Our perceptions of the Lord have a huge impact on how we hear His voice speak to us in His Word and through His Spirit. There are many voices calling for our attention—we need to be able to distinguish Christ’s words from all the others because He alone always speaks truth. If we listen to other voices, we’ll be led astray, and this includes our own internal voice when it perceives God inaccurately.
This is why it’s so important to make sure our image of God fits the one given in Scripture. The Bible teaches us that …
He is righteous. The Lord would never lead us to do anything sinful because doing so would contradict His nature and His Word.
He is gracious. We don’t have to worry that God is waiting to condemn or punish us. Having been saved by Christ, we live continually in His grace and kindness.
He is faithful. He always does what He says and will never abandon those who belong to Him.
He is our heavenly Father. He loves and cares for us, both by providing for our needs and by disciplining us so that we grow in godliness.
He is our Judge. All who are in Christ, however, have passed out of judgment into eternal life and need never fear condemnation (Rom. 8:1).
If our conception of the Lord is inaccurate, we may think He’s harsh, stingy, or angry with us. But there is an even greater danger if we think that God wants to satisfy all our selfish and worldly desires—that is the voice of a stranger; we should reject it and flee to our Good Shepherd.