Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.

Acts 17: 29

 

Paul has been speaking to the Greek philosophers gathered in the Areopagus in Athens; so, his reference here is to the idols that were all around him and that these Greeks worshiped as gods. But it strikes me that there is a word of instruction to me and to others in our times in what Paul had to say. You see, there have been times, and I fear that there will be similar ones to come, where I have treated the God who I do know in a fashion not so far removed from the way that those people in Greece did so long ago.

 

It can be very convenient to take God and to fashion a beautiful package to contain Him. I am not talking about icons and images that we might place in our homes or churches, for I see no problem in them. What I am thinking of is the way that people have of fashioning simple and comfortable descriptions of the nature and the character of God that, in fact, limit that very nature to one that is easy for us to embrace without personal challenge. This process recreates God into a form and substance that matches the life that my flesh desires to live. This is not the true nature of God.

 

Instead of God being shaped by my hands, God desires to recreate me into His already perfect image. God is and operates out of all that I might find appealing and personally desirable at this moment, but He is also much more. He is love, grace, mercy, comfort, righteousness, holiness, and Lord of All. God is the Great Shepherd who seeks out all without sparing any cost in order to bring each and every person on this earth into His Kingdom. God is the One who sees us as we are in all of our darkness and sin and still loves us beyond all measure. He is the righteous judge of our souls, and He spares no one from that judgment; yet, He saves anyone who turns to Him. This is an idea of the full image of God that I need to hold continually before my eyes, for this is the nature and the character of the person that He is working to shape me and each one of His people into being.