On a recent transatlantic flight, I got through several good books. The first was 'Your God Is Too Small' by J.B. Phillips. This book is as provocative as its title suggests. Phillips enumerates different ways in which people diminish the appreciation and influence of God in their personal lives. It left me wondering whether my God (or at least, my personal understanding of God) is impoverished.
In the terminology that Phillips uses, my too-small God is probably the Second-Hand God. I know God on other people's terms, based on other people's experiences, filtered through other people's lives. While it is valuable to read books, listen to others and learn from them, Phillips has encouraged me that I need to get closer to God personally and to start enjoying Him. Another book that I read on my travels was C.S. Lewis' Perelandra. As the hero Ransom converses with the green lady on Venus about obeying her God Maleldil, she utters the best line in the book:
All his biddings are joys.
I wish I could claim the same sentiments for my relationship with God! This would make my devotion feel far more first-hand than second!