READ: Psalm 50, Jeremiah 43-45, Matthew 22, Romans 1
Humanity has an ongoing tendency to attempt to drag God down to our level. Historically humanity has crudely done this through idols of wood and stone. The more insidious contemporary perversion is an ideological assault on the deity of Jesus. We must constantly affirm that Jesus is fully man and fully God.
God’s intimacy opens the possibility for us to abuse our familiarity with Him. Familiarity can breed within us the confidence to disagree with God, and in our disagreements we tend to err by thinking that He thinks as we do. God thunders into that assumption: “You thought that I was altogether like you, but I will rebuke you” (Psalm 50:21). A crude idol or a diminished Jesus (any detraction of His deity) are equally offensive and are based on man being “greatly mistaken, not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God” (Matt. 22:29). Just because God condescends to commune with us does not mean He is like us. Just because God has promised that we shall be like Him does not mean that He will be like us. It is we who fall ashamed before God and align ourselves with the divine; God does not change or compromise.
There is something stubborn in the our hearts that compels us to attempt, generation after generation, to reduce God to being like us. Ironically, it can be the intimacy only the God of the Bible allows that sometimes leads us to disrespectful postures before Him. We must hold intimacy and worship in a healthy tension and remember we worship God for all the ways He is unlike us. If we worship Him for our perceived similarities, we are actually self-worshiping. There is a part of our spirit that knows– and we must continually allow our spirits to instruct our minds–that God is altogether unlike us!
Not glorifying God, not being thankful to Him leads to foolish darkened hearts (Romans 1:21). Dark hearts result in God giving us over to uncleanness (v. 24) and a debased mind (v. 28). A debased mind is simply where our thoughts automatically go when the safety of God’s light and nature are withheld. If we have reduced God to an elevated form of ourselves, and if we worship that demigod, we eventually become like it–and it is tragically flawed. God tends to give us what we want if we ask for it long enough. If what we long for is to be more like ourselves, we will eventually be granted that horrific request. Spoon-fed far too long on sugary dilutions of who God is and our dubious right to be loved, we have lost a healthy self-loathing.
There is something so incredibly good and pure about God, something so unlike us, that entry into His presence should automatically cause us to despise ourselves. We don’t have to dig up personal negatives; we just have to be factual about the majestic goodness of God. God is so good, so unlike us, that He makes us look bad. If we have lost a sense of ugliness before God, it is indicative we have diminished His glorious beauty and probably think too much of ourselves.