Does Our View of God Matter?
Written by: Matt Northway
Why does our view of God matter, and beyond this, what is the view of God we should hold? Is He the same for everyone, or is He different? What does our view of God affect? When examining one’s faith, we can clearly see the way in which they view God, because our faith is dependent on who God is. If our view of God is not in alignment with who God says he is within His Word, then our faith is flawed. This can manifest itself in something considerably minor, such as in understanding the means in which God provides, or it can manifest itself into something more drastic, such as having a wrong view of the Gospel, thus creating a faith that does not save.
Of course, we will never fully understand who God is in His entirety, nor will we always be able to know His ways (Isaiah 55:8), yet there are characteristics of the Lord we need to know to establish our faith on. But, why? In this blog, I hope to share with you the reasoning behind why the way in which we view God is so vital to our faith.
As we can read in the book of Job, the main wrongdoing Job’s friends had committed was that they spoke wrongly of who God is (Job 42:7-8). When we read passages such as Job 42, we can clearly see that the Lord cares about not only how we view Him, but how we speak of Him too.
The way we view God, strongly influences the kind of faith we have. Our very faith itself is established on who God is and what He has done. Let us examine the kind of faith Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendnago have in Daniel 3, as Garrett preached on this past Wednesday. These men truly understood and believed in the view of God’s sovereignty, that He is good at all times regardless of the circumstances. Not only that, but that He is also still worthy of all Lordship regardless of the circumstances. They had, what I call, an “even if” faith, as compared to an “if even” faith. These men responded to hardship with “even if” God does not rescue them, that He is still good and still Lord. Often times, our faith manifests its way into something more like this: “IF God does or doesn’t do/allow… is He EVEN good?” Why do we ask this? It is our view of His goodness that is majorly flawed here. It is because we do not understand how God operates; that He uses all circumstances for the good of those who love Him. We misunderstand that ALL of His ways are just and righteous and that His ways are not our ways, to refer back to Isaiah once again. These three men took action in bold faith, because they had a high esteem for God’s goodness at all times and they understood that He is worthy of all praise.
As these men lived through and were strengthened in faith, coming out of the fire, it is the fire refining moments in our lives that help us to shape and form who we view God to be. God is strengthening our faith by showing us His abilities in all circumstances, and He is revealing to us His holiness and Lordship. After we have gone through rough seasons and come to a point of realization of who God is and what He is doing, we begin to see how the Lord is shaping us, and that it is all rooted in the way we view Him. May we too have words like Job after moments of fire.
Then Job answered the Lord and said:
2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 4 ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ 5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; 6 therefore I despise myself, and repent[a] in dust and ashes.”
We read that Job has not only now heard of God’s goodness and His ways, but now he has seen it, as God showed him through a series of events, refining Job’s view that God is supremely and eternally good in all of His ways. God showed Job that He does not owe him an explanation to His ways, and even if He did, Job would not understand it. With the Lord doing so, Job was able to acknowledge his own lack of understanding and desperate need of God. He became aware of his own weakness and deep and dire need for God. After the Lord brought him through much more than what many of us can fathom, Job became more equipped to face hardship by not only looking ahead, but looking around him, and seeing that God is good through all His ways at all times.
So again, I refer back to the passage Garrett spoke on: do we have an “even if” kind of faith, or an “if even” faith. Are we in check with how we view God? Will we treat God with reverence in view of His holiness and Lordship? Is God really good all the time in all of His ways? I fully believe with every ounce of my soul that yes, even amid the fire, He is good!