An avatar is a graphical representation of a user. It’s one of those little pictures that we choose to represent ourselves. It shows up when we comment on a blog, when we post to a forum. Pretty well anywhere we go on the internet our avatar is there to represent us. We choose a picture or some kind of graphical object that presents an image that we think says something about us, probably in most cases something flattering, something that shows our best self. A thumbnail is sort of like an avatar. It’s one of those little pictures that shows up in a folder of pictures. It’s a small version of the real picture that helps you choose the one you’re looking for.
So here’s the question. What does your avatar for God look like? We all have one. We have a thumbnail image of God that we show to the world. Our personal avatar may be a really good looking guy or attractive woman. It may not be completely accurate. A thumbnail that is not a true image of the real thing would not help you choose the right picture. Our avatar, our thumbnail image of God should be a true representation of the real thing.
The problem is our avatar for God gets skewed by our lives and our experiences. It has been affected by our childhood, by the baggage we have collected over the years, by what we have been taught by others, by our daily triumphs and failures, our daily mood swings, by denominational priorities. Our avatar for God is what others see. It should be accurate.
So what are the essential facts about God? What is your thumbnail sketch of Him?
Well He’s omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. We’ve got that. But what else?
He is holy. He is righteous. It’s easy to fall into this idea of God is a grandfatherly type. I let my grandchildren get away with a lot more than their parents do. I think a grandfatherly God is not a completely accurate image. I think we need to get this. Sin cannot exist in God’s presence. That is not God’s choice. He doesn’t decide to punish sometimes and overlook at others. Sin cannot exist in His presence.
What else about God?
He loves us. He loves us so much that He gave us a way to find fellowship with Him in spite of our sin. He gave His Son, part of Himself, as a sacrifice. He gave part of Himself as payment for the penalty of our sin. That’s how much He loves us.
An avatar, a thumbnail does not show much detail. If it did it would not serve it’s purpose. It would be so busy with detail that the essence of the full image, the essentials of the persona would be confused and lost. We should not let our avatar for God get so jumbled with details that the true essential persona of God is lost to the world.