christ (God in flesh) considered you worthy enough to die for.  If you believe you have no responsibility to love and cherish your spouse, you have dismissed what God says about hating divorce.  If you believe the most important part of your church is its music, then you clearly don’t understand Christ.  If you believe the role of government is to regulate your life and the life of those around you, to dictate moral values, to pay for those who do not work, to dictate how we spend our money, and most importantly how, where, and when we can worship our God, you clearly don’t understand what God says about the Church.  And if you believe that all things must work out in this world – that all laws, structures, and systems must be geared for earthly perfection, then your understanding of the Kingdom of God is miniscule.  The devil is scoring well in our land today.

 

God said to Isaiah, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways.  As the heavens are higher than the earth, are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”   Peter was caught in the trap of believing man’s thoughts of the Messiah were the correct view of God.  He so strongly believed in his own private image of who Christ should be, he actually reprimanded Christ Himself for having a different view.  And Jesus’ response to him is the basis for what I am trying to say to you today – the basis of A.W. Tozer’s statement.  “Get behind Me, Satan!  You are a stumbling block to Me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”  Eve did not have in mind the things of God, nor did the Israelites to whom Isaiah was prophesying, nor do we today when we reject the God of Scripture in favor of the God of “The View,” or Oprah, or of Glenn Beck.  When we sit blindly and deaf before a pastor who is preaching a view of God that is less than high and exalted; when they preach of a “bellhop” God; a God bound in giving us provisions; a God who is not concerned about the sanctity of human life; the way He cherishes Christian marriage; the way we look and the diets we consume; the money in our purse or the health in our bodies – when those messages shape our thoughts and ideas, then we have lost the biblical view of God and the most important thing in our life has been diminished and so too has life itself.

 

The modern view of God is toxic to our lives, to our families, to our churches, and to our culture.  A watered down God can only diminish every aspect of life.  Peter told Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”  And he was right.  But his definition of what that meant did not serve him in crisis.  Just a few verses later, who Christ is was revealed to Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration.  And when he witnessed Jesus as He truly is, Scripture tells us that Peter was “terrified.”  He was not terrified of a lesser Christ (he reprimanded Him) – but of the real Christ he suffered “hyper-phobia”.  And yet a few verses later, when Jesus explained (yet again) that He must go to Jerusalem to suffer and die and to be raised on the third day, Peter and his cohorts were “filled with grief.”  The focus was on a Christ who died instead of the Christ who would overcome death.  A lesser view of God was devastating then and it is devastating now.

 Christians we must rise up against false teachings and we must stand firm against a culture who tells us of a lesser God.  For as Tozer said, how we view God is of immense importance.  The devil is doing his job, it is time we do ours.

Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455
903-262-5088
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