"What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important things about us." A.W. Tozer
Understanding ourselves and the world around us starts with a true understanding of who God is. As Tozer says, the thoughts we entertain about God and His nature are the most important thing about us in terms of how we live. Every moment of our lives flows out of our view of God- every decision, every thought, every word, and every action is influenced by what we perceive God to be like. Is he good, loving, careless, or distant? Does He ultimately judge our actions? Are we expected to live up to some standard? What we believe determines how we live.
This idea of theology, the study of the nature of God, can be a bit foreign to us as women. I will admit that up until a few years ago, I had not given much thought to whether or not I had a theology much less developing it. What did it matter if I didn't fully understand God? I knew Jesus and the basics of the faith. Did I really need to wrestle with difficult issues like wrath, and hell, and holiness?
In an excerpt from her book about women and theology, Carolyn Custis James poses this question: Are we content to relearn the basic concepts of Christianity, excusing ourselves from studying the more challenging truths? Are we satisfied with spiritual milk?
I came to a point in my life where I had to address my lack of spiritual depth. I found that much of my Bible study centered on what God does for me. Always seeking to apply select verses to my circumstances and find out how to live my life- we all do this. Certainly, God means for Scripture to instruct us in this manner, but let us not forget that we are in a relationship with Him. He intends that we seek Him to know His ways and character, not just His benefits. We have become so accustomed to reading the Bible in search of what we need that we neglect to go in reverent pursuit of the face of God.
As the focus of my study changed, I discovered an amazing thing: all the deeper truths I had conveniently ignored most of my life impaired my understanding of God. To not understand His wrath was to not understand the breadth of His mercy. To ignore His holiness was to elevate myself higher than I ought. To despise obedience was to relinquish the gift of peace and joy of fruit-bearing. I had been missing the depth of the riches of knowing Him.
Now, I know I am a theologian and I want to be a good one- for my husband, for my children, for my friends. How about you?