For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.John 3:16-17
I enjoy running; while I run, I listen to podcasts and audiobooks. I recently listened to a podcast where the host interviewed a pastor who made this one comment, and I stopped immediately to make a note of it on my phone. He said, “Nothing determines our approach to God like our view of God.”
For the rest of the day, I couldn’t shake this statement. If I viewed God as angry, punitive, or like a strict but absent Father, then I am more inclined to approach Him as such. I will most likely stand back, keep my distance, or perhaps even hide.
If I view God as loving, kind, gracious, and utterly sacrificial, I’m inclined to pursue Him and try to get as near to Him as I can this side of Heaven. And the closer I get to Him, the more deeply I understand just what He has done for me and longs to do for so many others — salvation.
Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world but to suffer a horrific death in order to save the world. He made the ultimate sacrifice on my behalf, on your behalf, and on behalf of countless others. In order to live like Jesus and act justly, love mercy and walk humbly, we must first consider the Cross. For if we seek to understand what happened that day almost 2,000 years ago, we can’t help but recognize the depths to which the God of the universe will go for those He loves. This is amazing, right?
In our view of God, we cannot forget the unfailing, unrelenting, eternal love that willingly brought Him to the cross for each of us. When we keep that in the right perspective, we can approach him with indescribable gratitude and approach others with a radically generous love that sees beyond the opinions, issues, and rhetorics that divide us.
- Spend some time quietly reflecting on your view of God. Where do you think your view is aligned with His character, and where might your view be distorted? For better or worse, people and experiences in our lives can shape our view of God. Meet with a trusted friend or mentor and talk through what you discover in your reflection time.
- As we journey through this series, be honest with yourself and have grace for yourself too. We are all a work in progress, and following Jesus humbly and graciously is a lifelong journey