Sometimes, spiritual leaders have to help those they lead begin to think differently about God.
Many of our people we lead were raised in homes with harsh, critical, and demanding moms and dads. Or they were brought up in churches that were legalistic, ritualistic, and judgemental. (Maybe that describes you!)
Our view of God can be faulty. Unworthy. Ugly, even. As a result, we just can't seem to think of ourselves as Beloved Children. Why? We don't see God as a Beloved Father.
If we want to know what God is like, we must look at Jesus. He's the One who says, "I and the Father are one." "If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father." He is the Image of the Invisible God.
Now, who is the real Jesus?
He's not the Jesus who's demanding, the Jesus who is ususally disgusted with us, the Jesus who plays favorites.
He's not the Jesus who's always asking for more, the Jesus who's never satisfied, the Jesus who's asking us to jump through harder hoops for Him.
He's not the Jesus who is always slightly ticked at us, the Jesus who doesn't accept us just as we are, the Jesus who's a giant policeman in the sky just waiting to crack down on us when we step out of line.
That's not the Jesus of the Bible.
The real Jesus is the One who says to a thief and a murderer, "Today you will be with me in paradise,” the One who says to an adulterous woman, "Where are your accusers? I don't condemn you, go and sin no more," the One who says "I love you so much that I will die in your place for your sin so you can be forgiven."
The real Jesus is the One who longs to be with us, the One who loves to sing and dance over us, the One who has us as the apple of His eye.
The real Jesus is the One who's proud of us as His Beloved brothers and sisters, the One who longs to spend time with us, the One who adores us, the One who lifts up the light of His countenance on us, the One whose face shines on us, the One who delights to favor us, the One whose lovingkindness and mercy follows us all the days of our lives.
The real Jesus is the One who died on the cross, who rose from the dead, and who ascended into heaven and sent His Spirit to live in us because He wants unbroken fellowship with us.
The real Jesus is the One who invites us to join Him as partners in His mission to restore the broken, the One who can't wait to our voices in the morning, the One who says "Follow Me into meaning, purpose, forgiveness, and hope beyond your wildest dreams."
That's our Jesus. That's our God.
Who wouldn't want to connect with this Person as much as possible? Who wouldn't want to invite as many people as possible to experience new life with this Jesus?
One reason we feel so unloved, unempowered, and uncelebrated is because we have such unworthy views of Christ.
He is the most amazing, most mysterious, most awesome, most holy, most loving, most forgiving, most empowering Person in the universe.
Questions: How has your upbringing caused you to have faulty views of God. What needs to change?