The One Essential Rule
Never, ever believe anything bad about God. (tweet that)
Most of us have the idea that God is all good and all loving, but we don’t always believe it. For example, we might think that God is good, but live in fear of being punished. We might think that God is love, but spend our energy trying to earn God’s approval. If we believe, deep down, that God isn’t fair, or doesn’t love us, or is waiting for us to make a wrong move, we demonstrate that in what we do, and especially in how we think about others.
To believe only good about God–to live as if God actually is good–we have to think good about God and get that thinking down into our bodies and feelings. This happens through practice, experiment, and training. The first two moves toward changing how we live are 1) changing what we think and 2) how often we think it.
Changing What We Think
Sometimes our thoughts and feelings are shaped more by shame or fear than by reality. For example, we might think that God is a good provider, but feel scared of not having enough. We might say that God is just, but think vindictive thoughts about others. When our thoughts and feelings are shaped by shame or fear, they inevitably become habits that destroy our ability to live in God’s loving, life-giving reality.
Begin to change what you think by asking some questions about reality. What do you believe is real? What is true? What matters? Then apply the answers to your own life. When you apply your understanding of reality to your actions and attitudes, how much are you like Christ? Are you kind? Compassionate? Grateful? Worshipful? Hopeful? The more like Christ you become, the closer to reality and truth you are.
Below you will find some questions about reality that people have been asking for millennia. The answers provided here are those that, with time and testing, Christians have found to be both life-giving and true. They are what we at Christian Simplicity call the “God Ideas.”
What kind of person is God?
- God is holy.
- God is wholly good.
- God loves me, because I am God’s treasured child.
- God wants to spend time with me.
- God is not waiting to chastise or punish me, but to guide me and delight in me.
What about Jesus?
- Jesus is the full image of the Father. What I see in Jesus is true of his Father.
- Jesus invites us to live in his Father’s kingdom–God’s world–right now.
- We can learn to live in God’s kingdom by becoming Jesus’ apprentices in kingdom living.
What is God’s kingdom?
- God’s kingdom is wherever God is in action, and where God’s will is done.
- God’s kingdom is real. It is within me and around me now, in this life and on this earth.
So, if all this is true — God is good and loves me, and what I see in Jesus is true of his Father, and God’s kingdom is within and around me now — what does this mean for my daily life?
- Life in God’s kingdom is life-giving. Sin–existence outside of the influence and power of God’s kingdom–is life-destroying. Thus, my choices are less about right and wrong than about life-giving and life-destroying.
- Life in God’s kingdom necessarily involves other people. It is not just between me and God, but among me, God, and everyone else too.
- I have enough. And it’s all God’s.
- I am enough. So are others.