The following is quoted in Dallas Willard’s “Renovation of the heart.” A.W.Tozer was one of the greatest writers on practical spirituality of the previous century. I think it’s a quote that deserves slow reading, reflection and application!
That our idea of God correspond as nearly as possible to the true being of God is of immense importance to us. Compared with our actual thoughts about Him, our creedal statements are of little consequence. Our real idea of God may lie buried under the rubbish of conventional religious notions and may require an intelligent and vigorous search before it is finally unearthed and exposed for what it is. Only after an ordeal of painful self-probing are we likely to discover what we actually believe about God.
A right conception of God is basic not only to systematic theology but to practical Christian living as well. It is to worship what the foundation is to the temple; where it is inadequate or out of plumb the whole structure must sooner or later collapse. I believe there is scarcely an error in doctrine or a failure in applying Christian ethics that cannot be traced finally to imperfect and ignoble thoughts about God.
From “The knowledge of the Holy” Notes: “Systematic theology” is basically what we believe about God. Ignoble basically means worthless.