Posts Tagged ‘Your God is Too Small’

Dare I really let God be to me all that He says He will be? (1)

Most of us want God to be a half-god to us.  

  • We want Him to be present in our lives, but not ever-present, because then He will interfere in our plans.
  • We want Him to be all-powerful, but not when credit is being given for a job well done by us.
  • We want Him to be holy and just, but not when we are enjoying an adventure in darkness and sin.

In 1952 J. B. Phillips published Your God Is Too Small.  His book became an instant devotional classic, from which comes this quote:

We create God in our own image, resulting in an anemic deity no more wise or powerful than we are, and certainly incapable of creation, maintenance, or salvation.

A small god begins with the misreading of Genesis 1:27: God created man in his own image.  

Our greatest sin is that we create god into our own image

Yes, this is idolatry:

The re-creation and re-imaging of God as a deity who meets our every need, desire, wish, and concept of how to best run the world.

We create idols because God is too much for us in all of His God-ness.  Thus, we prefer to slice and dice Him into palatable bits and pieces.  

We prefer to encounter God in small doses.  This is why we insist on worship being an hour long and assume worshipping Him twice a month, except on vacation and during the summer, as commendable for any believer.

We prefer God to give us a daily baby aspirin, rather than be our heart transplant surgeon.  Yes, we want Him to place a new heart in our enemies, spouses, and kids, but as for us, we simply want Him to give us a God-vaccination, just enough to save us in times of tribulation.

However … 

If you are tired of your god, whom you have made far too small, then pray to Him and ask Him to be all He can be for you.

You’ll be glad you did

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  1. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986).

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Is Your God Too Small?

J. B. Phillips coined the phrase “Your God Is Too Small” as the title of his famous book, written in 1961.  He wrote the book for believers and skeptics.  It is well-written, short and concise, an easy read.

He begins the book by outlining 12 false understandings of God, which limit Him to the narrow understanding of many people.  In the remainder of the book He writes about GOD in all of His BIGNESS.

The premise of the book is that our image of God was too small to meet the needs of the modern world of 1961.

I was a young kid back in those days.  My world extended as far as the local school yard and trips to my grandparents.  My world was pretty small and God was awfully big to me.

As I have matured, my interest in the bigness God has dwindled.  The designation God is an all consuming concept.  God is never a small thing.

People talk about God less and less in today’s world, while their personal gods get bigger and bigger.  

In today’s digitalized, techno-driven, fast-paced, information-overload, app-driven world, I need to know God, I need to feel His presence, to be assured that He loves me.

Lois Cheney’s words in her book God Is No Fool resonate in my heart:

It is good, in the magnificent sense to know that God is a friend to humans. I know of no religion in which the God is both God and friend. 

We fear because God is all-powerful. 

We worship because God is all goodness. 

We bow in humility because God is all master. 

We serve because God is all-purposeful. 

But perhaps the most significant thing of all is that 

We love, because God is a friend forever. (1)

If you do not know God as your friend, then your God is too small.

Jesus said, No longer do I call you servants … I now call you my friends.”   (John 15:15)

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  1. Cheney, Lois A. (2005-03-01). God is No Fool (pp. 83-84). Autism Today. Kindle Edition. 

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