In the ever-changing landscape of our religious world, the name of God has fallen on hard times. The solid rock of our Judeo-Christian heritage has eroded to the degree that God is what or who one makes Him to be. What God has portrayed Himself to be in Holy Writ has been lost in the frantic attempt to make God comfortable and safe. His wrath and displeasure have evaporated in this age of a feel-good God.
In this there is a great danger, one of eternal consequences. A man can, through his own mental and emotional efforts, create a god that doesn’t transgress his zone of security nor challenge his moral behavior and believe sincerely that this god of his own creation will keep him in eternity. This is an erroneous assumption. Few consider that their perception of their self-made god is simply a substitute for the real thing.
At the heart of the matter is the fact that man found it most uncomfortable being created in the image of God, so he set about creating his own image of God. There seemed to be something lacking in God that would keep men from turning to idols.
“What sin did your ancestors find in me that led them to stray so far?” (Jeremiah 2:5).
It is a proven fact that most people, Christian or otherwise, create very early in life a perception of God based upon their own earthly fathers. This erroneous perception settles on the back-burners of the mind and is embellished over time. Unfortunately, it tempers our thoughts of God. It is strange to find Christians who know and follow Christ diligently and yet have a flawed view of God. Any definition or perception of God that is not based on Scriptures is in fact an idol of the mind.
Because God has become so generic in the general mind, there is little resistance to the name of God being used in almost any circle. Substitute the name of Jesus for that of God, however, and you are either met with an embarrassed silence or outright hostility. Perhaps this explains the reluctance of Christians to use our Lord’s name freely no matter the circumstances.
People love their idols even if they are but wrong perceptions. Challenge them and you will find that many prefer their idols to the one and true God made known only in and through Jesus Christ. Make certain that your own perception of God is not based on preconceptions of who He is but on the sure Word of God.
By Jim Craddock