I Want to Believe, But…On Demand God 

Introduction:

It can be difficult to believe in a God we cannot see. We wonder why God didn’t answer our prayers, why God allows suffering, or why we can’t feel His presence. God may not meet all your expectations—but that’s good news. In the new 4 week series I Want to Believe, But…, we’ll discuss four different versions of “God” which don’t exist—they’re fabrications people often want to believe about the nature of God. But when we start to put God in a box, we create our own ideas about Him and what He’s supposed to do for us. 

Bottom line: On demand God does not exist. 

Something To Talk About:

  1. God’s heart is always loving: Because God is love. A relationship with God is like no other relationship you may have experienced. God has a unique kind of love for you. It is unconditional (not based upon meeting certain conditions). “God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10) He does not love you based upon your performance, or your circumstances. There is nothing you can do to cause God to love you any more than He already does—and there is nothing that will cause God to love you any less. In opening your life to Christ, you have found total love and acceptance. God says, “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” (Jeremiah 31:3).
  2. God’s ways are always higher: “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”  God’s thoughts, plans, ways, methods, and strategies are infinitely higher and greater than my own. They are better in every way. They take me by surprise. They go where I could have never dreamed. They are accomplished in ways that surpass any and all expectations that I ever had. What kind of god would God be if we could wrap our minds around Him and His ways? What kind of god would He be if we could predict where He would go and how He would get there? What kind of god would He be if He worked out of the same small and limited view of the world and history that we do? I will tell you what kind of god He would be. He would be small. He would be like us. He could be rivaled. He could be called into question and it would be right to doubt Him. But He is none of those things. He is working from a vantage point we can’t even comprehend, with power to execute His plan so great no one can thwart His will for even a millisecond. The chasm that exists between His plane of thought and ours is too big for words to capture. It is pointless to even try.
  3. God’s presence is always enough: Life can be tough. It can be hard. There are days when we wonder where God is, and why He doesn’t take a bigger interest in what is going on in our lives. But nothing could be farther from the truth. God is enough, even if it doesn’t feel like it. When all you have is God, you have all you need. He is enough. He carries us when we are weary, He picks us up when we fall, and He forgives us when we sin. He is all-sufficient and all-proficient for every single day and and every single need of our life. The One who knew us before we were formed in our mother’s womb. The One who counted the hairs on our heads. He is always enough. “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)

Questions:

  1. Why do we tend to treat God as a cosmic vending machine?
  2. Why is it challenging to trust that God’s ways are higher than our ways? How can we overcome these obstacles? Why do you think that God decided to tell us that His thoughts and ways are so much higher than ours? 
  3. God promises His children that He is always with them and that He will never forsake them. How should that affect our daily lives?
  4. Are your prayers more focused on submitting to God’s will or asking Him to carry out your desires? How did you come to praying this way?
  5. What does it look or feel like when you experience the love and presence of God? Can you give some examples?
  6. Are there any areas in your life where you still don’t think God is enough? What are they and what can you do? How would believing that God is enough change the way you live your life and deal with your circumstances? 
  7. What was your biggest takeaway from Sunday’s message? What one thing have you been thinking about (a new idea, question, challenge, or an application)?

Take One Thing Home with You:

Since we live in an “on-demand” world, where we want everything now, we expect the same from God. Some people think that God exists to grant us our every want and whim. They use God like a genie, a divine butler in the sky that gives us whatever we ask for without hesitation. We want God to be like us.  We want God to want the things we want.  And when we don’t get the answer in this fashion, we think maybe God is not all powerful or good. But God’s purposes so dwarf our “in the moment” wishes that we are staggered by His wisdom and foresight on our behalf. When God is given little or no thought except when we need or want something from Him, we’re essentially treating Him like a genie in a bottle.  We uncap Him when it serves us and bottle Him up the rest of the time.  

But God doesn’t exist to serve us. We exist to serve Him. We aren’t the main character, in the Bible, God is. God is the Creator and we are the created. He is the Potter and we are the clay. He is the Lord and we are His servants.