Theology

Belittling God with My Beliefs and Actions

January 31, 2011

I have been learning that what I believe about God directly affects the way I live my life. In turn, the way that I live my life shows the world what I think God is like, since I claim to follow him and be a Christian – a “little Christ.” This will especially true for me since I intend to enter vocational ministry in the church and teach from God’s word. My actions may teach others more about what I believe about God than my words.

That idea struck me because of something I read for class a few weeks ago. It’s from J.I. Packer’s Knowing God, and when I read it I had to stop for a while. While talking about the majesty of God, he says,

“It is as false as it is irreverent to accuse God of forgetting, or overlooking, or losing interest in, the state and needs of His own people. If you have been resigning yourself to the thought that God has left you high and dry, seek grace to be ashamed of yourself. Such unbelieving pessimism deeply dishonours our great God and Saviour.”

It struck me that in some way I could “belittle” God and his reputation when I somehow thought that he wasn’t going to take care of me. I think this quote hit me hard because I had just been worrying about my financial situation this semester, and then this quote comes to mind. I’m especially struck when Packer says to “seek grace to be ashamed of yourself.” At first I was a little apprehensive about this thought, but when I thought about it more I realized how accurate it is. When I worry and become anxious, I assume that God isn’t going to take care of me – as he has promised he would. I communicate to others that I don’t think God will really “work all things for good” – or that he can’t “lead captivity captive,” he can’t work good from evil. The unbelief of his children tarnishes God’s good reputation on earth.

It’s even worse when I pray to God about things and then keep worrying about them – like I did with my financial situation. I was hit by this thought when God further convicted me after hearing Tim Keller speak on Philippians 4:4-12, where Paul says to “be anxious about nothing” but in everything “pray with thanksgiving” and God will give you his peace. When I pray about something and then start worrying afterwards I am saying that I don’t think God can handle it. I belittle God with my beliefs and actions.

Do I really buy that God won’t forget about me? He’s always been faithful in the past – why don’t I think he will now? Do I really believe that he’ll take care of me and do what is best for me?

Sometimes I have to answer:

“I believe… help my unbelief!”

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2 Comments

  • Reply stonesofremembrance February 1, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Finances have always been the stumbing block for me. And its not that I think God has forgotten or doesn't care. What I struggle with is wondering why he should give me what I ask for – what I believe I need, when it seems others around the world are suffering without that item, too. I struggle with the concept of "what is best for me." What if "best" is suffering? I don't seem to reconcile the two issues well…

  • Reply Delight in the Lord February 3, 2011 at 6:10 am

    I agree with the thoughts on worrying. I also though started thinking about the passage of The Parable of the Persistent Widow (Lk 18:1-6).
    Because of her persistence, she recieved what she asked for. We can be persistent in our prayers…asking God for our needs–but our attitude must be kept in check…not coming and asking again because we think God didn't hear us…but more for the reason that we need to be reminded that we must be dependent on God, and prayer is an avenue to show that as truth in our lives.

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