I have often wondered how much we put God in a box and call it good? Some would say any connection to God is good, even if our theology or practice places Him in a box. I guess you could make that case, but I think that limits Him and makes Him into something He might not be.
For example, if our religious traditions tell us that God can only operate within the parameters of our tradition, then we have put God in a box. We all know that God will not violate His Word and that He will play by the rules of Scripture. However, as you also know, our interpretations of those rules can be varied. Those variations can place God outside of the Scriptures, indicating that God is not confined to His own Word. That happens a lot in certain Christian circles. At the same time, there are Christians who will limit God to a set of standards that are approved by their Church council or denomination. In either case, we have placed God into an awkward position. I would venture to say that in either case, we like to mess with how we interact with God. Scripture does tell us about God’s nature; it informs us of His intentions of bringing Salvation to the whole world and it informs us of what is to come.
That’s fairly straightforward information. Where we most likely will stray from each other is in the execution of His Word. For example:
• Some say He no longer Heals; any Miracle is in question and some Gifts have been removed.
• Some say He has to Return in a certain timeframe and sequence.
• Some say He doesn’t know the future, and chooses to step back and not influence anything.
• Some say He does not do Judgment anymore, and since The Cross He is all love and grace.
• Some say He wants wealth and domination in our culture to be the best model in influencing others.
• Some say He is no longer the God of the Old Testament and that He is only in the New Testament.
• Some say He doesn’t confront controversary because He is not angry with anyone.
• Some say He says we won’t see His wrath, and all will be good when the Rapture takes place.
As you can see, our various perceptions of scripture are quite different, and most of those interpretations place God in a box. Some attitudes are saying, “God can only operate in the way I believe He can, and that’s all there is to it.”
I have said this before in this blog and it still remains true. Some of what we hear today is speculation on the part of the preacher. They may have some convincing arguments, but it still borders on speculation, which often places God in a box.
One of the best illustrations of this is found in the text of 1 Samuel 4:1-11, but the attitude of the Story is found in Verse 3:
1 Samuel 4:3 When the soldiers returned to camp, the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the Lord bring defeat on us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the Lord’s covenant from Shiloh, so that he may go with us and save us from the hand of our enemies.”
Israel thought as long as the Ark of the Covenant (representing God) was with them, they would be victorious. Yet, their expectations of God delivering them did not come to pass, they lost to the Philistines and the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the enemy.
I believe this is what happens when we live within our own expectations of God and place Him in a box. This may come as a surprise to some of you, but it is true. Much of what I have learned about God from others, I had to unlearn. Most of what is described as God in a box in my bullet points are the things I had to evaluate and redirect. I also had to realize that good intentioned people can be wrong in their assumptions about God. I am still trying to wade through my own assumptions and realize that I may not have had the full revelation on some things. We are often quick to speak, slow to hear, and slow to change.
God does not violate His Word … He is always true to what He says. Our issue is not in what He says, but it is our interpretation and execution of it.
When I hear Christians say, “Well, I believe…,” it is a clue to me that there is more of that person in the statement of belief, than what God actually says. Now, I know that might not sit well with some of you, but it is never about “what I believe,” it is always about what God says. And if you don’t understand what He says, then it is better for you to say that, rather to speculate on what you don’t know.
God’s Word is not hard to understand if you approach it with an open heart of Obedience and a Desire to Know Him. This will keep you from putting God in a box.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler