Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Is God Moody?

For that great Love speaks in the most wretched and dirty heart: only the tone of its voice depends on the echoes of the place in which it sounds.
--George MacDonald, “At the Back of the North Wind”

Twenty years ago I attended a Wednesday morning church service where I was regaled by one of the associate pastors on, “The Moods of God.”

“It is critical,” she said, “that we daily discern what mood God is in.”

Being how I am, I spent the next fifteen minutes doing a riff (in my head) on God’s moods.

Crikey. God is really ticked-off today. Better not leave the house.

Hey look! God is quite cheery. Now’s the time to ask Him for this week’s winning Lotto number.

God is weary of my two-timing ways so has given up on me. I need to do something big to leverage His love…Hmmm, I know: Become a missionary to Africa!

Okay. You can stop wincing. The thing is, most of us actually relate to God in such a manner. While the Bible reveals God as immutable* (never changes) and self-sufficient** (lacks for and needs nothing), and, therefore, as not having “passions” (mood swings), we, however, experience Him as being otherwise because we believe He IS other than whom He revealed Himself to be in scriptures and in Christ.

Take, for example, God’s love:

God’s love is unchanging: it does not increase because of our obedience or decrease because of what we do or leave undone. God loves because of Who God is: period. We, however, believe that His love for us runs hot or cold, depending upon the level of our obedience or maturity. In other words, we anthropomorphize God’s love so that it is akin to the love we experience as humans. Our love is often based on what-have-you-done-for-me-lately, so God’s love must be the same.

Consider the parable of the Prodigal Son. When his son wished to take his inheritance and go live his life as he pleased, the father loved him … and let him go. Every day thereafter the father still loved his son. When the son was wallowing in a pigsty, his father was home, still loving him. Sure, what the son was experiencing was a world of hurt. The father didn’t do this, didn’t shove his son’s face in dung. This all happened because he left his father.

All that the father had for his son was love. He wasn’t back home angry and condemning his son to all who would listen. In fact, every day he searched the horizon to see if today would be the day his son came home. When he finally saw his son from afar, the celebration for his return was in full swing by the time he walked through the gate. When he arrived home, there was no recrimination or condemnation: just a party filled with love and joy. In other words, the father’s love is the “same yesterday, today, and forever.”

God does not have mood swings. God’s love for us never changes. He is always showering the world and us with love and goodness. What does change, however, is how we experience His love and goodness in our day-to-day lives. This depends upon the contours of our hearts.

*“ Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews13: 8

**“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. Acts 17: 24, 25

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2014

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