There are a ton of ideas out there about what God is like. From the dawn of time mankind has been pondering the question of whether or not God exists, and if he does, what he is like.
I’ve been in many conversations with people about what God is like. Usually those folks have some kind of idea in their minds about what God’s like, but those ideas about God’s nature are usually very far removed from what the Bible reveals.
It is amazing to me how people’s understanding about God can range all over the map. Often they say something to this effect:
If insignificant me can effortlessly conceive a God who is _____________ (fill in the blank with however they think God should be), then I’m pretty sure your vision is wrong.
Most times their concept is completely different from what the Bible reveals about God’s character.
Jesus is Our Picture
The disciples of Jesus walked with him for three years. But even after all that time they still struggled to understand God’s character. On the very night before Jesus was crucified they asked him to show them the Father.
In response Jesus said, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.”
Jesus perfectly reflects the character of God.
That means we can study the Gospels and the life of Jesus to get an accurate picture of who God is. The way Jesus treats people is the way God treats us. What Jesus said to people is what God says to us. Jesus’ attitude towards people is God’s attitude towards us.
You can’t read through the gospels, see all the things Jesus said and did and come away with a view of Jesus like most folks share with me. In fact, Jesus is pretty much the antithesis of all those things they think.
If Jesus isn’t like those things, then neither is God.
God is Love
John tells us that God is love. (1 John 4:8) That means if we know what love is, we can begin to get a picture of God’s character.
Fortunately Paul gives us a fairly comprehensive definition of love in 1 Corinthians.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. — 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
So by extension, here is what we can say about God’s character.
- God is patient
- God is kind
- God does not envy
- God does not boast
- God is not proud
- God does not dishonor others
- God is not self-seeking
- God is not easily angered
- God keeps no record of wrongs
- God does not delight in evil
- God rejoices in the truth
- God always protects
- God always trusts
- God always hopes
- God always perseveres
- God never fails
Again, that is a very different picture of God than most people have in their understanding.
See God As He Is
I’m just barely scratching the surface when it comes to describing God’s character. His goodness knows no end. We’ll have all of eternity and still we won’t exhaust it.
It saddens me when people reject God, especially when their understanding of God is so far removed from who he actually is. Quite frankly, if God were most people describe I wouldn’t want anything to do with him either.
As Christians it is our job to share with people God as he is found in the Bible in all his goodness. When people truly understand how good God really is, only then can they make an informed decision as to whether they want anything to do with him or not.
If we don’t we leave them rejecting someone who doesn’t even exist.