From earliest childhood, if like me, you were taken to church regularly, you were taught to sing, “Jesus Loves Me.” After all, the Bible tells me so. From there we were taught the benefits of that love, i.e., if we were good little children—said our prayers and didn’t snatch toys from other children—we would go to heaven when we die. God was like Santa Clause, an ancient figure with a white beard keeping an extensive “naughty” and “nice” list, meting out the appropriate punishments and rewards. You could put in your requests, but they may or may not arrive on Christmas morning.
As I have grown in my faith and walk with God, I’ve learned that narrative is not entirely true, but still, His love and promises have not brought me the strength and comfort I need. In the past year and a half, I have struggled as many people have—you know all the reasons, I don’t have to list them here. Victimization, powerlessness, and fear have all been very real and overwhelming.
A short while ago, that began to change for me. One more time I woke up in the wee hours with a headful of negative messages. I had been trying to smother the flames with a cozy “Jesus” blanket, but that was increasingly ineffective. This morning was different.
There was a stack of books on the counter waiting to be sold or donated. One caught my eye, The Magic of Thinking Big. The Holy Spirit used this secular book to change my thinking and start me in a new direction. While it is not a Christian book, there are some biblical principles in it. The author, David J. Schwartz, Ph.D., stated, “Those who believe they can move mountains do. Those who believe they can’t cannot.” He also said, “Think doubt and fail. Think victory and succeed” (p 20).
This is the message of the Bible. Jesus told the centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant, “as you have believed, so let it be done for you” (Matthew 8:13). This is one of many passages that ties faith to results.
I immediately recognized that I had been putting my faith in all kinds of things that have the power to wreck my life. It was time to put my faith in God!
As I began to move into my role as a Spirit-filled follower of Christ and to base my life on the truth of Scripture, I realized that my old tapes and ideas stood in my way. You may have noted earlier that I said of my patriarchal view of God was “not entirely true.” But, who is God and what does He have to do with my everyday life?
As I began reading that original book and others seeking to know how to access the power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead that the Word of God says lives on the inside of me (Ephesians 1:20, AMP), every resource said the same thing. This first step is to know what you want. If you aim at nothing you hit it every time, right?
Odd thing was, as I worked through this process, I felt more disempowered and adrift. So much focus on me and what I want and how I can succeed.
But God, who started this change of heart was not finished. I began to realize that it’s not about me and that’s good! What I heard in my spirit was, “if you want to be bigger, make God bigger.” I need to find out who He is and what He wants and then get on board!
The kinder, more loving, and compassionate my God is, the wealthier, more generous, stronger, and all powerful I picture Him to be, the more I esteem and expect from Him. The closer and more intimate our relationship, the more faith I have in His promises.
If belief is the catalyst for life, then a belief that God is petty, jealous, stingy, and vengeful leads to a fearful, poverty-stricken life of misery. That is not how God describes Himself and I need to root out every lie about Him.
And so, I am setting out on a quest to make God bigger. Of course, I cannot make God bigger, but by knowing Him as He says He is, revering and honoring Him, He grows in my experience.
David invited the Israelites to “magnify the Lord with me” (Psalm 34:3 KJV). That is my invitation to you. Join me for the next 30 days as I search scripture to enlarge my view of God and His will for my life. Each day will be a short devotional with a brief insight gained from the scriptures. I will include a study sheet for each day that you can download so you can write out each verse and add your own thoughts.
Knowing God is a life-long process. Though I started my quest in the church nursery, I have a long way to go. This is the next step in journey. Onward and upward!