It has been my experience that God is more than my thoughts and beliefs about God. There was once a time where I thought that I did pretty much everything God wanted me to do. I thought God would give me an “A” on my report card. Then one day I hit a wall. It came when my beliefs about God encountered another Christian’s beliefs about God and that person’s beliefs won. They gave my beliefs a knock out punch and that was it for me. I went into some funky depression and had a hard time allowing God’s comfort in. The fact was, there was no room for God because I was too busy arguing with my beliefs about God. Little did I know that in my despair, I had replaced God in my life with my beliefs about God. I had been engaged in this philosophical and theological debate with people at my church and somehow began making an idol out of those thoughts and beliefs. Fortunately–by God’s grace–I accepted the revelation of my error and was able to get it back together.
I realized that God is beyond our beliefs and thoughts. Our thoughts and beliefs may point us toward God, but they will never take us to God directly. Just like you can’t know a person fully by reading books about them or watching shows or talking with other people about their relationship with that person, we can’t really know God by word of mouth or reading. We have to hang out with God like a best friend who is with us through everything. We have to get out of our heads and get into God’s trusting that what God has to say is never limited to our understanding. If we can completely understand it, it ain’t God. That’s why we are taught to not rely on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). If we think we know what God is doing all we have to do is read Job and we’ll give that up real quick. If we really want to know God, we have to surrender what we think we know and be prepared to admit as Job did in 42:1-6:
“I know that You can do everything and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’ “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes.”
I don’t think we necessarily have to get to the point of abhorring ourselves for our ignorance, but I do think there is a natural sense of mourning even when what we are letting go of is false. However, if we do not let go of our thoughts about God, we will be as satisfied in our relationship with God as we’d be if we spent our lives thinking about a vacation and then when we had a chance to go, we just stayed in the room thinking about our fantasy trip. Doesn’t make sense does it? But there are a lot of things we never get to experience because we are stuck in our heads. If God falls into that category, so does everything else.