A hand is going to reveal the playing card

4 False Views We Have About God

Fill in the blanks. God is _____.

Hmm . . .  perhaps we aren’t sure and our mind has drawn a blank.

We might begin with a faint notion that God is love, He cares for us, He died for us. But our experiences and the things we are told about Him by our parents, pastors, and teachers give us the impression that God is more of a stern, cold ruler who gives zero cares about His creation. He’s happier to rule from the comfort of His throne than to dirty His hands and His feet. 

The way we see God affects the relationship we have with Him and determines whether we’re going to have a close and intimate one, or one that’s distant and guarded.

If your perception of who God is has been keeping you at arm’s length from Him, maybe it’s time to re-examine what Scripture really says about Him. Could it be that it’s time to let God speak for Himself and not our feelings?

If there’s ever any resolution worth making this new year, why not make it one that’ll help you see God in a new light–and bring you closer to the King of Kings. 

A playing card show the King is very stern and looking at others

1. Is God is a stern father?

Perhaps our dads were strict and no-nonsense, or perhaps they were abusive and emotionally unavailable. Or they were just hard to please, and we tried eagerly to make them happy by bringing them good grades and buying them gifts–anything that’ll earn “favour” in their sight.

The relationships we have with our earthly dads can colour the way we view our heavenly Father. If our dads are already so unapproachable and hard to please, wouldn’t it be harder with the creator of the universe?

However, in the Bible, we see He’s the “Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in our affliction” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). It can be hard to fathom such a warm and tender Father, especially if we’ve grown up with dads who scolded us for crying or for being “weak” in showing our emotions. But our perfect Father, full of mercy and compassion, welcomes our tears and comforts us in our pain. 

Our own dads might leave us to fend for ourselves (“Kids have to be independent!”), but God is the “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows” (Psalm 68:5), who is prepared to get His royal robes dirty as He actively seeks out the weak and defenceless. 

And being our loving Father, He will not make us worry about gaining or losing His affection, because He has loved us to the point of sacrificing His only Son (John 3:16) and promises that even the most terrible things cannot separate us from His love (Romans 8:35-37).

A playing card show the King is pointing to ask people get out

2. Is God is a killjoy?

God can sometimes come across like a drill sergeant with a bunch of not-to-do lists that run as long as the River Nile. For one, there’s the ten commandments, with a lot of “thou shalt nots”. 

But God isn’t a disciplinarian making up weird rules for us to follow. In her book Ten Words to Live By, Jen Wilkin explains how we have grown to see the law (rules) itself as a “barrier” that prevents us from having a relationship with God when, in fact, “rules show us how to live in relationships” and “without rules, our hopes of a healthy relationship vanish in short order” [1].

God’s commands are not burdensome (1 John 5:3) because they come out of a heart of love; they are designed to protect us so we can live an abundant life (John 10:10). 

Ultimately, God wants us to live in freedom (James 1:25) and with wisdom (Proverbs 2:2) so that we may flourish and enjoy His blessings the way He intended for us (Deuteronomy 28).

A playing card show the King is high above and unapproachable.

3. Is God is the distant and lofty ruler?

We sometimes think God is super distant and aloof. He’s in heaven, located a million lightyears away from us, looking at us from afar with little sympathy for our pains and our sufferings. How would a King, who is perfect, holy, and powerful, know what we’re going through? Isn’t He a bit too far removed to understand and care about us?

But God gave us Jesus–Immanuel (which means God with us!), who came to us in human form (John 1:14) and felt the full spectrum of all of our human needs and emotions, yet was without sin. Isaiah 53:3 speaks of a man who was “despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain”. 

Although Jesus has ascended heaven, He hasn’t left us to be on our own. He is our High Priest who is able to empathise with all our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:14-16). In his book, Enjoying God, author Tim Chester wrote: “God in Christ has retained His humanity so that He still experiences the full sensation of humanity, including human suffering.” 

Furthermore, Jesus left us with His Word and the Holy Spirit (to help us and be with us forever!) (John 14:16-17). The Holy Spirit makes God’s Word real to us, and through both the Spirit and the Word, we get a sense of the realness of God in our lives. Events in the Bible may have happened thousands of years ago, but it doesn’t change who God is (Hebrews 13:8) and how He looks after us.

A playing card show the King is carry a lamb

4. Is God is an obsessive, controlling lover?

Maybe we have had a few bad relationships in the past–a controlling partner, a clingy friend, an attention-seeking colleague who demanded all of our energy and attention. 

So when we read verses about how the Lord our God is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5) or that we’re to love Him with all of our heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37), we think this means we’re not allowed to do anything else other than “spend time with Him” and think only of Him all the time.

But that’s not what it means. God is jealous in the way we are right to get jealous when our spouse gives someone else the attention and affection that should be reserved just for us. He is jealous when we make anything or anyone more important than Him, because He alone is worthy of our highest adoration and praise. 

This isn’t a call for us to lead a monastic life, but God expects to be first in our life, and for us to do away with any wrongdoing or idolatry in our hearts that dethrones Him.

We may, at times, forget God like days without number (Jeremiah 2:32), but unlike a jealous or possessive partner, He won’t lash out in fits of anger when we wander. Instead, He gently pursues us–He’s the shepherd who will leave the 99 sheep in pursuit of one of us, and joyfully carry us home when He finds us (Luke 15).


If this is how you have viewed God, it’s not too late to ask Him to change your heart and give you a new (right) view of Him. Like the father in the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), our God is eagerly waiting to roll up His robes as He runs out to embrace us.

Dear God,
My past experiences with my earthly father, friends, and pastors, have cast a shadow on the way I have viewed You. But I know You’re no ordinary Father. Please open my eyes and my heart to experience You for who You really are. Show me Your perfect love. Amen. 

[1] Jen Wilkin, We Both Need Rules and Relationship with God

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