“The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (HCSB)
A stereotype is a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea about a person, a people or a thing. Stereotypes are generalizations about groups of people. Actually, they can be helpful in understanding and communicating with people outside ‘our group,’ especially with differing cultures. And often there is some truth to it. Nevertheless, a stereotype also keeps one at an arms distance from those we are stereotyping.
And stereotypes can simply be faulty, such as thinking all blacks are victims, and all whites are oppressors, or all Asians are stingy, and all Americans are loud and proud! Stereotypes are broken once a true relationship is established.
Sadly, this is what some people do with God. That is, they have a stereotype, an arms distance perspective of Him. And of course, it is incorrect!
God totally broke the stereotype when He took on flesh and blood to become a man, when He became like us! He was no longer an arms distance out there, separated by a veil of invisibility, an unapproachable deity. He became like us, to show us what God is like (Hebrews 1:3). And not only that, Jesus took on flesh so that we could become His friends. Up to then, God’s people were considered servants of the Most High (John 15:15). In the Old Testament very few were considered friends of God, though Abraham was called just that (James 2:23), because he knew God and obeyed Him! Before Jesus came, God was above and beyond. He was holy and unapproachable. No one could see God and live (Exodus 33:20). He was absolute and infinite. God was to be worshiped and served. But Jesus made God obtainable, touchable, knowable and friend-able! Jesus identifying with us, meant we could identify with Him! Of course, His incarnation provided us the perfect sacrifice for our sin, as He was like us, but without sin (Hebrews 4:15).
Thank the Lord for making Himself known to you! Ask Him to forgive you for any place you have misunderstood, or viewed Him incorrectly because of your parents, your upbringing, your church, our culture, etc. Ask for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, that is the Holy Spirit, to reveal Him more so you can know Him better (Ephesians 1:17). Pray for a grace over your pastor to know Jesus more intimately. Cry out that every stereotype of God in your church would be torn and thrown asunder!