“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
― A.W. Tozer
We hear it all the time, “God loves you,” “God is love,” but hardly anyone really believes this. Over the past thirty years or so I’ve talked to many people. As we talk about their problems, I’ve found a constant thread running through almost all of their stories. Deep down, they feel like God doesn’t love them.
As Tozer’s quote says, what we believe about God is the most important thing about us.
I want to shed some light on why I believe this thought is one we wrestle with so deeply.
We don’t love God.
I’m not a psychiatrist but I have read the book the Creator of the universe wrote to mankind over and over again and to the best of my ability, I have let Him search out the depths of my own dark soul.
All of us look at all of life through our own lenses. If we love people, we will think people love us. If we are unfaithful, we will think others are unfaithful. If we are deceptive, we will think others are deceptive. In other words, “You spot it, you got it.”
Titus 1:15 says it plainly:
“To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.”
“As soon as they faced any type of hardship, what was in their hearts came tumbling out of their mouths. It always happens, no matter how much we try to hide what we think or feel, we can’t.”
When the Hebrews left Egypt with Moses, they were in high spirits because God had decimated the most powerful nation on the planet for their sakes. They praised Him and sang songs about Him. It looked like they loved Him with their whole hearts but it didn’t take long for the truth to come out. As soon as they faced any type of hardship, what was in their hearts came tumbling out of their mouths. It always happens, no matter how much we try to hide what we think or feel, we can’t.
“You grumbled in your tents and said, “The LORD hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us.”
“If we don’t make knowing God and loving Him our number one priority, our lives will be wasted. If everything we do doesn’t flow from a heart of love for God first and others second, it will count for absolutely nothing. “
They grumbled “in their tents.” I just love how God puts truth in the Bible. We don’t usually tell everyone what we think, but we sure will let it fly “in our tents” (homes). Think about what we share with those closest to us and that’s a small taste of how we actually feel about people.
The Hebrews praised God when they thought they were going to live in the land flowing with milk and honey and have no troubles. They were sensual and pleasure seeking. God knew it and was trying to help them see what was plain to Him. In Deuteronomy 8, He told them that He caused them to hunger and thirst to test them and see what was in their hearts.
Why is this so important? Because He is going to do the same with each of us. In this world, trials and tribulations are guaranteed. Make no mistake, what you think about God will come out.
If we don’t make knowing God and loving Him our number one priority, our lives will be wasted. If everything we do doesn’t flow from a heart of love for God first and others second, it will count for absolutely nothing.
What do we do? The first thing is to get alone with God and tell Him what He already knows. We don’t love Him. When the Hebrews said, “The LORD hates us,” what they were actually revealing was their hatred of Him.
Remember, we largely see others through our own lenses. When they turned their eyes toward heaven, their own hearts of hatred were what they saw God through.
We were all born with a sinful nature and it is angry toward God.
“For the sinful nature is always hostile to God.”
Hostile (Greek) éxthra – properly, enemy (hatred, hostility)
“Confess your feelings to God and someone else if you can. Confess your faults to each other so you may be healed (James 5:16).”
The fight of our lives is to press through this horrible condition. We can’t do it as long as we aren’t honest. Telling God we love Him when we only fear Him is a lie, not love.
We have to get over the shame of our feelings toward God. Our hostility toward God happened in the garden of Eden when they ate the forbidden fruit. We can’t help it. We are just too prideful and self-deluded to acknowledge it and beg for help.
When we focus on keeping God happy by flattering Him and trying to be perfect, we will be the most miserable people on the planet. Deep down, when something bad happens (and it will), we will say in our tents, “The Lord hates us.”
The Hebrews never got out of this mindset. We can be redeemed people who never understand or know our Redeemer. That’s terrifying. If you are reading this right now, there’s hope.
Confess your feelings to God and someone else if you can. Confess your faults to each other so you may be healed (James 5:16). We have a soul sickness we inherited from birth but never doubt that we have a cure.
“LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.”