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God’s Love Must Be Earned (And Other Lies We Believe)

God’s Love Must Be Earned (And Other Lies We Believe)

Theologian A. W. Tozer, writing over 50 years ago, said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Tozer was right—there is nothing more important about who we are than how we view God. Unfortunately, we have an enemy, the “father of lies” (John 8:44), who is relentless in his efforts to get us to believe things about God that are untrue. While there are hundreds of lies we believe about God, let me take you into 10 of the most destructive.

God’s Love Must Be Earned

Far too many of us have bought into the idea that God’s love can be raised or lowered by how we act. God is love, His love has no limitations or dimensions, cannot be increased or decreased, and certainly doesn’t depend on us acting properly.

God Is a Shamer

Shame is a deep-seated sense of being unworthy of love, that it is our fault when someone treats us badly and that it isn’t OK to be a human being who makes mistakes. To cleanse our shame, we are reminded in the Bible that we are God’s fearfully and wonderfully made handiwork, created in His image, adopted into His family and given important roles to play in accomplishing His plan to redeem humanity.

God Has Lost Control of Everything

Given how chaotic and out of control the world seems to be, we can fall into thinking that God is no longer sovereign and has lost control over what’s going on down here. God is all-knowing, all-powerful and everywhere-at-once, three “omni” qualities that put Him in complete control of everything happening here on Earth whether it seems that way or not.

God Is Mean and Vindictive

Some people think God is a mean and hateful being who enjoys making our lives miserable when we mess up. The opposite is true. God has nothing but good will toward us in everything He does and is always out to help us and not to harm us (Jeremiah 29:11).

God Ignores Our Disobedience

We all rebel against God by being disobedient and hope that He will ignore the wrong things we do that hurt ourselves and others. God loves us too much to turn a blind eye to our sins and He expresses His love for us in that He “disciplines the ones He loves” (Galatians 12:6). Nothing escapes the notice of God and because He loves us with every fiber of His being, He isn’t going to ignore what we do wrong.

God Gives Us Everything We Want in Life

Some of us view God as a cosmic Santa Claus who is supposed to give us all that we desire while we are here. God is a gift-giver, but He only gives us things that are truly good for us, when He wants us to have them and desires that we be good stewards of “every good and perfect gift” (James 1:17) that comes from Him.

God Sugarcoats the Painful Things He Wants Us to Face about Ourselves

God speaks the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) when correcting us and doesn’t mince His words. When He challenges us and even when He rebukes us, it is never unkind or disparaging but will be direct and often have a sting to it that motivates us to move in the right direction.

God Changes Us

Some of us practice an unhealthy form of “let go, let God” and don’t roll up our sleeves to work collaboratively with God on growing spiritually. When it comes to our growth and development, God does His part to help us change but we have to be willing to do our part. As the expression says, “God can’t steer a parked car.”

God Doesn’t Know Us Very Well

We erroneously assume that God is much too busy running the universe to take the time to know each of us on an intimate level. God knit us together in our mother’s womb and knows us so well that He knows the number of hairs we have on our head (Psalm 139:13-14; Luke 12:7). People may not know us all that well, but God knows us like the back of His hand.

God Can Be Defeated

God, in giving us free will, certainly allows us to argue and fight with Him, but we are never going to defeat Him. All that happens when we fight with God is that we bang our head against the wrong wall. Resisting God’s plans, purpose, power and promises is truly futile.

What Can We Do to Overcome the Lies We Believe about God?

There are many things we can do to overcome a false view of God but two of the most important are to dedicate ourselves to studying and meditating on His attributes. The more deeply we know God for who He really is, the less we truly have to worry about, get depressed over or hold against others.

We live in a day and age where people are narcissistically obsessed with thinking about and getting to know themselves. While self-examination and self-understanding are good to a point, we desperately need to turn our attention to thinking about and getting to know God. The more deeply we know God for who He truly is—that He loves us apart from how we act, only has good will toward us, is in complete control of the universe, disciplines us rather than shames us, gives us what we need when we need it, speaks the unvarnished truth to us, helps us change, and cannot be defeated—the more we can experience “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) and the abundant life that Christ came to offer.


Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from Chris Thurman’s novel, The Lies We Believe About God. Used with permission.

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