God in a box

291 god in a boxDid you ever think that you understood everything and realized later that you had no idea? How many try-it-yourself projects follow the old adage If everything else does not work, read the instructions? I even had trouble after reading the instructions. Sometimes I read each step carefully, execute it the way I understand it, and start over again because I did not get it right.

Did you ever think you understood God? I know, and I know, I'm not the only one. I often had God in a box. I thought I knew who he was and what he wanted me to do. I thought I knew what his church looked like and how that church should act.

How many people - Christians and non-Christians - have God in a box? To put God into a box means to know his will, his nature and his character. We tie a loop on top of the box when we think we understand how it works in our lives and for all humanity.

The author Elyse Fitzpatrick writes in her book Idols of the Heart: Ignorance of the will of God and error about the nature of God are two serious causes of idolatry. And I add: These are the cause of a lot of problems that people have about religion and life itself. Ignorance and error make us put God in a box.
I do not want to cite any examples because God and I both know that I and my church have been there and done that. And I am sure, until we see God face to face, we will never be able to shake off the ignorance and error that seem to be part of the human condition.

I'd rather focus on loosening the loop, removing the tape, removing the wrapping paper and opening the box. Remove the loop - learn about the nature of God. Who is he? What are his characteristics and his character? Allow him to be revealed through the Scriptures. Take off the tape - study the men and women of the Bible. What prayers did he answer for you and how? Unwrap the wrapping paper - look at your life to discover what his will has been and how he has shaped your life. No doubt, his plan was different from yours.

Open the box - recognize and admit that you do not know everything and that your church does not know everything. Tell me, God is God and I am not. Because of our needs, desires, and fallen nature, we humans have a tendency to create God in our own image. Through our thoughts and ideas, we shape it according to our wishes or needs, so that it fits into our particular circumstances.

But let us be open to the guidance and teaching of the Holy Spirit. With his help, we can break the box and let God be God.

by Tammy Tkach

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