When you bow your head and think about God, you have a picture in your mind. Is it accurate? Who is the real God? Let’s explore some of His surprising attributes.
Your early experiences, your family of origin issues, and your religious training (or lack thereof) have left you with a picture of God in your mind. The problem is that our view of Him is distorted, and that impacts every single decision you make in life. Have you ever considered to what extent? How would your life change if your view of God was clear and true?
I grew up thinking that God was a cosmic cop. I imagined him in his blue police officer suit with His arms crossed, tapping His toe, just waiting to catch me doing something wrong. So my view of God and the message He was sending me was: You don’t measure up.
Naturally, I put every ounce of effort into measuring up. And by the world’s standard, I did. As a teen, I excelled in every sport I chose to play, I earned top grades, and I even got the girl. I was killing it, and yet my heart was numb.
STARTING TO UNCOVER WHO IS THE REAL GOD
Imagine how my life changed when I was introduced to the saving message of Jesus and I was introduced to the Bible; a group of athletes loved me and cared for me and I was being discipled by a faithful man.
But I couldn’t shake that image of a God who was just waiting for me to mess up. I channeled my overachieving into my faith, asking things like “What if I’m praying a half-hour and God wants thirty-one minutes? How will I know if I’ve done it right?”
Similarly, my group of friends was committed to Scripture memory, and I was determined to do it well. I’d wonder, “So is it a verse a day? Ten? What about a chapter? I know some guys who are memorizing books. I don’t have any books down yet.”
Not surprisingly, as I grew and began my career, I became a workaholic. My view of God was impacting every single area of my life and each decision I made whether I knew it or not.
Eventually, through the love and wisdom of my wife combined with marriage counseling, wise people, and challenging books, I started to replace my “cosmic cop” view of God with the one who says:
You are precious. I find holy pleasure in your happiness. God, though exalted in majesty and power, is eager to be friends with us. He is kind, benevolent, and loving.
Those were foreign thoughts at first. But those are true attributes that explain who is the real God.
What about you? Do you see God as a sweet grandma who gives you anything you want? Or is He unapproachable?How do you picture God? Is He a cosmic cop, or maybe a sweet grandma? He's neither. He's unlike us and can't be explained in simple terms, but He does reveal Himself to us through nature, His Word, and His Son. Click To Tweet
It’s never too late to discover the real God. Let’s dive in together.
Who Is The Real God? 3 Surprising Attributes That Will Reveal His True Character
1. God is not LIKE YOU.
We tend to take the best person we can think of and multiply their qualities by a million. But God is not human: He’s separate and holy and in a category of His own.
Isaiah 40:25-28 says:
To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
Everything in all the world is from Him and through Him and to Him. He is not like you and me.
2. Left to ourselves, we tend to REDUCE God to MANAGEABLE TERMS.
We want a God that we can understand, see and control. We want a God we can sway and manipulate. That is not Yahweh.
Many accounts in the Scriptures remind us how quickly followers can experience God’s presence and miracles and then, unsatisfied, turn their hearts towards something tangible for their hope.
It’s human nature to worship idols. We don’t build golden calves, but we do put our hope in our success, family, kids, education, prosperity, money, comfort, self-fulfillment.It’s human nature to worship idols. We don’t build golden calves, but we do put our hope in our success, family, kids, education, prosperity, money, comfort, self-fulfillment. Where's your hope? Click To Tweet
We overlook the real God and look to these things to give us what we need. Can you relate?
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3. God can only be known as He REVEALS HIMSELF to us.
God chooses to make Himself known to us in three ways:
1. God reveals Himself through NATURE.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalms 19:1
When was the last time you were out in nature and actually saw it?
The theologians call God revealing Himself through creation “general revelation.” In Romans 1, we learn that we’re without an excuse for knowing Him because through the stars and the balance of nature and the mystery and the harmony of nature, we can learn who is the real God. His eternal existence, His character, and attributes are revealed through His creation.
2. God reveals Himself through HIS WORD.
Have you ever played with putty? Remember how shocking it is the first time you press a coin into the soft, clay-like substance, and upon removing it, find that it left a perfect imprint? That is the Word, who is the Christ.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.” John 1:1-2
Jesus, the Word, is the exact image of Christ. If you want to know the Father, look at the Son. The Word was an exact representation of God. Period.Jesus, the Word, is the exact image of Christ. If you want to know the Father, look to the Son. The Word was an exact representation of God. Click To Tweet
3. God reveals Himself through JESUS, His SON.
Jesus explained the Father and revealed who is the real God.
“No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” John 1:18
Do you want to know what God is like? It’s Jesus. This is why I suggest, no matter what you’re studying in the Scriptures, it’s important to stay close to the gospel books, where you can study the life and words of Jesus.
In addition to being the Word and the exact representation, Jesus also taught us about the Father and pointed to Him continually. Get to know Jesus and you’ll see the real God.
HOW WOULD THE REAL GOD RESPOND TO YOU?
The heart of what it means to be a follower of Jesus is to trust Him. But you can’t trust someone you don’t know.The heart of what it means to be a follower of Jesus is to trust Him. But you can’t trust someone you don’t know. Click To Tweet
Do you ever wonder how the real God would respond to you when you mess up? How would He treat you or — even worse — view you after you’ve done something willful, malicious, sinful, shameful? He would respond with love and truth like He did with the woman caught in adultery in John 8.
What about the times when you’re feeling good about yourself and your Christian efforts? You’ve been reading the Bible regularly and even gave some extra money to the mission budget, so you feel pretty holy. What would Jesus say to you? He would respond the same way He did to the Pharisees, whom He instructed to live by faith and not by their works.
What about those of you whose hearts are hungry for the things of God, and yet you sometimes let your human nature take over, but you look to God in those times and ask for help? How does He respond to this kind of temptation? He says, “Trust Me. Trust Me in the hard marriage. Trust Me with your kid. Trust Me with your money. Trust Me with the decision.”
Are you ready to do that? As you begin to grasp that God isn’t like us, that He is in control and can’t be manipulated, and that He reveals Himself to us, can you trust Him with those uncertain areas of life?
To explore the attributes of the Father and learn more about who is the real God, be sure to watch my Daily Discipleship Course on YouTube entitled The Real God.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip