I think many people struggle with faith because of how they view God. Some view God as a rule giver issuing edicts from on high. Others view God as a divine Santa Claus bestowing gifts and answering prayers. And many will fall in between the two.
Some resist seeing God as an authority figure altogether. It may conjure harsh images from their past. Others resist this view of God for the simple reason of maintaining control.
I believe that it is okay to view God as an authority figure. There are plenty of times when I gladly submit to authority. If my computer goes haywire, I call tech support and carefully follow the technician’s guidance. Sometimes it is a slow, step-by-step process where I need assistance due to unfamiliar territory and a lack of knowledge. Other times I call for a reminder, receive an update, or get a tune up on my machine and I am quickly back on track.
People also submit to authority when they want to master a difficult sport like golf, tennis, or rowing. They hire a coach, pay for lessons, or join a club so that practice can yield a great swing, an ace shot, or a straight course on the water. Practice and instruction will yield better performance no matter what the sport.
People also visit the doctor when they are sick and in need of care. Philip Yancey, the Christian author, shares that, “a doctor is probably the most helpful image for me to keep in mind while thinking about God and sin.” His view of God speaks to our human condition. The doctor wants to deliver physical health. The doctor shares wisdom and expertise that I lack. The doctor also knows what habits, issues, and conditions are likely to cause injury. I often receive his opinion on things to avoid and a prescription that will improve my life. We should seek out God’s advice and opinion for living just like we seek care from a doctor.
It is important how we view God. Often we do not realize our view of God is skewed, but there is a plumb line to show us what is straight and true. God has given us His Word as the clearest description of who He is. In the Old Testament, God reveals His character – His love, righteousness, wrath, justice and promises. In the New Testament, God reveals Jesus – His character in flesh.
Take time to visit with our Great Physician who is always on call. He knows what can heal, cure, restore, and redeem.