I AM — the post that started it all

Once upon a time…

…I used to not blog. Hard to believe, isn’t it?

But on March 19th, 2009, I wrote my first post in a facebook note. It got 10 comments and I had never been so excited in my life as when I realized God had given me a talent and a passion for writing. It was like scrapbooking my thoughts, finding the perfect angle and just the right synonym and alliteration to make my point hit home.

And since then… well, you know the rest of the story. 100 posts later, here’s a tribute to my very first. Cheers.

One of the biggest problems in the church today is the misrepresentation of God. The “god concept” is viewed many different ways by many different people, but very few actually know God as the unalterable, powerful King of the universe that He claims to be. In the book of Exodus, we read about Moses questioning God’s identity. God responded with the ultimate and definitive statement, “I AM.” God is defined by who He is, not by what we want Him to be.

The “God is my homeboy” mentality is prevalent in youth groups. Some youth leaders, if unwittingly, encourage this misunderstanding by asking such questions as, “How do you view God?” or “What is God to you?” God should not be different things to different people; He is the same, yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). But when urged to decide what God means to them, a surprising number of Christian teenagers will respond with something like, “Me and God are homies!” Yes, that’s right — homies.

If two people consider themselves to be “homies,” the implication is that they are peers. They are equals. The idea of being equal with God is unmistakably refuted in the book of Isaiah the prophet: “‘To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?’ says the Holy One” (Isaiah 40:25). It is a degradation of the supremacy of God to call Him your “homeboy,” thereby bringing him down to your level.

Another definition linked to the word “homeboy” is that of a casual buddy with whom to joke around and hang out. Does that description leave room for the holy fear of, and respect for, God? Hebrews 10:31 tells us that “it is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” If the youth in the church studied their Bibles and paid attention to verses like these, they might not be so inclined to label God their “homeboy.”

The “Santa Claus god” concept is possibly the most widespread of erroneous beliefs, and probably the most difficult to detect. God is viewed as a kind, benevolent man with a big bag of blessings, which are waiting to be poured down our chimney. If we have been good all year, he owes it to us to give us whatever we want. But that is not how God works. We deserve nothing that He offers us, and it is purely out of human selfishness that people choose to depict God this way. They set up expectations for things that God never guaranteed, and then they are disappointed and even angry when things do not go their way.

There are subtle forms of this mindset that many people do not even notice, but they are detrimental nonetheless. What about telling people that they will be happier if they follow God? If they become Christians so that they can be happy, they have been misled. Jesus warned his disciples, “All men will hate you because of me” (Matthew 10:22). Does that sound happy? The people to whom the Christian life is misrepresented are likely to fall away when they find their expectations unmet. A few weeks ago, I was talking to a girl named Nicole, who cited as her reason for the leaving the church, “I wasn’t happy.” Well, God never promised her a happy life in this world. After all, He is not Santa.

Other people often abandon their faith or refuse to become Christians because of another false impression of God. They judge God based on His people, not on His own nature. “The Christians I’ve met are hypocrites, so I don’t want to have anything to do with their God.” Sound familiar? Yes, Christians are called to represent God and be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14), but we mess up. We don’t always get it right. We need to look beyond the imperfections of God’s people, and look to the perfection of God Himself for our example.

There are more misconceptions out there, but the truth is, God’s nature cannot be altered. Remember His declaration in Exodus 3:14 — “I AM.” Not, “I am your homeboy.” Not, “I am Santa Claus, who guarantees you unconditional happiness.” Not, “I am exactly like my people, with all of their goof-ups and mistaken beliefs.”

God said, “I AM.” And He will always be exactly who He is.

Published in: on March 29, 2012 at 10:51 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Do I get extra cool points for being one of those ten people to comment back in ’09?
    I commented then, and I don’t really have anything substantially different to say about the post than I did back then, but I do what to mention this:
    I am quite proud of you and what you have done with this blog. You’re encouraging; and I can, when I look, see God using you in this to reach out to people. You have come a long way since that post, but you are still serving the same purpose, to inspire change fro the better in those around you. Thank you for that. I’m honored to consider myself your friend.

  2. Rob, you are too sweet. I’m glad you don’t think I’m weird anymore. 😛

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