It’s very important for Christians to understand that we regularly project our human qualities onto God. Our ability to fully grasp who God is and how He acts is limited. Therefore, to make sense of an all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present God, we perpetually define Him by using human qualities and characteristics rather than divine, super-natural ones.
The follow is a list a seven myths we persistently perpetuate about God. To have the best personal relationship with Him, it is critical for us to systematically dispel each of these myths.
1. Myth: God is angry with you because you keep messing up and continually don’t live up to His standard of perfection.
Truth: God is not angry with you. He loves you completely with an agape love, a perfect love. Think of your absolute best day as a friend or parent. That’s how God is toward you all the time, 27 x 7 x 365 and in the ultimately perfect sense.
God knows you are going to mess up. In fact, He knows exactly when and how you will sin. A basic definition of “sin” is when we try to make life work apart from God. When we repeatedly try to make life work apart from how God wants us to live, we develop pet sins or habitual sins, which lead us to ruin.
By sending Jesus to be the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,” God offers you the free gift of eternal life. God allowed Jesus to die in your place for all of your sins: past, present and future. Eternal life is knowing God in a personal way. God freely forgives you as you confess your sins and repent. He also gives you absolute mercy (not getting what you deserve) and grace (getting what you do not deserve).
2. Myth: God expects you to clean yourself up in order to approach Him.
Truth: Being human, you can’t make yourself HOLY. After the Fall of Man (Genesis 3) a “principle of sin, i.e. rebellion, wanting to be the god of your own life,” took up residence within you.
Therefore, you cannot render powerless your sin nature through human know-how, intellect, strength, or will power. Only God can make you Holy and that process of transformation, sanctification, and justification begins immediately after you ask Jesus to come into your life and heart.
God loves you perfectly. It is His kindness that leads to repentance. He changes you from the inside out. As you get close to Him, you want to please Him.
3. Myth: God’s discipline is punitive and aimed at forcing you to straighten up and live right. He punishes you for every wrongdoing. That’s why bad things happen to you; He’s getting you back for messing up.
Truth: There is a difference between “punishment” and “discipline.” Godly discipline is corrective in nature. God wants to redirect your heart from making bad choices to Godly choices. The word discipline comes from the same root word for disciple. God wants you to be teachable. He disciplines you to help you change your natural way of thinking, feeling, and behaving. He wants you to choose His way of thinking, feeling, and behaving.
God is perfectly patient. Your transformation into the image of His Son, Jesus, will be completed when you meet God face to face in heaven. Your perfecting, transformation, and sanctification are ongoing throughout all of your days on earth. God is not in a hurry. He wants your heart to be in line with His heart.
4. Myth: You have messed up so much that God could never forgive you for your unconscionable sins.
Truth: The Bible says there is only ONE unforgivable sin, namely: “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.”
Theologians are not 100% sure exactly what this means. There are several thoughts on the matter. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit could be: (1) never coming to faith in God through Christ; (2) committing suicide; (3) denying the power of the Holy Spirit; (4) rejecting or denying God. It could mean all sorts of things.
Therefore, the truth is that every sin short of “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit,” IS FORGIVABLE by God.
Also, in God’s economy, there is no hierarchy of sin. Being unholy is being unholy. It doesn’t matter if you’ve sinned once or whether you’ve sinned 10,000 times today. Think of it like this, how many spots of spaghetti sauce on a previously white shirt does it take to make the shirt “dirty?” Only one. In the same way, how many sins does it take to make one unholy? Only one.
5. Myth: God uses severe circumstances, various stressors, and situational “crucibles” to get our attention and show us He’s Boss.
Truth: God never wastes pain; He’s never frivolous or careless about the struggles you face on earth. He is the epitome of a perfect surgeon.
If He allows something to touch your life, there is always a definite reason. Romans 8:28 … “all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.”
God may allow a difficulty or tragedy to touch your life for several reasons:
- He is exposing something in you and is using a “crucible” situation to bring that belief or character flaw to the surface.
- He is calling forth a Godly quality, which is in you, but the “crucible” situation enables you to manifest or utilize it.
When bad stuff happens to you and it will, you must have an immovable “framework” within which to put the puzzle pieces of your life. The best immovable “framework” is created when you grasp once and for ever that, “God is good, always good, and can never be anything but good.”
Solidifying that truth enables and empowers you to see every circumstance from a divine perspective. You’ll gain the ability to see the other side of the coin in every situation; Satan meant this for bad, but God means it for good.
6. Myth: God is obligated to answer your prayers. He is your loving Father in Heaven, He will grant your wishes and desires.
Truth: God answers every prayer. He doesn’t always answer them the way you want or expect.
God is the perfect Parent. He is extravagant with all of his children. He blesses you beyond what you could ask or imagine. However, in the same way that a good human father would not let a child have a Snicker’s Bar 15 minutes before dinner, God will not give you everything you think you want or need on your personal, demanding timetable.
It’s because God loves you and wants only the very best for you, He answers to your prayers in several ways:
- Wait, because there’s something better
Remember Satan has the ability to delay God’s answers to your prayers (Daniel). Satan delays the answers because he is counting on you to get upset with God. Satan is toying with you and tempting you to believe that God is holding out on you. Once you doubt God’s goodness, you’ll be quick to believe that God, not Satan, is your enemy.
Don’t freak out when God is silent. Silence does not mean that He has forsaken you. Either wait patiently for God to “speak” to you or you can ask yourself: (1) Have I withdrawn from God? (2) Am I seeing God as my enemy? (3) Is God using silence to help me know my need for Him? (4) Is God using silence to turn my face and heart back toward Him?
Silence never means that God has forsaken you; He can’t forsake His adopted children.
7. Myth: If God is totally sovereign, why doesn’t He change your difficult situations immediately? Why doesn’t He or bring more blessings? He doesn’t care about you; he plays favorites.
Truth: God is completely sovereign, 100% of the time. Yes, He could intervene in your circumstances. Sometimes He does; sometime He doesn’t. Yet, He is steady and consistent. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He’s not whimsical or haphazard.
You can’t fathom His ways; they are higher, greater, and purer than your human mind can take in. God is not mortal; He is immortal, infallible, all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present.
He is NOT however, your puppet, nor your beck and call deity. He is the one true GOD and He alone is worthy of your worship and obedience.
The truth is for a “season” God has given Satan dominion over this world until the day Jesus returns to gather you and the other children of God. Satan is a liar, the father of all lies. He is the Prince of the power of the air and the ruler of this world. He can appear as an angel of light. He tempts you regularly knowing that you will fail. Satan’s aim is to completely discredit you as a disciple of Jesus.
As a child of God, hang on to the truth that every “season” has an end. God will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able to endure in His strength. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. He is your hope in every situation. He enables you to rise above every difficult circumstance. He teaches you how to straddle heaven and earth.