Santa Claus?

God is sometimes seen as someone like Santa Claus, no more interest in changing you than a man in a costume making minimum wage.

It seems to me that there are two major lies perpetuated about the I-AM in our culture, both on opposite ends of the spectrum and both equally wrong.

  • God doesn’t want you.
  • God doesn’t want to change you.

In an effort to disprove the first lie, we have often tried to find shelter in the second lie.  As a result, we have countless untold thousands in the church, or who irregularly attend the church, or who don’t attend church but have sentimental feelings about God, who believe that they are all right with God.

In one conversation I had with a young woman who had at least a bit of an evangelical backdrop through her family, she said something like this,

“I just can’t believe that God gets angry with us.  No.  God doesn’t get angry.  I think that’s wrong.  I don’t think of God like that.”

She’s not alone in her belief.  Many who have some inkling about Christianity have taken truths they feel comfortable with (i.e., God is love) and carved out truths they aren’t comfortable with (i.e., God’s wrath is poured out over sin).

Did you catch the important words in this young woman’s statement (paraphrased by me)?  The new culture in Christianity of God-as-Santa-Claus usually drop catch phrases like this:

I think . . I don’t think . . I see . . I don’t see how . . I can’t imagine . . I believe . . I don’t believe . . My opinion . . The way I see it . .

What is so insidious about their misunderstandings is it’s hard to get them to see God as a pre-defined Being, not as a Being that they can illustrate or story-tell about with their word choices.  And it’s not just a them issue.  I see this very same problem in myself.

Here’s a simple look at why this is so ludicrous.  If I wanted, I could go around saying my fiance, Ben, is a  basketball player.  I could do that.  I could paint word pictures of Ben as the way I want to see him.  But . . does that change the reality that he is NOT a NBA player?  Does my “viewpoint” of him make him a NBA player?

If I actually did this, and seriously did it, people would think I had a mental illness.  Yet, when people subjectively make stuff up about God, most don’t bat an eye.  

What is the big problem with defining God any way you wish?  The answer to that is obvious: You don’t know who God is. 

I don’t think Ben would want to be around me if I kept talking about how great he is at basketball.  After a while, he’d get a hint that I don’t really want to know him at all, I just want to imagine him the way I want him to be.

Don’t you think God feels this same way about us?  He knows our hearts.  He created them!  He knows what we keep inside of them.  If we want to serve a god who does not fit His description, if we refuse to fall in line with who He says He is in Scripture, we are in defiance of our Creator, and we are not genuinely pursuing a relationship with Him.

If I said to you, “I just love Ben.  I love what a great basketball player he is.  He’s right up there with Michael Jordan.”  Do you think I really love Ben, or I love who I want Ben to be?

So many times,  think we have tried to bring people to salvation by allowing them to think what they want to think or keep their misconceptions about God.

Do you not want to believe God would send you to Hell?  That’s ok.  Ask Jesus into your heart.

Do you not want to believe God would require of you to abstain from sexual activity before marriage?  Well, God loves you.  Believe in Him anyway and I’m sure it’ll work itself out.

Do you not want to believe God would require that you forgive the people in your life who have most hurt you?  No problem.  Say this prayer and we’ll worry about that later.

As a result, we have many people in the churches who have fallen in love with a god who does not exist.  As such, we have many in congregations and in the unchurched who firmly believe they are going to Heaven to meet the god they have made up.  They can’t wait to see family members who have died and are “looking down on them”.  They have vague, self-thought-up identifications for who God is: He’s never disappointed with me . . He loves me just the way I am . . He wants me to be happy.

But just like the man in the Santa Claus costume takes it off and goes home at the end of the day, no more planning on buying presents from your wishlist than a man in the moon . . so, at the end of life, these thousands will find the god they costumed up was nothing more than the fanciful thinking of their mind, and all illusion will dissolve like snow in the summertime.  Then they will find themselves face-to-face with an Almighty and Fearful Judge who is not their Father or Savior or Friend, who does not know them, and who will not allow them, stained with filthy sins that have never been forgiven, into Heaven.

This is a serious and frightening reality, friends.  If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, will you commit with me to gently but truthfully help the unsaved realize that they are not going to Heaven and that the god of their dreams is nothing more than a costumed hoax?

And if you are not a follower of Jesus Christ, will you rethink your position that God is whoever you invent Him to be?  Maybe you never realized you were doing it before, but now you see that you have been believing in a fantasy.  Will you release your idea of who God is to Him and allow Him to teach you He is through His Word?  Will you commit your life to Him, give your soul to Him, and get serious about learning who He is?  Will you take the journey of really knowing Him through Scripture, a Bible-focused church, Christian small groups, and fellowship with other followers?

Or will you wait until Judgment Day to find out that the god you wanted . . is not real . . and cannot save you from your sins?

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12, NIV)

Published in: on December 1, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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