Over the years of doing ministry and talking to hundreds of people I have found somethings to be always true. Our view of God, or lack of one, will show itself in the most common of conversations. Whether it be how we respond to people, how we view rebuke or even how we love our own families. Anytime I get into a deep conversation within someone about God I usually find they believe one of two extremes about God. So that you get a clear definition of these I have listed them below:
Grandpa God: An easy going old man type figure. He cares for you, loves you and when given the opportunity will shower you will complaints about how great you have done. He never yells and if he were too ever rebuke you it would be a slap on the wrist and a pat on the head. There is nothing one can do to really aggravate this grandpa god. He stands at heavens gates with open arms ready to let anyone and everyone that agrees with you in. His favorite phrase is, “It will be fine, go ahead”
Mean Spirited Dad God: A hard to please always mad at someone for something type of figure. He keeps you around but doesn’t really love you. The affection he does so you is usually only because you have done something “good” that he said you had to do. He is always watching and waiting for you to mess up so that, when that moment does come, he can punish you. These punishments come in the form of lost jobs, failed marriages or simply a bad day at work. He stands at heavens gates just waiting for you to try to explain yourself. His favorite phrase is, “Do what I say or else”
Keep in mind that though the both sound crazy people hold both of these views of God. Many of course hold a view of Grandpa God simply because it is easier. However some, usually those that have grown up with real dads that have similar characteristics, view God as an evil father and find it hard to image God any other way.
Before I go any further let me say that both of these extremes are wrong. One holds up a God that is really just about making one happy while the other holds up a God that is about making one miserable. We get neither of these pictures in the Bible. In scripture we see a God that desires that we should be saved (2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:3-4), is not happy with our sin (Matthew 25:41; Romans 5:10) and like a good father wants us to repent but will not allow that sin to go unpunished.
Don’t be mistaken God loves you and he will pursue you, the story in the book of Hosea is a great picture of this, but he is not pleased with your sin. An imperfect but workable example of this is almost any parent/child relationship. For example, I love my daughter and would do anything for her. She can be the sweetest kids sometimes, but other times you wonder if she isn’t a little on the crazy side. There have been numerous moments where I have not been pleased with her because she has decided to break the rules even when she knows she shouldn’t. In those moments I have not happy with her, but my love for her hasn’t diminished at all. I still love her and thats why I want her to obey. I want the best for her.
There is no question that God loves you. His desire for you is that you know and love the truth. However, when you go against His truth don’t be surprised if His rebuke is strong. He loves you, thats why he is going after you so strongly. He doesn’t want you to be punished, but knows that punishment is necessary for rebellion.
The truth is that we will all fall somewhere on the spectrum. The way we live life, view sin, view love and view punishment are all touched in some way by this. So how do we fix our view of God if its off? Simply read His word. I can give you scripture all day but it means nothing if you don’t actively engage your heart in His word.
Hopefully you already have a Bible reading plan that gives you a nice dose of the entire Bible. If not I have provided links below of a few ideas of where you can start:
2) John MacArthur’s Bible Reading Plan