The Problem With a “Personal” God

Then Jesus asked them, “Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not! A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light will shine.” – Jesus [Mark 4:21]

From what I’ve gathered, the vast majority of Christians around the world believe that God is a personal God. That means that because He is ever-present, He can attend to and fellowship with everyone on a one-to-one basis. While Scripture supports this theology, there is a difference between a personal God with whom we can be close and intimate, and having a personal and private relationship with Him.

A true confession of faith in God is evidenced not by trying to live a “perfect” sinless (pious) life, only Jesus was able to do that, but by publicly declaring His grace in conversations, deeds, and in the sharing of the Gospel, regardless of our shortcomings. That is what “placing your lamp on a stand for all to see” means.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 5:16  ESV

Unfortunately, there are many Christians who rather keep their faith to themselves because either they think they are not holy enough, don’t want to offend anyone, or are afraid of being rejected, ridiculed, or ostracized. These attitudes suggest that their confidence is in their flesh and not in the Holy Spirit of God within them.

I have told everyone the good news that you forgive people’s sins. I have not been timid about it, as you well know, O Lord. I have not kept this good news hidden in my heart, but have proclaimed your loving-kindness and truth to all the congregation.

Psalm 40:9-10 TLB

And now you have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago.

Ephesians 1:13

And, then there are those who are satisfied with just believing in God and doing good deeds. Some even feel that by going to church, hanging out with other Christians, and reading daily devotions they are fulfilling their spiritual duties. While all of the above are by-products of faith, there is something that must accompany a genuine encounter with God, and that is the desire to tell others about His saving grace through Christ.

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

Mark 16:15 ESV

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Romans 1:16 ESV

Yes, by biblical definition, God IS a personal God. That means that you can indeed experience a personal Father-to-child relationship with Him anytime, anywhere. However, He is not personal in the sense that you should keep your faith in Him, the testimony of His work in your life, and the message of His salvation to yourself. That would actually be selfish and ungrateful, not to mention heartless. Remember, once you transfer from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light, those around you who are still blinded by sin, may only have one chance to see the light, and it could be through you. So, keep your light on the stand. Publicly proclaim the goodness of the personal God you serve, now more than ever!

You yourselves used to be in the darkness, but since you have become the Lord’s people, you are in the light. So you must live like people who belong to the light,

Ephesians 5:8 GNT

But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?

Romans 10:14, NLT

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us spreads and makes evident everywhere the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Him

2 Corinthians 2:12 AB

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