There are many people today who have given up on Christianity. For all the reasons given (and they are many), the one I encounter most often is the person who comes to the point of believing that Christianity just does not work. I will say at the outset that I approach Christianity with two major presuppositions: I believe the Christian life works; and, I believe our view of God largely determines whether Christianity works, or not. I don’t think anyone sets out attempting to live the Christian life in order to fail at it. No, we fully expect for it to work. So, then, if we are to live a successful Christian life, we need to keep a few things in mind.
One of Satan’s primary objectives is to destroy the believer’s understanding of God (Genesis 3:1-10).
A chief way of doing this is through using influential factors from our past. We can trace much of our contemporary beliefs, values, and actions to the past actors of parents, church, good/bad experiences, place of upbringing, siblings, peer groups, teachers, and friends. Our earthly relationships in life are often transferred to our relationship with God. For example, if one’s father was demanding and perfectionistic, it is possible that the person might transfer those same attributes to God.
Sometimes a Christian’s view of God is more like a policeman always watching for us to break the rules; an old man who is aloof and largely uninterested; or, a fickle Being who can never be pleased.
But this isn’t how God describes himself in Holy Scripture. God is the Sovereign Creator, Lord, and Redeemer. He is our heavenly Father who is absolute in holiness, truth, and love. Within God himself there is complete self-existence, unity, harmony, love, enjoyment, immensity, and infinite integrity (Psalm 147:5; Malachi 3:6; Deuteronomy 6:4). When God deals with his creatures he is always observant, powerful, and present (Psalm 39:7-12; Jeremiah 32:17, 27). What is more, God continually acts with veracity, faithfulness, mercy, goodness, justice and righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:9, 10:13; Psalm 36: 7, 10; Jeremiah 31:3; Hosea 14:9). God always acts this way because he is love and truth.
Who God is determines how he reveals himself in his law and his will (Leviticus 11:44, 19:1-2; 1 Peter 1:16).
This is why Jesus is described as “The Word of God” in John 1:1. In his revelation, God has made himself known to us. Therefore, the appropriate response to such a God of truth and love is worship (recognizing His sovereign greatness); praise (recognizing His absolute perfection); and, obedience (recognizing His infinite love). When we gain a view of God as always having our best interests at mind; showing steadfast love to us even when no one else does; redeeming and healing us from past trauma; giving purpose and meaning to us; providing everything we need for life and godliness in the awful muck of this world; then, it is not a stretch to offer worship, praise, and obedience to such a God because our view of him is one of adoration.
Church ministry thrives when individual believers have a view of God which is consistent with his infinite grace, love, mercy, and truth. When there are cracks in the foundation of understanding the basic nature and attributes of God, then the house cannot stand. This is more than checking off a list of appropriate beliefs in God; it is giving ourselves fully and irrevocably to God because he is the One who loves us perfectly and completely. One of the prayers that God delights to answer is: “God, show me your glory, love, and truth.” Don’t give up quite yet. Let God reveal His attributes to you and your church as you seek Him with all your hearts.