First, let’s get this out there. God’s goals never change. Who He is at the core of His being never changes. His attributes never change. But life here on earth is in a constant state of change, so the way He works and relates to us outside of Scripture is always in a state of flux. He does not operate with a policy and procedure manual; He operates through relationships with you, me, and everyone else in creation.
I have read stories of God healing an individual by having the sign of the cross done over them. Others have received healing through the laying on of hands. Still others just feel the presence of God during their quiet prayer time and receive healing. While others never receive the healing they greatly desire. God does not have a set procedure to receive His healing.
With all that said, I still don’t want to devalue knowing about God. The ideas that we know about God will influence how we pursue knowing God on a deeper level. If we think that God is uncaring because He let our loved one die, then that will influence how much we trust Him. If we think God is aloof and doesn’t really care about individual people, then that will influence how much we are willing to trust Him and do the bold and daring actions we are called to do. If we think that God isn’t gracious and merciful, that will influence the way we view our own sins and the sins of others.
The attributes that we believe God has or doesn’t have are integral to the way we actually live our lives.
I am heading to Liberia at the end of February to teach at a conference for church leaders and install safe water systems. In the process of writing these sessions, I am realizing how much I rely on knowing my audience when I prepare a message or a lesson. One of the lessons that I have been assigned to give is “Who is God?” In preparing that lesson, I am struck by the fact we must focus on who God is and His attributes. Deceptions are various and ever-changing, but the truth of God remains the same forever. We might learn a defense against the deceptions of today, but those defenses would be meaningless tomorrow when we are faced with new deceptions.
Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32 ESV).
The truth will set us free. Deceptions will do the opposite; they will enslave us.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that drinking vodka will get you closer to God. Like the vodka expert was to vodka, we need to be with God. If we really know who God is, we will not be deceived by all of the deceptions Satan uses to get us off track. We need to know Him so well that we will not fall prey to all of the tricks that can cause us to lose focus on God and live a wasted life.
Our thoughts about God influence the way we live. Proper thoughts about God, if truly believed, lead to proper living. Through proper living, we can get to really know God rather than just know about Him. Let us not be people tossed by every cultural wave and steered off course by every societal wind. Let us live the life we were destined to live, anchored in the beauty and majesty of who God really is.