What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us... For this reason the greatest question before the church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what at a given time he may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like
The question was then posed: "Has does our opinion of God affect who we are?" First of all, let us be extremely careful when discussing our "opinion" of God. Tozer uses the word "conceives," which means "to hold as an opinion; to form an opinion." In short, it means to create. We can easily create God in our minds to be anything we want Him to be. Unfortunately, we do that a lot in American Christianity. I had a pastor chalk this up to simple semantics: Tozer meant "knowledge" when he was saying that. He is probably right. However, today we must be very careful in the words we use. They are powerful tools the Lord has blessed us with to form and shape our present and our future. He created the physical universe with words; and, in case you didn't read that part, He made us in His image, with the same creative abilities. It is called "faith." Our confessions form our faith, which then forms our reality. You cannot get saved without confessions. You cannot have healing without confession. You can have no good thing in the natural realm without first having confessed the promise for it. But I digress... The point is: Tozer is saying, "what we know to be true about God is the most important aspect of who we are."
"Opinions are transitory forms of thought, floating on the ocean of life. They change with every wave." Jesse Duplantis
We must know God; not have an opinion of God, which can change based upon circumstances.Our knowledge of God will permeate to every aspect of our lives. And it all begins with His Word. It is really easy to tell Christians who know of God from those who know God. How many Christians have you seen in your life, when trouble arises, fall on their knees begging and pleading with God to intervene? Have you heard phrases, such as, "when the Lord is ready..." concerning physical manifestations of His promises? Is there an addiction in your life, or a loved-one's life, that seems insurmountable - that the desire for feels overwhelming? These are evidences of a lack of spirit-strength, resulting from a lack of God's Word. What we know about God is not found in our theology or doctrine books. It is found in The Book. If each of us do not spend enough quality time in His Word, we will always be lacking in our knowledge of Him, His character, and His promises. We also must trust that His Word is Truth. Truth is "the highest form of reality that exists." Therefore, God's Word is the highest reality we have. If it says we are healed, then we are healed. If it says we are Blessed, we are Blessed. If it says we are free, get up and get fired up because you're free!
Confession is the engine. If you do not have enough knowledge of the Word of God, your confessions will not line-up with His Will for your life. We, as a Church whole, do not spend nearly enough time reading, studying, and meditating on the Word of God. We are simply too distracted. But we have the time. It does exist; but we are not good at utilizing the time. We play too many video games; watch too much television; spend exorbitant amount of time browsing the internet; or, we simply read entirely too many books (both religious and secular) that are not the Bible. Spending time in the Word of God is still a "duty" to many of us. We try to get in our twenty minutes of Bible each day so that we do not feel bad about ignoring God. However, after that we sit down and watch TV for three hours before going to bed. We throw it up to "needing a break," "being tired," or even wanting to wait and "give God our best." We live in a fast-paced, roller-coaster society. You cannot wait until life slows down so that you can give God a nicer chunk of your time. Make the time. This should not be a chore to us. The Word of God is "living and active." You would be very surprised how exciting it can be, if you will make time (make it!).
I'm finding that I get some interesting looks from other Christians when I start quoting bible verses so rapidly. I have recently become so engrossed in His Word, that they are constantly swimming through my brain. I do get not bad looks, mostly surprised or strange looks - like I'm the overly religious kid in the room. We claim the Bible is our final authority, yet our knowledge is supremely lacking. Or, we have knowledge of it, but we don't trust it! What happened to, "The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace" (Exodus 14:14, NKJV) Or, better yet, "greater is He Who is in you, than he who is in the world" (1John 4:4, NASB). Hello? Those of us who trust the Word of God have complete confidence that nothing will shake us. That is why Jesus compared the Word of God to building on a Rock. We cannot be shaken - if we know our God and His Word to us. The Word is called a "sword" on many occasions (go find it - that'll get you started in this process). It is the weapon we use when the world, it's system, and it's pesky ruler - you know, the devil - start in on our minds. Confession is the engine of our faith, and "faith comes by hearing, and hearing [comes] by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17, NASB). How well you know God and His Word will determine the depth of your victory, peace, joy, relationships, financial ability, health... The list goes on. Jesus wants us to have an abundant life. He didn't die on that cross for us only to get to heaven. He wants to improve our situation - if we will let Him. He gave us the tool. Learn it. Know it. Here's a few starters (OK, so I caved and gave it to you):
" Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindess and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's (Psalm 103:2-5, NKJV. Emphasis added).
"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5, KJV. Emphasis added)."Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him" (James 5:14-15, KJV. Emphasis added).
"He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed (1Peter 2:24, NASB. Emphasis added).
"The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it" (Proverbs 10:22, NKJV).
"If you consent and obey, you will eat the best of the land" (Isaiah 1:19, NASB).
"Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?... But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:26, 33, NASB).
"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19, ESV. Emphasis added).
For freedom from habits:
"So if the Son liberates you [makes you free men], then you are really and unquestionably free (John 8:36, Amplified).
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" (2Corinthians 3:17, NASB).
"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery" (Galatians 5:1, NASB).
"No one who abides in Him [who lives and remains in communion with and in obedience to Him--deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] commits (practices) sin. No one who [habitually] sins has either seen or known Him [recognized, perceived, or understood Him, or has had an experiential acquaintance with Him]... No one born (begotten) of God [deliberately, knowingly, andhabitually] practices sin, for God's nature abides in him [His principle of life, the divine sperm, remains permanently within him]; and he cannot practice sinning because he is born (begotten) of God (1John 3:6,9, Amplified. Emphasis added).