Which God Do You Know?
God's Word is the measure of His Character. Character can be defined (according to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed.) as the combination of qualities or features that distinguishes one person, group, or thing from another.
Therefore by looking at the words of God, we can see and understand (or measure) the differences between God and everyone else, and more specifically, between God and our own perception of God. In other words we can come to know what makes God unique in all that we perceive about the world. We tend to see God as we are and not as He really is. For example, if we see the world in a negative fashion then we see God in the same way. If we're an addict, then we think of God as nothing more than the source of our addiction. We need to look at the Word of God to get an accurate picture of what God is really like. (One might say, "well of course the words about God in the Bible are positive, they are propaganda written by those who call Him God." If this is a good argument, then why are the "gods" of other religions so often evil, wicked or cruel? Maybe it is because their idea of God is based on humankind and human reasoning instead of the one true God.)
By looking at the Word of God we can see who God really is:
- James 1:17 ~ (NIV) "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." Unlike us and our changing perceptions, God never changes.
- 1 John 3:1 ~ (NLT) "See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for he allows us to be called his children, and we really are!" God, the Father in Heaven, loves us and He won't change His mind or His ways. He will always love us and allow us to become His children.
- Matthew 6:30 ~ (NLT) "And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won't he more surely care for you? You have so little faith!" We have little faith because we don't know the Word of God.
- 1 Corinthians 8:3 ~ (NLT) "But the person who loves God is the one God knows and cares for." To know God is to love God, and He cares (that is He is concerned about us, watches over us, and provides needed assistance) for us as a Father (a loving father, which may or may not be like the one you had) cares for his children.
Another definition of character is moral or ethical strength. By getting an understanding of who God is, just from the few examples above, we can determine that God's moral or ethical strength lies in the fact that He never changes. We don't have to wonder if He is in a good mood or if He will be drunk and beat us. Every good and perfect gift comes down from Him, the God who never changes. We are all His creation and He wants us all to become His children. He does not hate us, he is not angry with us, nor is He the least bit indifferent to us. By learning His Word we come to trust Him and love Him and know that He will care for us.
Unlike the people we have known in the past, unlike the abusive stories we have heard about God, the God of the Word may not be like anyone you have ever known. If you are "lucky" then a few of those people and stories may have pointed the way to the one true God. If not then take a fresh new look at the real God of the Universe, through His Word.
~ thoughts on a teaching by Ed Cole