KNOWING GOD by Don Rogers
(Thirty plus years ago God put Don Rogers in my life. He trained and mentored me in spiritual ministry. When he was no longer able to minister, I had the privilege of taking over his “Spiritual Warfare Ministries.” He wrote many fine articles about spiritual warfare. I have edited and printed one below.)
As a child, she lived in a family where she was never allowed to express her emotions, because it would disrupt the peace of the home. Neither parent was very expressive emotionally, except when they were displeased. She was expected to conform to her parents’ standards, but was seldom praised or encouraged. Entering into adulthood she was fearful and insecure, because there had never been any positive process of affirmation concerning her identity. She also had a difficult time when she received Christ into her life. There were nagging thoughts that she was not pleasing God and wasn’t worthy to receive His love and forgiveness. As a result, life was filled with feelings of self-accusation and guilt. She had little joy because of frequent depression.
During the many years I have been involved in counseling, I have been continually struck by the fact that many problems Christians experience in their lives are related to their understanding of God. In the majority of cases, the average Christian’s knowledge of God is deficient and distorted because of past negative influences, especially from family. By deficient, I mean that they have not moved beyond a creedal understanding of God so that they are able to make real life applications of what He means to their lives. By distorted, I mean that wrong conclusions are often made when a person does not properly understand God’s nature and His relationship to us.
The Church has to take responsibility for not doing a good job of discipleship after people are saved. In too many cases, the emphasis has been upon knowledge through teaching and very little time spent in one on one mentoring to apply this knowledge. In many cases, people have been provided with teaching and then left to flounder, struggling to apply what they had learned. Embarrassed with their failure, many do not feel free to share their failure with others.
If believers are not grounded in a proper and practical understanding of God’s nature and work, their faith will be adversely affected. Often, the limited characteristics of humanity are projected into their understanding concerning God. They make God in their own human image or their parents’ image. Their human frame of reference and past experiences become a main point of reference as they seek to understand their relationship to God. In other words, their understanding of God and His dealings are greatly influenced by past relationships and their interpretation of those experiences. This often leads to disastrous conclusions and results. Satan is willing and able to fuel the fire and impugn God when we rely too heavily on experience. For example, the concept of God as a heavenly Father is very difficult for those who had a distant or abusive earthly father. There is the tendency to see the Heavenly Father through the filter of these experiences as One who is distant and ready to judge.
Our knowledge of God must begin with God’s revelation of Himself. As we learn the truth concerning God and His will concerning us, the proper foundation will be laid for our relationship with Him. We will understand who He is and what He is doing.
When I see people consistently questioning God’s actions and becoming angry with Him, I realize that they are deficient in their knowledge of God’s character and purposes. As I observe their problems of low self-esteem and self-worth, I know their struggle is related in part to a poor understanding of themselves as God’s creation. They cannot relate to God’s unconditional love being extended to them continually.
It is not my intent to provide a heavy, exhaustive theological study concerning God, but one that has practical implications for everyday life. (Continued in next blog.)
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