Andy Stanley asks what God thinks about when God thinks about you. What you think God thinks about you really has a huge impact on what you think about when you think about God. I generally think that God thinks about me basically what I think about me. We live and think as if God takes his cues from us. Here’s a big idea, what if God doesn’t take his cues about you from you?
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Here are some highlights from this message about prayer from Andy Stanley.
We learned a long time ago as children that our behavior matters, doesn’t it? Our behavior influences the way people think about us. Our behavior sets us up to keep and make great friends. Our behavior sets us up to be successful relationally, whether it’s in romantic relationships or just relationships in general. So, it’s natural for us to think, well since behavior matters to everybody around me certainly my behavior must matter to God. I bet when God thinks about me he picks up the filter of my behavior and he looks at me through the filter of how good I’ve been. The other thing that’s similar I think that influences the way we think God thinks, when God thinks about us, it’s just culture in general. If you don’t perform well things don’t go so well. You’ve got to perform at school, work, in the marketplace, relationships and marriages. You may have never ever have experienced love that was not performance-based. What I think about me, what people think about me and the way the culture treats me all revolve around this little word “do”. We tend to operate emotionally as if God looks at me through the lens into the filter of what I do. But what if that’s wrong, what if God doesn’t take his cues from you?
At 7:17, Andy continues to talk about what God thinks when God thinks about you:
Here’s what God thinks about when God thinks about you. Ready, he loves you and he couldn’t love you anymore. Nothing you do (there’s that word nothing), are to do, or have done, or planned to do could make him love you less. God loves you no matter what you’ve done, but God doesn’t love you because of what you’ve done.
Maybe it’s more unconditional than you ever thought unconditionally possible. Now everybody struggles with this idea of what does God think about him. Is it possible that God could really love me no matter what I do and that God couldn’t love me more? Nothing I could do could make him love us less.
Jesus found himself between two groups of people, the law keepers and the law breakers. The people who felt like they were close to God because they did everything right, and the people that felt like they would never know where they stood with God because they did most things wrong. Both groups thought God’s opinion about them was shaped based on their behavior and Jesus did everything in his power to explain to them, you’ve got it all wrong.
At 17:49, Andy talks about Jesus using three parables to teach:
Jesus begins by telling them three parables. A parable is a made-up story Jesus made up to make a real point to teach something that’s absolutely true. The third parable was a father who had two sons. The younger son asks his dad to liquidate his share and write him a big check so he could go and spend it however he wanted. The son took everything (his inheritance) and he spent it. Eventually he had to get a job and there was a famine and he lost that job. He was hungry and his friends left him and they came and repossessed his things and the only job he could find was feeding pigs. Luke 15:17 says, “When he came to his senses he said, how many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare and here I am starving to death.” He realizes his father treats his servants better than his boss was treating him. He said I will go back to my father. He’s not expecting to go back and be a son, he’s just looking for a job. While he was still a long way off his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Luke 15:18 says, “Father, I’ve sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” The father said to his servants to bring the best robe and put it on him, put a ring on his finger, sandals on his feet and instantly he’s the son again which means the father never withdrew him being a son in the first place. Verse 23 states that the father has the fattened calf killed so they can have a feast and celebrate.
At 41:54, Andy concludes this message with the following statements:
If this big idea goes from here (head) to here (heart), it will impact every single one of your relationships. You will forgive faster, you will forgive yourself faster. I’m eyeball to eyeball with someone that God loves so much he sent his son to die for, how dare I mistreat someone who’s the recipient of that kind of love. You’ll think different about poor people, about people who are ethnically different than you or speak a different language. You may begin to see your kids different, your spouse because suddenly you realize, wait a minute, we were all hopeless and God loves us all. He couldn’t love us more and he has taken sin out of the equation and his salvation is available to anyone who receives it. But even for those who don’t receive him, God loves you and he couldn’t love you any more. Nothing you do could make him love you any less, but he doesn’t love you because of anything you’ve done. What God thinks about when he thinks about you and me, is that he loves us, He just loves us!