Who is God ~ Uncovering the Mystery
As we wrapped up summer, got the kids back to school, and anticipated the coming of Fall, I got to thinking...
Maybe it's a good time to take a step back and do some "back-to-school" time ourselves. What I mean is...as Christians, we might sometimes get in a routine of church attendance, a bible study class, some good deeds here and there, etc.,...but do we really stop regularly and love on God? So what does this have to do with my "back-to-school" idea? Well, it's quite simple really. We can't truly love someone in the sense of actively loving them unless we get to know them, right? I'm guessing mostly all Christians will say of course we know God and love Him. But we can each know Him at different levels at different times as we progress in our journey of Christian maturity. There is also a huge difference between knowing OF God and really knowing God, and that is usually a key difference between non-believers and believers, and sometimes even amongst some believers (like I used to be).
So whether you are a believer, non-believer or seeker, I hope this "back to the basics" look at who God is (a 5-part blog series this Fall) will bring a breath of fresh air to your relationship with Him. Ultimately, my prayer is that through renewed knowledge and heart-felt understanding, you will have a deeper yearning for Him that leads you to (actively) love Him. I'll explain as we go along so I hope you'll stick with me through the series!
God is most certainly infinite and we are hardly capable of fully grasping all there is to know about Him with our eartly minds. However, He shared alot about Himself in His Word that can help us to understand His character. Over the next four months, we will search His Word for some of these revelations to get you started (or help you continue your journey), so you can get closer to falling head over heals in love with Him, if you haven't already. And if you have, well, you know what an adventure it is, so just do it all over again!
For our first of this 5-part series, let's look at
The Nature and Character of God
1) First...He wants to be known
God seems like a mystery to many, both non-believers and believers, and that's because He is! Our human minds can't truly grasp all there is to know about God, at least not this side of heaven. But God is not some distant God on a far-away throne. He wants to reveal Himself to us, as much as we can handle about an infinite God. He knows who we are because He created us to have a relationship with Him. But how can we have a relationship with someone without getting to know them personally? One might know about God, but they may not really know Him in an up close and personal way. Like a close friendship, close family ties, and successful marriages, it takes some work.
So how can we know an all powerful, all-knowing God who holds the mysteries of the universe? Thankfully, that's no mystery. In Jeremiah 29:13 He invites us to seek Him out with "all our heart" and promises in His word that we will find Him! A perfect God cannot lie, so when he makes a promise in His word, it's truthful and real. But while He yearns for us to know Him, it's up to us to seek Him out. He longs to have a relationship with us, and more so than I think we can truly comprehend...just think of the incomprehensible act of love on the cross. The honest seeker will find Him, and come to know His word as truth when and as the Holy Spirit reveals His mysteries.
Even if you think you know Him, I encourage you to start a new adventure by asking Him to show you the way to a fresh and new revelation of Him. Then, let's follow through with a committment to search His Word with a sincere heart. He is always waiting for us with open arms. So thankful for that! Praise Him!
2) He understands (and grieves for) our hurts, our pain, our suffering.
We have all heard the irreverant, but very familiar comments from the unbelieving world - "if He is so powerful and all-knowing, why does He let children starve to death and get raped and murdered?" or something similar. We should always be prepared with an answer for the world (1 Peter 3:15 - Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect). While many theologians do not claim to know everything about why God allows suffering in this world, there has been much written and shared by the greatest of them (as God has revealed to them) that sheds alot of light on the subject.
However, allow me to say in my own words (humbly) that the critics need to realize that God is not some publicly elected official whose job it is to serve the people. It is the people's job to serve God and one of the ways we are to do this is by serving others. Don't you ever want to just say to them, "and what have you done to help those starving children"? Jesus told us what to do when He said to "feed the hungry", among many other instructions he left before leaving earth. He gave us the power to do these things. Why do we expect Him to do our job? Do we expect our bosses to do our jobs at work? And then of course there is the issue of free will. Free to choose, free to make decisions, free to speak, free to act, and unfortunately only some choose good while others choose evil.
We can't have it both ways - we can't be free and then expect God to control our choices. He didn't create robots, but humans to have a relationship with, a relationship that has to be born out of free choice. So when some choose evil acts like rape or murder, we can't expect God to be responsible for that! But He does know what suffering is and feels our sorrow deeply, because He walked the earth over 2000 years ago and felt inexplicable pain and suffering himself. While He doesn't wave a magic wand to stop all the evil acts of men, there are times when He will intervene with grace and even miracles. Either way, He promises in His word to always walk beside us, never leave us or forsake us, and to get us to the other side of the storm.
3) He loves us...just as we are!
God loves us as a loving parent loves their children, unconditionally and without limits. It might be inconceivable to some that the sovereign king of the universe, our creator and an all powerful God would love them just as they are. However, regardless of what we think or not think, it doesn’t change God’s truth. His Word, protected through the ages, and proven infallible, says so. He not only speaks of His love, but He also proved it over 2000 years ago when He sent His son Jesus to earth to redeem mankind. Mankind’s redemption was necessary to reconcile us to a perfect God who we have offended with sin. God’s law required it. It’s not a fairy tale, but a well documented historical event outside the bible as well. This is called the Gospel, the Good News of God’s amazing and incomprehensible love for us, because it is Truth and it brings the world the best news it can ever hope to hear. It is only required of us to believe it and receive it as truth. And only then does our journey with God begin.
If you are a non-believer, you might be wondering: how does one believe and receive it as Truth? First, we have to acknowledge our sinful nature. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. While God created us in His image, He gave us freedom to make choices, and we have all chosen sin. We then need to acknowledge our need for a Savior to rescue us from the penalty of our sin and lead us to the best life God has planned for us, here on earth and in heaven for all eternity. That Savior is Jesus Christ who paid the penalty of our sin on the cross. When we acknowledge and receive this free gift and ask Him to come into our hearts, we have believed and received.
If you are ready, here is an example of a prayer to help you ask Jesus into your heart:
I am so in awe of the incomprehensible sacrifice you made for me when you sent Jesus to the cross to pay the penalty for my sins. If I never knew what true love is, the Gospel spells it out without a single doubt. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for not only talking about your love for me, but for demonstrating it through Jesus. Because of Him, I know I will have a perfect eternal life with you in heaven, spared of the penalty of my sin. I know it also wipes the slate clean starting now in this life here on earth. Help me to live my life with the Gospel at the center, and with Jesus in my heart always. Thank you Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.
For a deeper dive:
The mystery of God (Colossians 2:2; Revelation 10:7), the mystery of His will (Ephesians 1:9), the mystery of Christ (Ephesians 3:4; Colossians 4:3), the mystery of the kingdom of God (Mark 4:11), the mystery of the gospel (Ephesians 6:19), the mystery of the faith (1 Timothy 3:9), and the mystery of godliness (1 Timothy 3:16).
I would love to hear from you! Feel free to leave comments below. Have a blessed day!