Post Title: Is Your God Too Small?
To be born again is a work of the Spirit. To be transformed into the mind of Messiah is a work of that same Spirit. Here is the important thing to remember, it is a process. To mature means to grow in the grace of God’s salvation and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.
Salvation is a gift; sanctification is a process of growing in that gift.
Why should Christians meditate? To be conformed to the image of Jesus, which requires developing his mind, his way of thinking. It is a Spirit-led process that involves repentance on the one hand and renewal on the other.
Repentance: Recognizing in ourselves the ideas and images that have been placed there by the world and turning from them.
Renewal: Replacing those images and ideas with kingdom realities implanted by the Word of God.
I want to elaborate on something I said earlier in this teaching. We tend to underestimate how important ideas and images are to our souls. Yet, it is precisely at the level of ideas and images that our adversary (the satan) makes his most direct assault on us.
Think back to the Garden of Eden. The Serpent said to Eve, in effect using Ford Motor Company’s old advertising slogan, “Hey, I’ve got a better idea.” He proposed to her mind a thought that differed from what God had said. Also, he presented to her eyes the image of that which was pleasant to look upon. She gave in to temptation and ate the forbidden fruit.
Satan attacks us precisely the same way by feeding into our minds the wrong ideas and implanting in our souls’ false images.
Ideas are powerful; they shape the way you think. Yet visual communication conveys ideas even more seductively than verbal communication. Why? Because with images, we often fail to utilize our critical thinking faculties. We do not question images; we imbibe them. Images inform your soul and have the power to shape your reality.
Biblical meditation focuses on the right ideas and thereby restores the true image. That is why it is a core discipleship concept, central to the heart of Hebraic spirituality.
If you continually set the Lord before you—his true Word and works—then you engage in the process of turning from that which is false and evil implanted in you by this broken world. As you meditate, you are working with the Spirit who is restoring to you your true identity. The ideas and images that God has given enter with power to transform your life.
Remember how Jesus countered the devil, It is written.
Jesus refused to buy into bogus ideas and images. “No, Evil One, you do not have a better idea. And you will not mislead me about God and what he has said about who I am.”
It is written: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” - Matthew 4:4
Biblical meditation fuels the process of renewing our minds, helping us take on the thinking of the indwelling Messiah in ever-increasing ways.
Our ideas about God need to correspond to God’s reality. That is one reason why I have taught so much over the years about the God of Israel. He reveals himself as Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is not “Jehovah.” Do you know what image Jehovah conveys to the heart and soul of most people? One of a tribal deity who wants to enslave you with an onerous law. In this perversion of truth, Jesus has to come and set you free from Jehovah’s law.
Nothing could be further from the truth! It is a lie of the adversary, in many cases perpetrated by the very church that Jesus founded. How can this be? Because of wrong ideas and false images.
If you want to know the LORD God, look into the face of Jesus. No one knows the Father like the Son. There you will see that the Holy One of Israel is a God who abounds in grace. Every morning, his mercies are made new. Every night, his faithfulness abounds to us. He is a God who loves us with incomparable love and pursues us with his goodness and his grace.
Our ideas of God need to conform to God’s reality and not be shaped by the world. That is why studying the Bible—the kind of study that leads to obedience—is an act of worship. When you hear and do God’s Word, you are attributing the highest worth to God. Worship is just that, extending worth-ship to God.
J.B. Phillips was a godly English scholar who wrote a dynamic translation of the New Testament, published in 1958. Phillips also wrote a book, memorably titled Your God Is Too Small. Have you heard of it? Professor Dallas Willard observes that contrary to popular opinion, Phillips’s point was not that your God is too small to meet your needs; therefore, change your view of God so your needs can be met. That is the way we typically use the phrase today.
No, here is the point J.B. Phillips was making—your God is so small that you can fail to worship and adore him relentlessly.
Is your idea and image of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob so small that you fail to set him before you continually? If our vision were genuinely biblical, we would be compelled to be in perpetual worship, adoration, and praise. You and I need the same view of Yahweh that Yeshua had, as revealed in the Hebrew Bible — I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken (Psalm 16:8).
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This study is from a professionally produced transcription of the audio recording. It was edited for readability by the team at JC Studies.
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