“O God Almighty, not he God of the philosophers and the wise but the God of the prophets and apostles; and better than all, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, may I express who you are without fault.
They who do not know You may call upon You as something other than You are, and so worship not You but a creature of their own imagination. Therefore enlighten our minds that we may know You as You are; so that we may perfectly love you and worthily praise You!” – In Jesus Name, Amen.
What comes to our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.
The history of mankind will probably show that on people has ever risen above its religion. Man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God.
Fore this reason the most important question before the Church is always God Himself. The most important fact about any man is not what he may have said or done at some time, but what he deep in his heart conceives God to be like.
Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God. What she says about Him and more importantly what she leaves unsaid reveals what she believes about God.
A right conception of God is to worship what the foundation is to a building. If it is made inadequate or out of square the whole structure will sooner or later collapse. There is scarcely an error in doctrine or failure in Christian Ethics that cannot be traced finally to imperfect and earthly thoughts about God. The modern day Christian conception of God is in such a state of decline and decay as to be utterly beneath the dignity of the Most High God.
Low views of God destroy the gospel for all who hold them. Unless the weight of the burden of sin is felt, the gospel can mean nothing to the man. Until man sees a vision of God, high and lifted up, there will be no grief or burden.
Among the sins to which the human heart is prone, there is hardly a sin more hateful to God than idolatry. The idolatrous heart assumes that god is other than He is – that in itself is a monstrous sin – and substitutes for the true God one made after his own likeness.
Let us beware lest we in our pride accept the incorrect assumption that idolatry consists only in kneeling before visible objects of adoration. The nature of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him. “When they knew God,” Paul wrote, “they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”
Wrong ideas about God are not only the fountain from which the polluted waters of idolatry flow; they are themselves idolatrous. The idolater simply imagines things about God and acts as if they were true.
Perverted ideas about God soon rot the religion in which they appear. The heaviest obligation lying upon the church today is to purify and elevate her concept of God until it is once more worthy of Him. In all her prayers and labors this should have first place. We do the greatest service to the next generation of Christians by passing on to them that undimmed and undiminished noble concept of God which we received from our Hebrew and Christian fathers of generations gone by.
Edited and Abridged from Knowledge of the Holy by AW Tozer