Do you Filter who God is?

It feels like now, perhaps more than any other time in history, we are a culture devoted to self. In the age of limitless information, how we relate to a God we can’t limit, matters.

“…in the onslaught of information that comes at us every day we need to be able to filter it somehow…”

There was so much more mystery in the past, reverence wasn’t all that uncommon. Now, I can search Youtube for a video of an open heart surgery on my phone while my car parallel parks itself. It makes sense that in the onslaught of information that comes at us every day we need to be able to filter it somehow, like asking the question, “wait, does this relate to my life at all?” This allows me, for example, to filter out celebrity gossip and I feel my life is the better for it. We simply don’t have the time or mental capacity to deal with all of it and so a filter is a necessary, and even a good thing. It can make us conscious of what we consume. It can also make us selfish. And sometimes, it makes it difficult for us to relate to God.

When faced with a God who is so big, whose personality and expression and voice are so vast, I think we struggle to take it all in. It’s too much information, so it seems we pick one attribute of His character, one partial-truth that we like and can fit on a t-shirt, and make that the only thing about Him. “Jesus is my homeboy” – I’ve always taken issue with that slogan and never really understood why. It’s not that He’s not a friend. He is. He describes himself as a friend and there’s even a hymn that truthfully proclaims, “what a friend we have in Jesus.”

“Introducing Jesus as your homeboy is like me introducing my husband as my roommate.”

Introducing Jesus as your homeboy is like me introducing my husband as my roommate. I can’t help but laugh thinking of his face if I ever tried that. I mean sure, I suppose it’s technically true. We do share a room. But it’s simplistic to the point of being offensive, isn’t it? When I think about who my husband is, a million images run through my mind. Him kneeling on the ground in a forest holding a diamond. Kissing me at the front of a church. Our first big argument, and the tears in his eyes as we both asked forgiveness. I see him in an ugly hospital rocking chair, holding our first child, and the expression on his face as he sees himself mirrored in a tiny baby girl.  I see him at the top of a mountain in his climbing harness and can hear him say “that feels like church to me.” I see him leading worship at the little church we helped start, and the guys who have always looked to him for leadership. I see him with a cup of coffee and one hand on the steering wheel on one of the many road trips we’ve taken together. I see the look on his face when he learned his dad was diagnosed with cancer. I have a million memories, not just of who he is to me, but who he IS. I can pick him out of a crowd by just the sound of his footsteps. I know him. I know him too well to be able to come up with a cute marketing slogan for him. Nothing would fit. Nothing would be enough.

“I want to run out of words trying to describe Him.”

I want my relationship with Jesus to look like that and more. To know the sound of His steps, to know His words, to know how He’ll react to a situation in my life because I know Him. I want to run out of words trying to describe Him. The beauty and wonder of it is that He has made Himself knowable. I can’t get over that. The Creator of galaxies and fireflies and everything between is constantly in pursuit of us, of you. He already knows more about you than even you do.

The only appropriate response to that kind of devotion is to spend our lives knowing Him – all of Him –  more and more. A friend recently prayed, “help us to reconcile Your holiness with our adoption.” That sounds like a great place to start.  Let’s be a people who don’t apply our own filter to who God is, but let Him define who He is and how we see Him.


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This Isn’t Just For You

In our first week of SBS, one of our teachers had us write down why we came. I wrote this in my notebook, “I came