Getting Comfortable with a God Who is Not Like You

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It’s a common problem.

Someone is reading the Bible or talking about God with another believer and they stumble across a truth about God that they don’t like or agree with. The person could be offended by God’s character or His standard or simply the fact that He is a He. They could be offended by how He acts in Scripture or something they perceive He has done in their lives.

The problem is we as humans begin to build idols around these offenses. These aren’t idols of wood and stone like the pagans used to worship. Instead, these idols are thoughts and opinions about God that fly in the face of what the Scripture teaches. When we encounter a facet of God that we don’t like, our natural, human response is to recreate God into someone who is more like us.  And this–this God who is like us instead of who He really is–is a problem.

Let me give you one example: Romans 11:22 says this, “Behold then the kindness and severity of God…” For one person, the idea of a kind God is difficult. They see God as a hard man, punishing sin and don’t understand His kindness. Their temptation is speak of God as only just and never merciful.  Another person loves God’s kindness and how He is better than we can ever imagine, yet they struggle with God’s severity. How could God be kind and severe, they wonder? So they only teach on God’s kindness, leaving out any mention of His righteous judgment against what is wrong. The problem is both of these very different people begin to build God into their own image instead of letting Scripture shape their understanding of who God is.

‘There’s lots to be said about how to truly understand God as He really is. But we can start here: God is different than us and we must get comfortable with that. He has a different nature than us. He sees things differently than we do. We are not His equal to judge Him.  Nor is He a mix tape where we can pick the parts we like best and place them next to each other and chose that as our God.  We take God as He is, not as we want Him to be.

Once we settle the argument in our hearts that God is different than we’d like Him to be, we can begin to see who He really is. There will still be tremendous questions that remain to be answered, some of which will never be fully understood because He’s God.  This is what we signed up for–to draw close to God.

We just have to get comfortable with a God who is not like us.

[Editor’s Note: If the thought of understanding the nature of God is interesting to you, I wrote a 22 Day series based on A.W. Tozer’s book “The Knowledge of the Holy.” You can read the and follow along in the book series here.]

 

 

 

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About traviskolder

Travis Kolder is a follower of Jesus, a husband, a father of five, an organic church planter, and a writer. He lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he serves as part of the Cedar Rapids House Church Network.

2 responses to “Getting Comfortable with a God Who is Not Like You”

  1. riverflowsdown says :

    Travis, great thoughts, this reminds me of the 90’s song What If God Was One Of Us by Joan Osborne. So true what you wrote and thank God He is is not like one of us. It reminds me of Elihu schooling Job about who God was but in the end he says in 36:26 Behold, God is great, and we know him not; the number of his years is unsearchable.

    Thank God we through Jesus we can now know him, but still his ways are above ours.

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