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Why We Must Think Rightly About God

February 26, 2013

My guest writter today is A. W. Tozer by way of his wonderful book “The Knowledge of the Holy” written in 1961. (the year I was born) He was born in 1897 and died in 1963.  What would he think of where we are at today?  God is working in my heart to return to my first love.  How are you doing in this area?

The Knowledge of the Holy

By: A. W. Tozer

Why We Must Think Rightly About God

     What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.

The history of mankind will probably show that no people have ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God.  Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.

For this reason the greatest question before the church is always God Himself, and the most foreshadowing fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like.  We tend to move toward our mental image of God.  This is true not only of the individual Christian, but the company of Christians that composes the Church.

Were we able to extract from any man a complete answer to the question, “What comes into your mind when you think about God?” we might predict with certainty the spiritual future of that man.  Were we able to know exactly what our most influential religious leaders think of God today, we might be able with some precision to foretell where the Church will stand tomorrow.

Without a doubt, the mightiest thought the mind can entertain is the thought of God, and the weightiest word in any language is its word for God.

That our idea of God correspond as nearly as possible to the true being of God is immensely importance to us.  Compared with our actual thoughts about Him, our creedal statements are of little importance.  Our real idea of God may lie buried under the rubbish of conventional religious notions and may require an intelligent and vigorous search before it is finally unearthed and exposed for what it is.  Only after an ordeal of painful self-probing are we likely to discover what we actually believe about God.

A right conception of God is basic not only to systematic theology but to practical Christian living as well.  It is to worship what the foundation is to the temple; where it is inadequate or out of plumb, the whole structure must sooner or later collapse.  I believe there is scarcely an error that cannot be traced finally to imperfect and ignoble thoughts about God.

It is my opinion that the Christian conception of God currently is so decadent as to be utterly beneath the dignity of the Most High God and actually to constitute for professed believers something amounting to a moral calamity.

The man who comes to a right belief about God is relieved of ten thousand temporal problems, for he sees at once that these have to do with matters, which at the most, cannot concern him for very long.

Among the sins to which the human heart is prone, hardly any other is more hateful to
God as idolatry, for idolatry is at bottom a libel on His character.  The idolatrous heart assumes that God is other than He is – in itself a monstrous sin and substitutes for the true God, one made after its own likeness.  Always this God will conform to the image of the one who created it and will be base or pure, cruel or kind, according to the moral state of the mind from which it emerges.  Surely this must be a serious affront to the Most High God before whom cherubim and seraphim continually do cry, “Holy, Holy, Holy!”

Let us beware lest we in our pride accept the erroneous notion that idolatry consists only in kneeling before visible objects of adoration, and that civilized peoples are therefore free from it.  The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him.  It begins in the mind and may be present where no overt act of worship has taken place.  “When they knew God, they glorified him not as God neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations and their foolish heart was darkened.” Romans 1:21

Perverted notions about God soon rot the religion in which they appear.  The first step down for any church is taken when it surrenders its high opinion of God.

Before the Christian Church goes into eclipse anywhere there must first be a corrupting of her simple basic theology.  She simply gets a wrong answer to the question, “What is God like?”  and goes on from there.  Though she may continue to cling to a sound nominal creed, her practical working creed has become false.  The masses of her adherents come to believe that God is different from what He actually is; and that is heresy of the most insidious and deadly kind.

The heaviest obligation lying upon the Christian Church today is to purify and elevate her concept of God until it is once more worthy of Him. In all her prayers and labors this should have first place.  We do the greatest service to the next generation of Christians by passing on to them undimmed and undiminished that noble concept of God.

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