The Foundation of a Living Faith
If you were even remotely tuned in to television during the mid to late 90’s you are familiar with America’s love affair with Gidget the dog. She became so popular that she flew first-class, opened up the New York Stock Exchange, and even made an appearance at Madison Square Garden. Gidget starred in numerous commercials and transcended the “burger wars” in which numerous fast-food chains were actually producing advertisements against one another. You will remember her as the Taco Bell chihuahua, probably assuming it was a boy dog. Often dressed in classic Mexican gear, she spoke using special effects via the professional voice of Carlos Alazraqui. Many of her lines became mainstream to American culture: “Yo quiero Taco Bell!” “Viva Gorditas!” “Drop the chalupa!”
My personal favorite first appeared in 1998. The scene featured the downtown streets of a large city late at night. Homemade signs were posted in various places pointing the way to a plate of tacos on the sidewalk. Gidget stood expectantly near her “bait”. In her mouth was a rope tied to a stick holding up a box. She was ready for her unsuspecting prey. In the darkness of the night she called out, “Here, lizard, lizard!”
Unexpectedly, a loud and threatening growl and imposing shadow steals the moment. A hungry and aggressive Godzilla appears. At the sight of the oversized monster reptile, the little dog promptly drops the rope and, in apparent shock, utters, “Uh-oh! I think I need a bigger box!”
Our God is Too Small
Like the little canine, we are all on a quest to find something that ultimately proves bigger than our expectation or capacity. Regardless, every soul searches. Some discoveries prove to be misguided. Others are completely transformational. Most are somewhere in between. In any case, we need the bigger and better box of a clear biblical understanding and a regular renewal in the truth of the one true God.
Have you ever considered that all of your life is ultimately an expression of your theology? Let’s go slow here, as theology is not a topic usually discussed during early breakfast or casual conversation. The word comes from two Greek terms: “theos,” which means “God” and “logos,” which primarily refers to the “study of” something. Most simply, theology is “our view of God.” This personal view exerts a great influence on us because everyone ultimately lives out his or her belief (or lack thereof) about the existence and character of God. This belief shapes identity, forms a sense of purpose, and determines our real values in life.
Proverbs tells us repeatedly that, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Applying practical truth to daily life begins with our understanding of God. Knowing how we should live is anchored in the bedrock of our God-concept.
Today, our culture has taken advantage of the exploding list of options to create their own smorgasbord-designed understanding of God. We’ve designed “gods” that work for us, based on our momentary appetites and attractions. Even the “non-religious” box is being checked with unprecedented frequency, up to over 15% percent in 2010 from just 8% percent in 1990. [i] British preacher G. Campbell Morgan summarized our present moment well, even from his early 1900’s vantage point: “When men lose the consciousness of God they do not lose their sense of the need of God; and consequently they substitute the false for the true.”
When it comes to our view of God in today’s society almost anything goes. A plethora of Eastern religions are finding their way into the mix of modern-day “spirituality” with increasing influence. “Allah” is in the news every day in places where Islam was unheard of decades ago. Agnostics still aren’t sure what they believe and are eager to invite you into the ranks of the undecided. Humanists continue to trust in their own shifting, man-centered ideas with resolute passion. The New Age syncretism attracts countless seekers. Atheists are now featured on the best-seller list of books and they have officially coalesced to poke fun at “less intelligent” religious people. Organized religion, often a works-based approach to faith in hopes of tipping the eternal scales in favor of the good deeds over the bad, remains a culturally acceptable option for the traditional of mind. A.W. Tozer warns, “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.” [ii]
Responding to His Divine Determination
The God who wants to have a living, intimate, and daily relationship with us longs to be discovered by mankind, the object of His love. The grandeur of creation bids us to seek Him. In His loving determination, God went even further than all of the biblical descriptions of truth in His written revelation. He so wants us to know Him that He entered our world to be seen, heard, and touched. His feet trod the streets of Jerusalem. Drops of His blood fell on the soil at Calvary. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The Gospel of John goes on to say, in chapter one, that we have seen His glory, “glory as of the only begotten from the Father…who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” Jesus is God’s explanation of Himself. So, if you want to have a firm foundation of truth upon which to base your life, study Jesus Christ.
Beyond creation, Scripture, and the incarnate word, believers are empowered for spiritual intimacy by the indwelling truth of the Spirit of God. If I wanted my children to really understand some truths in life, I would likely do three things: try to explain these truths, endeavor to demonstrate them, and even hire a personal tutor to assure that they are really learning these realities. God, in His perfection, has provided a personal indwelling tutor. The Holy Spirit is the very presence of God, illumining our minds and guiding our hearts to a transformational understanding and application of who He is.
How Firm a Foundation
This happens only as you commit yourself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ as revealed in the written truth of God. Unless God indwells you, the basis for life decisions will forever be a cracked support of facts and ideas. It will never be an integrated, firm foundation of truth.
God wants you to know Him even more than you want to. When you make that commitment, by His resident power, knowledge, and wisdom, He will teach you about Himself. As you spend time with Him and study about Him, you will grow in your love and understanding of Him. This is how to develop the firm foundation of truth for your life.
Copyright © 2014 Daniel Henderson. All rights reserved.
[ii] A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, Christian Publications, Camp Hill, PA