In 1952 an Anglican minister named J. B. Phillips published a book entitled, Your God Is Too Small. His purpose was to expose a flaw in the thinking of many professed believers with regard to God the Father. In his relatively short volume Phillips discussed a number of attitudes toward God that he had observed in his years as a minister. Each of these descriptions captured a perspective of God that in Phillips’ mind limited God and left believers with doubts about the Almighty.
One may or may not agree with Phillips’ assessment of the various attitudes about God, or with his proposed solutions to these limitations of God’s character. However, his point is well-taken. Most of us limit God in some way or another, and this limitation affects the way in which we respond to Him and to His word. Phillips’ premise was that the only way to properly understand the Almighty God is to search the scriptures in order to see how they reveal Him. This is a suggestion to which we can all agree, and from which we can all benefit.
The scriptures teach us that in ancient times God revealed Himself in bits and pieces through the prophets, but has in these last days spoken through His Son (Heb. 1:1-2). The scriptures further declare that the Son of God has perfectly revealed the Father to us. In Jn. 1:14 John said that the Word became flesh, and in Him we saw the glory of the Father. In v. 18 of that chapter John said that no one has seen God at any time, but the Word who became flesh explained Him to us. On the night of the Lord’s betrayal He told the apostles that if they had seen Him they had seen the Father (Jn. 14:8-9).
If we receive the word with eagerness, and examine the scriptures daily, as the Bereans did (Acts 17:11), we will see the fullness of God the Father’s nature. We should understand, of course, that we are limited in our ability to comprehend this, but to the degree that we are able to do so, we can understand just how big our God truly is. Our problem, simply stated, is that we generally fail to take His complete nature into account, even as we seek Him, worship Him, or approach Him in prayer. As J. B. Phillips suggested, we try to pigeon-hole God into compartments of our own devising, and then we are disappointed when He fails to live up to our expectations.
Instead of struggling with a God who does not meet our expectations, we must allow Him to be who He is, and adjust our expectations to agree with His unchangeable character. Part of that adjustment should come simply by reading His word and paying attention to all that He has done for His people. The God who brought Egypt to its knees is big enough to handle our daily problems. The God who spared Jerusalem from the Assyrians during the reign of Hezekiah is big enough to rescue us from our troubles. Most importantly of all, however, the God who forever defeated Satan by sending His only Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins, is big enough to see us through to eternal life.
If we are struggling in our walk as Christians, it just may be because we have made our God too small to take care of our needs. Whatever our reasons for doing so may be, we must repent of limiting God by our own attitudes and expectations. We must let Him be who he is, and mold ourselves to His eternal and unchangeable character. Then we will discover that He is indeed big enough to meet all our spiritual needs.