Our church advertises in the local newspaper the Bay of Plenty Times. Each week the paper gets a different church to write an article, this week was Tauranga City Elim's turn and my Senior Pastor delgated the task to me. With a lot of editing and creative help from Andrew I have written the following article.
“So, what do you do for a living?” There’s that question again – and it never gets any more straightforward. I used to say, “I work for the IRD”, which was followed by a range of less than enthusiastic responses. But now I’ve had a change in jobs. Now I answer, “I’m a Christian Minister.”
The look of puzzlement that crosses the other person’s face, as they try make a connection between their mental picture of what a Christian Minister looks like and the 26 year old standing in front of them, often leads to a more in-depth discussion. The conversation inevitably touches on one of the main issues of my occupation – the question of who God is. People’s opinions about the nature of God range from thinking about him as a powerful impersonal force to a convenient help-line in times of trouble. But who is God really?
The Bible teaches that humans are made in the image of God – this means that we resemble him and have many of his qualities. One of the qualities that we share with God is the desire and ability to create. Throughout history, humans have continuously come up with new concepts, technologies and philosophies. But we have also used our creative abilities to mould our perception of who and what God is. Often we end up with a God that is made in our own image, rather than the other way around. We attempt to turn God into what we want him to be, based on our own unique lifestyles, experiences, needs and beliefs. No wonder the response is so varied when you ask people about their opinion of God.
A Christian thinker named Patrick Morley said this: “There is a God we want and there is a God who is. They are not the same God. The turning point of our lives is when we stop seeking the God we want and start seeking the God who is.”
Few people are willing to challenge their own beliefs and search for the God who is. The Bible says that God understands people because he created them and then chose to become human in the form of Jesus Christ.
God’s position towards humanity is not just one of understanding but one of deep love. God has created us to have a relationship with him, and true satisfaction can only be found in a relationship with the God who created us. An amazing thing happens when we begin to seek the God who is – we find that he is the God we need.