A guest post by Clint Gresham
When you think of God, what do you imagine? I’ve realized how we view God is the most influential belief we have. It shapes everything about us and it determines the kind of relationship we will have with God!
Here are 5 of the different ways we view God:
The individual with this view is most likely a type A person. They’re very accomplished, driven, and looking for any kind of competitive edge. Think of the professional athlete who prays before a game for success, but spends the rest of his week building his kingdom, rather than God’s. They would never admit it, but this person is insecure and hides behind their accomplishments. They have always had to make things happen in their life so they’re used to getting their way. They will give a nod to God, but it comes from a place of superstition and selfishness, rather than a heart to know Him.
- Fire truck
This type of belief seems to be the most prevalent in the church today. The person who sees God as a fire truck does not live a life that is surrendered to Jesus but instead believes they are doing better than the next person. They have said a prayer and asked Jesus into their lives, but the work of their daily life doesn’t demonstrate a genuine surrender to God. This person will go to church on holidays, pray before meals, and maybe even take off their hats in church, but their inner world hasn’t been transformed by God. They want God far away from their lives, but when they are in trouble they want Him to get there fast.
The person who sees God as a fire truck does not live a life that is surrendered to Jesus but instead believes they are doing better than the next person.
I see this type of belief most often in people who are either agnostic (there could be a God, but don’t know who He is) or atheist (believe there is no God). But I see the same view with many Christians, too. These people attribute all the evil of the world to God. They ask questions like, “If God is a god of love, why are there starving kids in Africa?” They believe that God is in the clouds playing roulette with their lives, laughing at their destruction. They think God is a jerk and are suspicious of people who say they serve Him.
This person means well, but always seems to find themselves burnt out or under heavy condemnation. They see God as a great king who is so high above them and is frustrated by them the majority of the time. There is a strong likelihood that this person was shamed as a child and has low self worth. They feel like they are slaves, constantly trying to earn the approval of a disappointed and aloof hero. Those who view God as a taskmaster are easily offended when they see others experiencing real intimacy with God. On a subconscious level, they believe they are holier than others because of how miserable they are. To them, suffering equals holiness. At the end of the day, this person does not believe they are worthy of love and will unconsciously sabotage and push away real intimacy and friendship.
The person who sees God as a friend is at peace with God and the world around them. They have fostered a deep relationship with God in what Psalm 91 calls “The Secret Place.” This person has moved from praying for what is on their hearts, to talking with God about His heart. They are not easily offended and give people the benefit of the doubt. They love other people without needing anything in return. Those who see God as a friend have courageously allowed God into the darkest and most broken areas of their hearts. They may still have insecurities and doubts, but choose instead to bring them into the light of God and community, rather than pretend they have it all together.
Those who see God as a friend have courageously allowed God into the darkest and most broken areas of their hearts.
At any given moment I drift through all five of these beliefs about God. No one is immune. The bombardment of worldly messages, spiritual attack, and our own unredeemed appetites can make even the most devout follower of Jesus bend under the weight of pride, exasperation, and fear. As people pursuing God, we need community and God’s word to guide us. God is not looking for perfection or slaves, he’s looking for sons and daughters who choose a transparent relationship with Him and others.
Clint Gresham is a six-year NFL veteran, Super Bowl champion, and former long snapper for the Seattle Seahawks. Now living in Seattle with his wife Matti and German Shorthaired Pointer, Bear, Gresham is a YoungLife leader and speaker. His first book, Becoming: Loving the Process to Wholeness, is available now.