Photo from: Piaxbay
We need to “love the Lord, not just the idea of the Lord” said my dear friend (SkillzUSA).
AKA: Don’t reduce God to some idea you have about Him and miss out on His whole person as a result.
Our ideas tend to address issues in reactionary ways, focusing on what isn’t and instead of what is. We come up with ideas to solve whatever’s bugging us. Ideas are tools. They are created, manipulated, and guided by the things we face. Ideas are dependent on people, and they revolve around people. They aren’t about what is, they are about what can be (and are usually in our favor).
More than that, ideas aren’t alive. They don’t interact with us. Ideas have no will apart from ours, no abilities that we haven’t fathomed.
When God is diminished to an idea -like a method for comfort when someone dies- we act as if God’s character depends on us. And what we want. And what we’re dealing with. We never get to what matters, we never open ourselves to a Lord that can surprise us and reach us even when we’ve forgotten He exists.
He is I AM. Done. Boom. From before time began. He is a living being who is more than anything you can fill in the blank with. Good news!
God doesn’t depend on you or I. He isn’t an idea. All those cautionary words and metaphors pointing out that God “isn’t just…” are pointing towards a complete truth that confronts the nature of man and brings us into a redemptive relationship with the one who IS.
In our attempts to be like God, we reduce God to something we feel we can control, alter, and direct. Just as in the garden the first people were tempted to become like God…by reducing God into something attainable, someone who can merely recognize good and evil.
The Lord, however, DEFINES good and evil. We can’t do that.
The Lord knows this is our tendency. He knows that we’d like Him to be an idea rather than active and outside of our control.
He protects us from a resulting sin, saying Exodus 20:4-5 the second commandment: “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God…”
When my friend differentiated between enjoying the idea of God (and our ideas about Him) rather than loving Him as He is, a question came to mind:
What ideas do we have about the Lord that we hold in higher esteem than the person of Christ?
Which ideas about the Lord do we use to justify our sins?
Is it the idea that He’ll always be there that we cherish more than His presence right now? What about instances in which the idea that He is so loving causes discipline and hardship to challenge our belief in His love?
What ideas do we have about God that our circumstances can shake? Those ideas aren’t who He is. Because He is more than (Yes. Whatever idea you come up with).