When you think of God, what do you imagine? I’ve realized how we view God is the most influential belief we can have.
  1. Genie
    The individual with this view is most likely a type A person.  They’re very accomplished and driven, and are looking for any type of competitive edge they can get (think of the professional athlete who prays before a game for success, but spends the rest of his week building his kingdom, rather than God’s).  They would never admit it, but this person is insecure and hides behind their accomplishments.  They have always had to make things happen in their life so they’re used to getting their way.  They will give a nod to God, but it comes from a place of superstition and selfishness, rather than a heart to know Him.
  2. Fire truck
    This type of belief seems to be the most prevalent in the Church. You find this type of view most often in the South, where Christianity tends to be a bigger part of the culture.  This person does not live a life that is surrendered to Jesus but believes they are doing better than the person next to them.  They have said a prayer, and asked Jesus into their lives, but the works of their lives don’t demonstrate a genuine surrender to God.  They will go to church on holidays, pray before meals, and maybe even take off their hats in church, but their inner world has not seen a transformation by God.  This person wants God far away for most of their life, but when they are in trouble, want Him to get there fast.
  3. Tormentor
    I see this type of belief most prevalent in people who are either agnostic (think there could be a God, but don’t know who He is) or atheist (believe there is no God).  These people attribute all the evil of the world to God.  They ask questions like, “If God is a God of love, why are there starving kids in Africa?  They believe that God is in the clouds playing roulette with their lives, as if their destruction makes God laugh.  God is a jerk and you should be suspicious of people who say they serve Him.
  4. Task master
    This person means well but always seems to find themselves burnt out or under heavy condemnation.  They see God as a Great King who is so high above them and is frustrated the majority of the time.  There is a strong likelihood this person was shamed a great deal as a child and has low self worth.  They feel like they are slaves, constantly trying to earn the approval of a disappointed and aloof hero.  They are easily offended when they see real intimacy with God.  On a subconscious level, they believe they are holier than others because of how miserable they are.  To suffer more, means to be holy.  At the end of the day, this person does not believe they are worthy of love and will subconsciously sabotage and push away real intimacy and friendship.
  5. Friend
    This person is at peace with God and the world around them.  They have fostered a deep relationship with God in what Psalm 91 calls “The Secret Place.”  This person  has moved from praying for what is on their hearts, to discussing with their Dad in heaven what is on His heart.  They are not easily offended and give people the benefit of the doubt.  When they love other people, they do it without needing anything in return.  They have courageously allowed God  and trusted community into the darkest most broken areas of their hearts.  They are not perfect, but they are seen as perfect and intimidating by people who live in the other categories.  They still have insecurities and doubts, but choose to bring them into the light of God and community, rather than pretend they have it all together.
If you felt discouraged after reading this, it’s a good thing. It means you’re humble and God can do miracles with the humble! As I wrote this article, I realized that that at any moment, I drift through all five of these beliefs about God.  No one is immune to it.  The bombardment of worldly messages, spiritual attack, and our own unredeemed appetites, can make even the most devout follower of Jesus bend under the weight of pride, exasperation, or fear.  What separates the friend of God from the one who thinks God is a genie, is that the friend has the humility to admit he’s treating God like a genie.   As people pursuing God, we need community and God’s word, to guide us. God is not looking for perfection or slaves, he’s looking for kid’s who choose a transparent relationship with Him and others.