Friday, November 21, 2008

On Your Shoulder, or Back?

Is God on your Shoulder?
- or - do you feel like
God is on your Back?

What a difference of perspective! And yet I am afraid that there are many people who feel like God is constantly on their back, and that it is the job of the church to make sure he stays there. It may very well be why some people avoid church. They don’t want to be reminded how they don’t measure up to God’s high and holy standards.

But there is something missing here, since none of us measure up - correct? Why is it that some people find comfort in God, even though they are not perfect, and other’s feel threatened? It comes down to a certain faith-attitude toward God. When a person truly trusts God, then he/she will have a sense of “God on one’s shoulder.” He is there to provide and to protect; to lead in the right path and the guide our very steps. But when one is not willing to trust God, then he/she will have the sense of running from God, always listening for his advancing footsteps.

Perhaps the big dog illustrations will help. The large gentle creature is as gentle as can be so long as you face him and pet him and enjoy his company. But as soon as you begin to run away, the gentle giant barks and begins his pursuit. Same dog; different posture on the part of the person.

Biblically, we find the invitation to draw near to God. As we do so, we are in a position to enjoy all that God will do for us as a gracious and giving God. But the Bible also uses the phrase in that God will draw near, and in that context, He comes in judgment.

So are you pursuing God, and finding the God on your shoulder to be a source of blessing, or is God pursuing you, and you are running so that you can keep your life to yourself?
SJS, 9/02

1 comment:

Ben said...

Wow, I got out of the habit of checking your blog regularly, and you go and post several entries in one month! :-)
It is interesting in how so many of your recent posts center (whether intentionally or not) on self-centeredness. We've been weekly listening to a series of messages by Tim Keller on Practical Graces - and this is also the thrust of many of those messages, leading to a similarity in what it seems we both have been thinking about. So many ways, I see how I am self-centered in my thoughts, attitudes, and actions. Keller is a little harsher on this though, calling it for what it is - idolatry. Anything that we place at the center of our lives other than Christ is an idol to us. Wow, talk about convicting...but at the same time, there is the idea that God is not "on our back" as you said, but rather on our shoulder - guiding and leading us as a perfect Father should be.
Anyways - just wanted to say that I've appreciated these last few entries as they have stirred me on to more thinking.
On another note, I'd love to discuss with you some time the book i'm (still) reading - OT ethics and the people of God by C. Wright.