Nicknames: we all have them. Some of us are given names from birth. Others get names from friends or teachers. This nicknaming system can be seen on our jobs, in our homes, at our schools. It has even flowed into our relationships with God. We have all heard Him referred to as ‘Homeboy’, ‘Dude’, ‘Man UpStairs’. Is this ok?
The way we address God, is it just tradition or does it mean something more?
We all can agree that churches across the nation hold on to certain traditions. I grew up in the Baptist church. Do NOT walk across the pulpit. Do NOT touch the communion table. Do NOT wear pants to church for the ladies. No hats in the church for the men. The first lady sat on the front pew. The preacher MUST wear a robe and sit only in the pulpit. Deacons sit off to the side. Of course these rules had no biblical backing, just something that was passed down aka TRADITION.
As we move toward more contemporary services today’s services, you will find a fitted cap on the same row as a mother’s church hat. Although the hymns accompanied by an organ have been replaced by choruses accompanied by electric guitar, have we lost the reverence and respect for God as the church transitions with our culture?
What we do know for sure is that God did not change. Malachi 3:6 says ‘I the LORD do not change…’ As churches transition with today’s society, we have to maintain the attitude that God doesn’t change and neither should the reverence level.
As Christians, we have focused so much on making things informal and comfortable that we have also lost our respect for God.
There are 2 things that we have to keep in the forefront of our minds in order to make sure we reverence and respect God on a level that He deserves.
1. Know who God is.
This is probably one of the hardest questions to answer ‘Who is God?’. He is Elohim meaning “strong one.” signifying God’s sovereignty and creative work (Isa. 54:5; Jer. 32:27; Gen. 1:1; Isa. 45:18; Deut. 5:23; 8:15).
Also throughout the Old Testament, God is referred to as Yahweh which means “to exist, be.” This name stresses God as the independent and self-existent God of revelation and redemption (Gen. 4:3; Ex. 6:3; Gen. 22:14; Ex. 17:15; Jud. 6:24; Ps. 23:1)
2. Know how God compares (to us).
God and Job had a conversation (Job 38-40), probably one of my favorite conversations in the Bible. God told Job ‘Who are you to question me? Were you there when I created everything and set everything in order?’ (Definitely 3 chapters paraphrased)
Those 3 chapters show the magnitude of God’s creation and just how awesome our world He created really is. In comparison to God, we are nothing and can do nothing even close to as incredible as creating a world! Yet in all of His grandeur and greatness, He calls us friend. (John 15:15)
Today’s Christian has become so comfortable with God’s accessibility that we have forgotten His sovereignty.
Although God considers us friend, and He definitely is that, let us not demean His Being to just ‘Homeboy’. Know that we have the privilege of spending time with the Mighty God of the universe. It is not a tradition to acknowledge God by His name and who He is. you refer to a judge in the courtroom on the bench as ‘Judge So-and-So’. You greet a police officer as ‘Officer Whoever’. But we want to address God as just ‘Homeboy’. Something is wrong there.
How do you feel? Should we talk about reverence or is it irrelevant?