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Fashioning a Personal God

Over the past several years, there has been much controversy over whether the earth’s climate is growing warmer due to the impact man has had on the environment. One of the more public controversies came to light in 2009 when a group of leading climate researchers was discovered to have manipulated measurement information because it did not support their preconceived theories on global warming. In effect, they were caught “hiding the decline” in global temperatures over a recent period of time. To support their theories, global temperatures should show an increase. Instead, the data showed a decline which they altered to falsely show an increase. This intellectual dishonesty has caused a lot of confusion, division, skepticism and disrespect among the scientific community and the public in general regarding global warming.

Similarly, we oftentimes hear of people that ignore the facts of God’s word and attempt to manipulate God’s will to conform to their preconceived ideas. We may hear phrases such as “My God wants me to be happy” or “My God wants this or that”. We should ask if these statements are true or if they are fashioning a “god” to conform to a preconceived idea of what the person wants God to be.

Generally, these phrases are used to justify one’s actions which may not be at all congruent with God’s will. Our will and God’s will are often very different. Isaiah 55:8 states: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord.” I am not aware of any scripture that would support the idea that God will tolerate sin if it makes somebody happy. To the contrary, most of the bible describes God’s total intolerance of sin of any kind. The story of Jesus is that those who would repent of sin and obey God may be forgiven and brought back into a relationship with God.

As previously mentioned, those who state phrases similar to “My God wants …” seem to be fashioning a personal god to conform to their desires. More often than not, these phrases are used to justify something that the speaker wants to do but may have no basis in His revealed word. We all need to be very careful not to ascribe our desires to God without a sound basis to do so. To do otherwise is similar to what the Gentiles were reported to have done in Rom 1:25 “… who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”

What are some tips to help ensure that we are not conforming God to our will, but rather we are conforming to His will?

1. Examine ourselves and test ourselves as 2 Cor 13 exhorts. Ensure that we are speaking the truth as revealed in God’s word whenever we make conclusions regarding God’s will for us or representing God’s will for others.

2. Study so that we can “rightly divide” the word of truth as in 2 Tim 2:15. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect,
thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Tim 3:16)

3. Purpose to serve God rather than man, even when serving man means serving our own will. “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)

4. Beware of those who want you to believe that they have knowledge of what God wants or His will for you. We can only know what He has revealed through His word. Whenever I hear “God wants you to …” my radar immediately goes off. We should verify that such statements are true based on His revealed word. Strive to be like the Bereans: “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

Let’s all be extremely careful not to ascribe our personal desires as God’s will. To do otherwise will create confusion, division, skepticism and disrespect for God.

Steve Harbin