I’ve just started reading AHA: The God Moment That Changes Everything, by Kyle Idleman. Something that jumped out at me was the thought that many times (and I’m paraphrasing) we reject or run away from a made-up god, not God our Father.
In other words, we have a “concept” of God in our minds, but so often it comes from someplace other than reality: our upbringing, family or friends, incorrect or incomplete teaching, etc. But every so often, we’re fortunate enough to come face to face with the true God, and everything changes.
As I was growing up, many of the people in my life believed that that more you gave up to serve God, the more God would love you. If you gave everything to the poor, or if you had a below-poverty salary as a pastor, or better, a missionary, surely you would earn God’s approval. Anyone in ministry who drove a nice car or had nice clothes or other possessions was undoubtedly a fraud, or even worse, a proponent of a “prosperity gospel.”
But here’s the thing: I came to believe that God wants us to live a life of deprivation, instead of a life of abundance. Seeing this written down, it’s obvious that this thought pattern runs completely counter to God’s Word (Jehovah-jireh, life more abundantly, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, bread, not stones, etc.), but somehow this belief is so deep-rooted that even now, I feel a twinge of guilt when I get something nice for myself. (I get that depriving ourselves of food or other things for a specific period of time is an effective spiritual discipline, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about living our whole lives with that mindset, which, as you can see above, I believe runs counter to what God tells us in His Word.)
This is just one example of how we can live our whole lives with misconceptions that seem totally valid. It may be a good day to examine our beliefs and see how close to the truth we really are.