3. Definition

What is God's occupation? What is God doing? Is God working in your life or just standing back watching you?

An age old discussion is how God acts in our lives. This continuing dispute concerns deism as opposed to theism. Deists believe God created all things, but doesn't intervene in human affairs. Theists believe there is a God who is alive, awake, and He can and will move in our lives -- for better or worse.

In Jesus' time, Sadducees were deists and Pharisees were theists. In those days, Pharisees disputed among themselves about what actions were necessary to win God's favor. The trick then, as now, was to figure what we could do to persuade God to answer our requests and supply our needs, assuming God was persuadable.

The Old Testament records Jewish understanding of God's acts toward their people and in their nation. Listed there are six hundred and thirteen laws to be followed. Jewish teachers - rabbis - decided how these Torah laws should be applied in life. The Rabbinical interpretations, now known as the Talmud and Mishnah, were the traditions Jesus loathed (Mark 7:1-23). Those were personal interpretations of Torah creating rituals and works that effectively changed the "laws".

Each of us has our own "tradition" about God's nature, the way God acts, and what pleases or displeases him. What is yours? What do you think you must do to please God?

Can you simply state your idea of God and how he works in not more than twenty words? One dictionary definition of God is: "The Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness whom men worship as creator and ruler of the universe."

What does this say about God's love or his works? Does it say enough? Think about each word used. What does "ruler" mean? Think about perfect power, wisdom, goodness, and creator. Can you apply these words to your God?

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