Day 1: What do you believe?

what you think about God frames your life

So we must begin at The Beginning – which for Christians – is also The End. That is, God is the Alpha and Omega. The Beginning and the End of all things. But Who is God for you?

Your Image of Who He is affects everything.
You know the “right” answers about Him.
But what do you believe in your heart of hearts?

The Truth is … whether you are male or female,
you were creatively designed for Romance.
And The Lord is deeply interested in your holiness.
But also in the depth of your Happiness.

After all, Joy is a fruit of the Spirit!

And it just makes sense for us to know exactly what His plan for us looks like, yes?

Men and women are equal in value, yet different. Both are created in the Image of God to work together in harmony. And each is designed for a unique role in the relationship.

One is creatively designed to lead, and his partner’s trust and respect are essential for him to be able to lead well. The other is creatively designed to follow, and her partner’s love and understanding are essential if she is to follow well.

So what does that look like?
How does God intend for that to play out in your own life?

A.W. Tozer said:

What comes into our minds when we think
about God
is the most important thing about us.

That makes sense, yes? If you have been created in His Image, your beliefs about who God is for you will be directly reflected in

  1. how you see yourself
  2. how you approach relationship

Most of us never slow down long enough to consider Who God really is and what that means in regard to our own lives.

My Own Understanding of God: The Early Years

Church was always a big part of our family life, even when my parents were together. Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, Wednesday prayer meetings.

I remember asking Jesus into my heart
during Vacation Bible School one summer.
And true to His Word, He came in to stay.

But other than going to church, Mom didn’t contribute much to our spiritual understanding or growth. I don’t remember ever hearing her pray, though she did read her Bible a lot. In fact, she kept it near her rocking chair and underlined her favorite verses with a pen.

Sadly, that was her only testimony.

Like most adolescents, I had a hard time during junior high. Thankfully, our ultra-conservative Midwestern church provided the Rules for Living. And we had the world’s absolute best Youth Group. Roller skating. Camping. Boating. Hayrides.

Trying to make sense of it all as an adult, I composed a brief bio that I shared with folks who asked about my religious upbringing.

It went something like this:

My dad was a Pentecostal. And my mom was a Baptist. Very different. Their marriage didn’t last. Go figure.

Mom moved us to a house that was halfway between
the First Baptist Church and the Nazarene Church.
Very different ideas. She chose the Nazarenes.
So I was raised in the Nazarene Church.
By a Baptist mom. Go figure.

I married a Lutheran when I was 18 years old.
We raised our kids in the United Methodist Church.
Like our parents’ marriages, ours didn’t last.
Go figure.

So Who is God for you?

How do you see Him? What is He really, really like?

  • Loving and Forgiving?
    or Angry and Punitive?
  • Closely involved in your everyday life?
    or Distant and Disinterested?
  • Together with you through all things?
    or you are on your own to figure it out?

Most of us have believed all of these things at one time or another.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  • How has your understanding of Who God is evolved over the years?
  • Has your journey with Him been upward, downward, or both?
  • Where are you now in what you believe about Him?

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God,
“Who is, and Who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)