by Rick Warren — October 19, 2018
”For the Lord is always good. He is always loving and kind, and his faithfulness goes on and on to each succeeding generation” (Psalm 100:5 TLB).
Even when you’re talking with someone in person, if you don’t know much about that person, you tend to be more formal. I can always tell when people I run into around town are a part of Saddleback Church because they’ll say, “Hey, Pastor Rick, how’s it going?” But when someone says, “Hello, Reverend Warren,” it’s clear they know who I am but not that much about me.
Proximity and relationship determine how you talk to somebody. What you know about somebody determines your conversation with that person.
The same is true with God. Your understanding of what God is really like shapes everything else in your life, including your prayer life.
A lot of people have misconceptions about God. Some people think he’s a grumpy god, who’s cranky and upset all the time, and they think they can never please him. Some people picture the “crouching tiger” god, who is ready to pounce on them when they make the wrong move. Some people have the flaky father god, who’s moody and changes his mind continually about them.
Some people think of God as the cosmic cop, whose goal is just to make sure you keep the rules, or the dictator god, who’s never satisfied and always demanding more and more and more. And some people have what I call the Play-Doh god and just make him into any form they want.
Ever heard somebody say, “I like to think of God as . . .”? Well, I’m sorry, but it doesn’t really matter what you think God is like. It matters what the Bible says he is!
W. Tozer wrote, “What comes to your mind when you think about God is the most important thing about you, because it affects everything else in your life.”
It’s important that you know the real God. If you have a misconception about him, then prayer is going to be a duty and drudgery. God doesn’t want you to pray out of guilt! He wants you to talk to him because you love him. And you will love him more as you get to know him better through his Word.