How do you see God? As judge? Police chief? Santa Claus? Genie in a bottle? Loving? Cruel? Distant? Available? Smiling? Angry? Irrelevant? Powerless? Be honest. How do you really see God in your mind?
How we see God may be one of the most important decisions we’ll ever make. When we’re first confronted with this question as adults, our picture of God will always emanate from our subconscious early childhood experience with our father or a father-figure. With so few dads resembling Jesus in what they do and say, it’s no surprise that few of us have a good and accurate picture of God. We piece together an idea of Him based on the prayers He didn’t answer, the tragedy He allowed in the life of someone we care about, the opinions of our friends, the celebrities we admire and maybe a little bit of Scripture (if we were taken to church). Never intending to, we create a patchwork picture of God that may have little resemblance to the one true God.
Yet how we view God has a lot to do with whether we feel loved or not, whether we care for others or not, whether we turn to God often or just in a crisis, and even whether we want God in our lives . . . or not. We all need a true picture of God, but most of us just have random pieces of the puzzle floated into our lives from different people and events.
We need to look no further than Jesus to get our answer. He defined God as “Father.” A perfect Father. Not the one we had, not our friend’s father we always wished we’d had. A totally perfect Dad. So, what might that look like? A father who listens to you, engages with your life, knows your heart and your heart’s desire. You always know he loves you . . . that he’s crazy about you. He never gets mad at you, never sulks nor pouts to teach you lessons. He’s a father who is always available, who’s never in a hurry, who doesn’t bail on you . . . ever. A father who has no ego that needs feeding, no ‘skeletons’ to hide, nothing to prove and nothing to fear. You know he has other children but he makes you feel like you’re the only one. He says both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ when you ask for things, but over time you come to see that his ‘no’s’ were the right answers for the right reasons at the right time.
God is our father. He created us. Jesus told us to think of Him, love Him, respect Him and pray to Him as Father. He said, “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father . . .’” When I grasped God as my perfect Father and engaged with His forgiving, unconditional love, it changed my life forever. I’ve yet to meet an all-in Jesus-follower who wasn’t fueled by gratitude for the love of their Heavenly Father.
Scripture: And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? (Hebrews 12:5-7)
Mentor Tip: In your mentoring season, you’ll read and ‘net out’ some great books. But if I could net out the life change I’ve seen in guys I’ve mentored, it’s all come from grasping God’s love for them. Free from having to perform to get outcomes, a man can blossom in God’s grace for him and give that Grace to his wife, kids, co-workers and even total strangers.
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