Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Freeing God from the "God Box"

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty,but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." - Isaiah 55:8-11

Ever watched people try to figure out God???? They try to peg Him into their notions of whatever it is that they think God should be and they put Him into this "God box" of sorts. You've seen it happen. These are folks who get bent out of shape when the offering is taken at a different place in the order of worship, or the pastor leaves out a poem from his sermon points. Or they only expect God to work or act in certain ways... according to their will -- not His. These are the same people who don't spend time building their relationship with God... They sit and expect God to do all that they ask of Him, but rarely spend any time getting to know Him. They create these boundaries for God, and whenever God decides to do something different -- perhaps outside the box, they get depressed and wonder if God truly loves them, doubt His existence, blame Him for self-imposed ills, and really become a mess.

The thought of some people opening up their imaginary "God boxes" makes me giggle. Seriously. It's like that old Warner Brothers cartoon, "The Singing Frog." You remember: the guy runs across a singing frog in a box. And whenever he opened the box, he heard, "Hello, my honey... hello my baby... hello, my ragtime gal!" As soon as the box is slammed shut the frog is silenced. The guy takes the frog to agencies, expecting to make a quick buck off of the frog, but the frog instead just sits there.... all frog-like... and does nothing.

The man desperately tries to make the frog sing in front of the agent. But to no avail. He dances, pulls out his hair, and pokes the box... All to make the frog dance and sing, but the frog will not cooperate. Then the minute he walks out the door and opens that box, the frog is singing at the top of his little froggy lungs. This goes on for a while and finally, the guy gives up. He puts the frog back in the box, slams the lid shut and leaves the frog for the next guy to come along.

We want God to show up when we need Him, but we don't want to take the time to know Him to build a real relationship with Him. (We don't build them with other people. Why should we build a relationship with the God of the Universe?) We have this notion that as long as God can fit into a small box the size of a Big Mac burger box, it's all good. We say grace, give God a "tip" on Sunday, show up for the Sunday morning services, shake hands with a couple of people, pat ourselves on the back, and feel we've done our duty for the day.... or for the week.

And God just sits in the heavens and laughs.

He knows we're going to call on Him, and when we do, He may or may not fix the problem. And when He doesn't answer at our beck and call or we try to figure Him out because He didn't do what we expected of Him (like some genie in the sky),we become whiney and grumpy. We blame Him for being the cause of the mess that we actually created. And sometimes we become downright mad at Him.... when we know all along that we are the one who has acted like the spoiled child.

Last Sunday, I heard a pastor say, "A god you can figure out is not a God who can save." Mull over that for a little bit... "A god you can figure out is not a God Who can save."

We spend a lot of our time as believers often trying to peg God and to put Him into this "God box"... and we open the box to let out a little bit of God whenever we desire a little bit of God. But when we're done with that little taste of God, we put Him right back in the box and
close the lid.

And Heaven forbid, if we let too much of God out of the box! The Holy Spirit might take control of us and we might just turn into some sort of fanatical crazies!!! So, we quickly slam the lid shut!

The really weird part is that we often hang onto the "God box." And that's about as ludicrous as hanging onto the box that once held your Big Mac last week... We don't like change. We don't want to get out of our settled patterns because we are afraid that God might actually do something in our lives. Or, worse -- He might expect something from us!!!!

So, how do we break out of this mentality of the "God box"? How do we release God from our ideas of what He should be and just let Him be God?

We spend time with God in His word:

"I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways."- Psalm 119:15

We hang out with Him... talk to Him:

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray
standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell
you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you
pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.
Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." - Matthew 6:5

We hang out and get to know the rest of His kids on the planet:

"All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had." - Acts

We actively participate in genuine worship:


"What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church." - I Corinthians 14:26


"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will." - Romans 12:1-2

We listen to our hearts and when we're hungry for God, we fill them with Truth:

"As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs after You. You alone are my heart's desire and I long to worship You." - Ps. 42:1

We throw away the junk -- "God box" and all -- and imitate God instead:

"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children
and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up
for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." - Ephesians 5:1-2

We have a Servant's heart:

"Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men." - Ephesians 6:7

We let the Holy Spirit have complete control:

"The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is
life and peace." - Romans 8:6

Loose Him from that God Box!!! Let Him have the freedom to work in you and in your circumstances... Allow Him to move in your church the way that He wants to move, not from your own pre-conceived notions of what church is supposed to be. Expect God to do something that you could never accomplish on your own... and then let Him be God.

1 comment:

  1. Well said, Bitsy! I love that quote "A god you can figure out is not a God who can save..."
    I remember that frog too. Gave me a little giggle as I read it!


Thanks for your comments...