For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19
There are many things we have default reactions to in life. My wife, when startled, yelps. One of my family members would fall flat on the ground when startled by someone. While these examples might curl our mouths into a grin or smile, default reactions and positions in life are there regardless of whether we recognize them. When we really consider our position on God, for example, I’m pretty confident we’d find we have a default view of who we feel God is.
I grew up with an ‘angry God’ view, which I had for a large portion of my life. While living in this view created obedience in me, the reasoning behind it was way out of place. Devotion to God from a stance of fear was wrong.
While my view has shifted from fear to love, after gaining a fuller understanding of who God is and what his desire for me is, I thought it would be interesting to hear what my young granddaughters thought (the oldest is six, middle one is soon to be four). So I asked my daughter to record their responses when asked to describe God. My oldest responded first with the comment that God loves us, and would like us not to sin. My middle granddaughter responded that God loves her, and she loves God. How sweet it was!
While we hear things like this and say how cute it is, how is it that we don’t respond out of this same love rather than a position of fear? If your default view of God is indeed rooted in love, hallelujah! Praise God! If fear, not awe, is your default view of God, what would it take to shift that to one of love? For me, studying the scriptures with help from people and books (all of which were way smarter than me) provided the environment for the formation of knowing God truly. As you contemplate your view of God, and you find it to be fear, perhaps a journey is in order. A journey towards the God of love with your fellow believers. Maybe asking God for courage in taking the first steps, and inviting family and friends to journey with you, or to be an encouragement along the way.
By Rich Obrecht