Why What We Believe About God Matters

What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.  A.W. Tozer  This statement is so true!  We need to KNOW who God is if we are to go through life with heart.  We can know something to be true in our heads, but not live out of that reality.  Our heart is central to who we are, the deepest part of us and the part we hide from even ourselves sometimes.  People hide behind all kinds of things like good works, busyness, ministry, family, work, addictions, rejection, being hyper careful with appearance, letting themselves go, being with friends all the time, always being alone and in many other ways.  We have become masters at hiding our hearts and I daresay that many of us actually have no idea what is going on deep inside.  We can waste away alone time on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and any number of things.  When you are alone for a while, your heart starts making it’s appearance, which is why I believe many people hate to be alone so much. The reason our brokeness shows up in sin habits that we can’t break, anger we can’t control or fears that we can’t get away from along with many other things is because we are trying to put the bandaid of ‘works’ on heart issues that God wants to heal.  So often we want to work our way out of heart issues that need healing instead of letting God go deeper. The problem is often that we don’t allow God to go deeper because we simply don’t trust Him.

The power of the Cross comes into play here through repentance which brings healing and wholeness which leads to holiness, but that’s a whole blog in itself.  Anyway, Jesus called the Pharisees who lived out of head knowledge “whitewashed tombs.”(Matthew 23:27) Aren’t a lot of our issues the result of inner workings in our hearts rather than truth?  We try to live whole, but the whole while we are broken. What about when someone says something minorly offensive and we are hurt deeply?  What about those nagging thoughts that we just can’t get out from under?  We’re too much, we’re not enough etc. etc. etc. Our hearts are where our true belief systems lie.

Some of us ‘know’ so much truth but our hearts have been left untouched, or if they have been touched, we move along and before long we find ourselves stuck once again.  Right answers are great – especially on things like math tests, but God isn’t looking for right answers.  He’s looking for our heart.  What if God actually does have something more?  I believe He does.  What if His intentions towards us are good and what if He really is fighting for our freedom?  Last year, I stepped out of a lot of the things I was doing because I sensed that the Lord was wanting to do a deep work in my heart.  There were some things that I just couldn’t get around and I needed some healing in different areas.  He has brought so much freedom for me and mainly because He has shown me His heart for me.  The events of my life interpreted through the God I have found Him to be, look much different to me than just a year ago.  I had some deep-seated heart beliefs about God that I didn’t even know I had that He wanted to get rid of.  When we have a wrong view of God, we will interpret the events of our life incorrectly.

I am super a little bit claustrophobic.  I’m not a big fan of elevators and I attribute that to a deadly minor situation that I found myself in at Nebraska Furniture Mart when I was about 4 years old.  My mom and I took the elevator to get to a different floor (obviously) and it got stuck.  I remember wondering if I was ever going to get out and when the doors finally opened, all I saw were feet.  Unfortunately, we were between floors. In my small four year old thoughts, I felt that we were lost in space.  In my mind, this was definitely a cataclysmic exciting experience.  You see, I was a really dramatic calm child.  We were in the elevator for about 20 hours minutes and I was famished a little hungry from lack of snacks (you know how four year olds are with snacks).  Now rationally, I think know that that is very rare.  At least I think it is, but I don’t really know because I don’t go around talking to people about elevators or if they enjoy riding in them. Anyway, my point is that we can know something to be true but not live out of that truth.  I mean, clearly I am not still in the elevator 34 years later at NFM so I don’t need to be even a little bit concerned that the doors will shut and that will be the end, but I still don’t really like elevators and prefer stairs.  Sometimes we have experienced in our heart something seemingly opposite of what we ‘know’ to be true.  This is where sometimes there is a fracture between what we know in our heads and we know in our heart.  My four year old mind did not have the maturity of an adult to see that this situation was more funny than scary and more inconvenience than catastrophe.  I interpreted the event incorrectly.

So it is with us and our relationship with God.  Sometimes what we know to be true about God doesn’t match up with how our life is looking.  We interpret the events of our lives incorrectly because we do not understand who God truly is and His intentions towards us. We don’t want to deal with the confusion, hurt or disappointment, so instead we pull ourselves up, get rid of our heart as best we can and keep going with all of the head knowledge and no heart or at least as little of it as possible.  Disappointment and disillusionment are two names we give this loss of heart.  We ‘know’ that He is good, but what about when I lose a child, when I experience a job loss, am diagnosed with a disease, my loved one is diagnosed with a disease, my child makes poor decisions, I lose my marriage, my marriage is in tact, but it is loveless, my husband works too much, my husband doesn’t work enough, my church breaks apart, my pastor falls, I have to leave the mission field, my ministry failed, or sometimes even worse is ‘Everything is fine, but I am not. My heart is a mess and I just can’t figure it out.’  What then?  We know that He is loving, but we just can’t see it and so we try harder and even read verses about loving God more, but it’s just not working.  We interpret the event incorrectly and make incorrect assumptions about God.  God can’t really be trusted. He is holding out on me.  He’s always ready to ‘teach me a lesson.’ He doesn’t truly care about me.  He’ll be happy with me when…  He cares about the world as a whole, but not my life personally. The list goes on and on and on. We would never say it, but we believe it in our core.

It is at these junctures that so often, we either give up, decide to try harder or hopefully let God show us His heart.  So often, we close a little part of our heart off and carry on.  We have made decisions about God and our relationship with Him turns more about working harder than loving Him.  What if at the very root of all of this, is that our heart is not truly believing what our head knows?  This is not an invitation to try and make your heart believe.  Instead, get alone with God and talk to Him about where you REALLY are.  He’s not confused, frusterated or surprised by it like you may be.  If there is one thing I have learned about God, it’s that He knows how to free us.  Not only that, but He is fighting for our freedom! Believe me, my heart was gated and the key was thrown away.  What I found was that I couldn’t feel deeply, I had lost passion and I was stuck.

Obviously, there are so many things in our life that can cause the fracture between head and heart, but I believe that God wants to bring into clearer focus who He really is and who we are to Him.  So often we forget that we have an enemy who loves to distort.  He fears that we would see how great God is and that we would see what we mean to God.  If the enemy can alter our view of God or even alter what we believe God thinks about us, we are wide open to his temptations and ultimately losing heart.  Eve sinned because the serpent altered her view of God.  In Genesis 3:3b-5 God has said, “You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.” and the serpent said to the woman, “You surely shall not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God knowing good and evil.”  The command was given with the motive of protection, but the serpent questioned God’s motive and restated it with the lie that God was keeping something from her.  The enemy would love to alter our view of God just a bit.  He’s smart enough to not say the opposite a lot of times, but he will try to alter our view – just enough to cause us to lose heart and not trust who God is or His intentions towards us.

The good news is that God is who He is, it is our view of Him that can be distorted.  Our view of Him doesn’t change who He is.  He is not up for our interpretation.  In Exodus 3:14, He says, “I Am Who I Am.”  In this relative truth culture, we sometimes believe we can make God into who we ‘believe’ Him to be or want Him to be, but our belief about Him doesn’t change who He is.

Let’s ask Him to give us eyes to see who He is and His heart for us!

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