The number-one word used to describe God is LOVE—and that’s true. God is love. The Bible tells us this in 1 John 4:7-8:
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
But we all know there is more to love than the warm fuzzies and everything being picture-perfect. We know love also involves accountability, selflessness, saying no, sacrifice, faithfulness, compromise, and justice. And THAT is who God is.
The different perceptions of God
Some see God as the all-loving kind of guy who takes care of sick grandmas and puppies and goldfish who go to heaven. Others see God as the one you go to when you want something or as that last resort when you get in over your head.
There are also those who choose to see God only from the warm fuzzy love point of view. They claim the whole “God is love” message as their platform for justifying everything they do and say whether it goes against Biblical teaching or not. And then there are those who see God as an angry, finger-pointer waiting to punish.
So…who is right? Who has the truest perception of God’s persona? The answer to that question is everyone… and no one. God’s character is so complex, but by His grace we can find out an accurate picture of who He is and how we can relate to Him.
To explain what I mean, let’s look at what the Bible says about who God is and how his character and personality can (and should) influence our lives.
God is the creator
Genesis 1:1 tells us, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Psalm 24:1-2 and Ecclesiastes 3:11 also tell us that God is the creator and ruler of all.
Just like God started with the bare basics of separating the heavens from the earth and light from darkness, we must begin our life of faith by understanding that God is the creator. In doing so, we are able to see the awesomeness of God’s personality on display when we give him credit for the intricacies that went into making bumblebees, giraffes, and snowflakes.
We are able to see his eye for beauty in roses, the vastness of the Rocky Mountains, and the power behind the ocean waves. And most of all, we see his genuine love for what he creates in each human life that comes into this world—so unique and perfectly wonderful.
God is personally interested in YOU
When looking at this aspect of God’s character, we usually gravitate toward Psalm 139—which I strongly encourage you to read this week. But today I want to look at Psalm 5:3: “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly”. (NIV).
I chose the NIV translation for this verse because I love the image that comes to mind when I read ‘wait expectantly’. David knows God is listening and that he cares deeply about his every thought. What’s even more encouraging is that David fully expects God to answer.
David is no more special to God than you are. God is personally interested in every minute aspect of your life. So when you trust God with the details of your life like David did, you can hold fast to the truth that God hears, listens, and answers; making sure you have the best life he created you to have.
God is selfless
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)
This passage is one of many found throughout the Bible that tell us not only that God loves us, but how much and why he loves us.
Sometimes we have trouble understanding the depth of God’s selflessness, but it’s there because he created us out of love and a desire for our companionship. God wants to be with us.
Let’s look at two more verses that tell us this before we move on…
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8)
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
God is just
To explain the just-ness of God’s character isn’t easy. On one hand we have the wrath and anger of God we see in the Old Testament. And on the other hand we have the extreme measure of patience God shows for us by allowing us to make mistakes all while he is waiting patiently to forgive us, comfort us, and extend his blessings to us when we are in a position to receive them.
So which is it? It is both. Even though God’s perfect justice means that he must punish sin, He chose to put that punishment onto His son Jesus as a sacrifice in our place. His perfect love and mercy made a way for us to escape punishment, as long as we accept Jesus’ death in our place.
God is love
When you put it all together, what do you get? You get love and that is what God is. He is our father. Just like every good parent teaches, protects, disciplines, nurtures, and listens to their children, God parents us in the same fashion.
Just like a mother or father knows that love without discipline isn’t really love or that parenting requires selfless sacrifice and intense personal investment into the lives of our children, God knows and does the same. Why? Because 1 John 4:7-8, that’s why!
The character of God
The character of God is complex yet simple. He is all things, yet ‘all things’ comes down to this: perfect love.
Will you let God love you perfectly?