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Are you putting God in a box?

By: aj turner

Paul tells us in Ephesians 3:20 that God can do immeasurably more than we could even ask or imagine. So if God can and is willing to do immeasurably more, why does it seem like our lives don’t reflect that reality? 

Sometimes, our relationship with God can settle into a routine. And if we want to experience something more, we have to start to expect more. The fact is our faith — or lack thereof — can block the immeasurably more God wants to do in our lives. 

What Constraints Do to Your Relationship with God

A boa constrictor can grow to about 13 feet on average. The largest boa constrictor recorded was 18 feet. In North America, many people have boa constrictors as pet snakes. But in captivity, a boa constrictor on average will only grow between 6 and 8 feet long.

So why does the boa constrictor grow 5 to 7 feet larger in the wild than in captivity? Boa constrictors grow in proportion to their container. A boa constrictor in the wild has no limitations impeding its growth. But when it becomes a household pet, its growth is stunted based on the size of the aquarium it lives in. 

Just like the boa constrictor, we limit our experience of God when we constrain our relationship with God to an hour on Sunday or 20 minutes in the morning. Like the boa constrictor, God is bigger than we realize! 

The prophet Isaiah recounts God’s magnitude, writing: 

“See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power,
    and he rules with a mighty arm...
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
    or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
    or weighed the mountains on the scales
    and the hills in a balance?” (Isaiah 40:10-12). 

God is able to do anything. What we limit when we put constraints on our relationship is not God’s ability but ours. We limit our ability to partner with God, to see Him do miracles, and to experience how big He really is. 

What Constraints Look Like in Real Life 

Two big barriers to seeing the immeasurably more God can and wants to do in our lives is our perspective on our situation and our perspective of who God is. 

How much we see God do in our lives directly correlates to our view of who God is. When we view God as the all-powerful creator of the universe, we realize there are no limits on what He can do in our lives. And we expect as much from Him. 

But when we turn our attention to how big our problem is instead of how big our God is, we begin to think things like: 

I’ll never get out from under this. 
No one will ever love me after this. 
There’s no coming back from this. 
Why even bother now?

We stop seeking. We stop believing. We stop praying. Does this mean God can’t change our circumstances? Of course not. But it does mean we probably won’t be part of the solution, and we probably won’t recognize God’s handiwork when it happens. 

If God isn’t living up to our expectations, maybe it’s time to change our expectations of Him.

We can’t box God in, but we can box ourselves out. If God isn’t living up to our expectations, maybe it’s time to change our expectations of Him. God is not like anyone we’ve ever met. 

“Since ancient times no one has heard,
    no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
    who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
You come to the help of those who gladly do right,
    who remember your ways” (Isaiah 64:4-5). 

Our finite minds can’t begin to understand all of the good things God has for us (1 Corinthians 2:9). The all-powerful Creator of the universe loves us intimately. As we begin to believe that, we will begin to see Him do immeasurably more in each of our lives. 

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