Summary: The only way to have a heart that is at peace with God is to know the God that Jesus reveals to us....
“The Good & Beautiful God:
A Heart At Peace With God”
January 16th 2011
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
John 14:6 (NIV)
> Two years ago, I was given a book entitled, The Good and Beautiful God. It was a powerful book that has impacted my life.
> I have been struggling with what direction we need to go between now and the Lent season. It seems that God has continued to bring me back to this book. It contains a valuable message that needs to be shared.
> If you would like to purchase the book, it is entitled, The Good and Beautiful God, by James Bryan Smith.
> The question we all face is the question, “Is God good?”
Do I want to know God? Is God a good and beautiful God? Or, is God harsh, demanding, judgmental, unfair, or absent?
> The world has been asking this question throughout the millennia.
> What is God like? Is God a God of relationship? If so, why do I feel so far from Him? Why do I feel inadequate? Why am I not at peace with God?
> If you have asked these questions, you are not alone. I am with you—I struggle to feel at peace with God. I struggle in my personal relationship with Him. God often feels distant and aloof. Sometimes God feels like an overbearing Judge. It can seem that God ignores me when I speak with Him. Often I feel like a failure in my walk with God.
> So, are we destined to feel this way? Or, is there a better way?
Is there a way to be at peace with God and therefore, with the world around us?
> In Philippians 4:6-7 Paul writes…
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:6-7 (NIV)
> Is there truly a peace like this?
Can we truly overcome anxiety?
Is there a way to live that transcends the craziness of this world?
> Can we truly live in such a way that our hearts and minds are “in Christ Jesus?”
> For years, we have seen all kinds of merchandise with the emblem “WWJD” on it. This represents the question, “What would Jesus do?”
> Can we live in such a way that we always act as Jesus would act and do what Jesus would do?
> And if we don’t live that way all of the time, are we not a Christian? Is God angry with us and is that why He seems to not listen to our prayers or answer?
> James Bryan Smith starts with the pronouncement, “God is good.” Jesus, when the rich young man approached him and fell on his knees and asked, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus responded, “ "Why do you call me good? No one is good--except God alone." (Mark 10:17-18 (NIV))
> Over the next few weeks, I want us to explore the goodness of God. I want us to examine some of our own preconceptions about God and about what He expects of us.
> I want us to work together to change the false narratives we have that strongly impact our relationship with God.
> You see, I believe that the reason I feel such a struggle with God is because I have been taught a false narrative about God. Let me give you an example…
> When the disciples saw a man that was blind, they asked Jesus, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?”
> You see, they were taught that God would punish children for their parents sins. They were also taught that a baby could sin in its mother’s womb—and that God would punish the baby by making him be born blind.
> We look at that and think, “How absurd! What a terrible idea about God! Babies can’t sin in their mother’s womb!”
> But we have some of our own messed-up narratives. For example...
We think that if we try hard enough, we can live a Holy life. And if we sin, it is because we just aren’t trying hard enough.
Or, We think to ourselves that God is displeased with me, that is why I didn’t get the promotion, or I lost my house, or I got sick, or my marriage ended in divorce, or some other bad thing happened to me.
Or, We buy into the idea that we didn’t have enough faith in God, and that is the reason why God didn’t heal my mother, my spouse, my friend, etc.