Sunday, August 20, 2017

What is Your God Like?

Look in the mirror.

Speaking of “the nations,” the Psalmist says,

Their idols are silver and gold,
    the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak;
    eyes, but do not see.
They have ears, but do not hear;
    noses, but do not smell.
They have hands, but do not feel;
    feet, but do not walk;
    and they do not make a sound in their throat.
Those who make them become like them;
    so do all who trust in them.
Ps 115:4-8 ESV

Idolaters become like their idols? Mute, unseeing, deaf, unable to smell, unfeeling, unable to walk or talk? It’s a pretty good description of those who are “dead in trespasses and sins.”

The Bible indicates that those who worship the true God are like Him, just as idolaters are like their gods.

Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he (God) is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. I John 3:7-104

Jesus tells us we need to make an effort to be like God – love and pray for evil people, because God is good to evil people. Then he tells us to be perfect, because God is perfect.

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Mt. 5: 44, 45, 48 ESV

Evidently is takes no effort to be like an evil god. Evidently, it does take effort to be like the one true God. In any case, we do look (think, act) like the god we choose for our lives.

That’s scary. Do I want my God to be like I am? No. Am I content with my own life as a reflection of the character and actions of God? No. But God’s Word says we are like the god we choose. So have I really chosen the Almighty, the Pure and Holy? It’s a choice that has to be made every day. Every minute. Every second. I’m failing miserably.

The apostle Paul makes a big deal of the difficulty of doing right.
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. Romans 7:18 ESV

The ease of our tendency to do wrong is a lifelong plague for all of us. While repentance and saving faith in Christ is a definite-time event, striving to be like God is an unending quest.

This poem by Thomas T. Lynch, 1818-1871, was set to music by K. Lee Scott. May it be our prayer, ever.

Gracious Spirit, Dwell With Me

Gracious spirit, dwell with me, I would gracious be;
Help me now thy grace to see, I would be like thee;
And, with words that help and heal, thy life would mine reveal;
And, with actions bold and meek, for Christ my Savior, speak.

Truthful Spirit, dwell with me, I would truthful be;
Help me now thy truth to see, I would be like thee;
And with wisdom kind and clear, thy life in mine appear;
And with acts of charity, speak Christ’s sincerity.

Holy Spirit, dwell with me, I would holy be;
Show thy mercy tenderly, make me more like thee;
Separate from sin, I would and cherish all things good,
And whatever I can be give him who gave me thee.

 --Lynda Shenefield

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