By Elisa Pulliam, Girlfriends in God, iBelieve.com
I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways. (Psalm 119:15, NLT)
Friend to Friend
How well do you know God? Do you see Him as an "out there" being who is gambling with your life? Is He a cranky old judge, ready to dole out an indictment? Or is He kind and gentle, gracious and forgiving?
Who we think God is impacts everything about the way we live our lives.
Growing up in an abusive home made it nearly impossible for me to see God as a loving father. My faith upbringing didn't help either, as I believed I had to earn God's love and blessing. Can you see how that might play out in my life, even today? Ahem, control issues. I always saw myself as needing to defend myself and provide for myself, because I didn't believe that God would be there for me. Honestly, it's a miracle I ever came to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior in college, considering my distorted thinking about God.
What we choose to believe about God’s identity – who He says He is – is the framework for how we live out our faith.
Understanding the character of God and His inherent attributes influences how we see ourselves and the way we approach every situation. It determines our response to temptations and trials, obstacles and conflicts. It even influences how we respond to blessings. Do we take the credit or give God the glory?
It's kind of ironic, don't you think, that we spend most of our time focusing on ourselves and striving to define our own identity. We allow our roles and responsibilities to determine our value. We allow our past to predict our future. We allow our pain to define our potential. We allow opinions and accomplishments and metrics to measure our worth. And what does that effort amount too? Nothing. Zilch. Nada.
We are a defeated, depressed, anxious, overwhelmed, distracted, stressed-out and downright joyless people who have created an idol of self in search for meaning.
Friend, there is another way to lead life. Since the beginning of time, God's people have done exactly what we're doing – doubting His character, forsaking His commands, and turning from His best in search for something more. And yet God graciously responds to such rebellion with an urging to turn back to Him. To meditate on His Words and study His decrees. To love Him wholeheartedly and obey without delay (Deuteronomy 11:18-22).
By devoting ourselves to the study of His commands and reflecting on His ways (Psalm 119:15, NLT), we can purposefully shift the focus off ourselves and onto God. As the truth becomes our plumb line, we can overcome biases about God’s character and our misunderstandings about His promises.
So, may this very moment be the one in which we choose to seek a fresh encounter with God through the study of His Word, so that He may truly transform our thinking and living to align with His best.
Dear Lord, I want to truly know you. I want to know your character and nature without any presumptions based on my life experiences. Please give me a desire to be in your Word and get to know You personally in a deep way. Shift my focus off myself and upward onto You.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
How is God prompting you to devote yourself to the study of His commands and reflecting on His ways, shifting your focus off yourself and onto Him?
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Elisa Pulliam is a coach, author, podcaster, speaker, and founder of More to Be. She is passionate about helping women pursue a fresh encounter with God and align with His Word as well as equipping women to become mentors and coaches. Her resource, Encounter God: 52-Week Scripture Memory Cards is a great tool for growing your faith. She delights in being Stephen’s wife for 23 years, mom of four treasures, and the opportunity to mentor girls and a horse-loving-life through volunteering at her friend’s farm. Connect with Elisa at MoretoBe.com and ItIsWell.us.