It is common to approach Christianity with a "what's in it for me" mentality. And while God desires to do many amazing works in us and through us, shifting our focus from self to Him is crucial. We can get so caught up in the blessings, that we forget all about worshiping the One who blesses. It is imperative that we spend time meditating on God's character and His glory. We need to worship Him and praise Him as He rightly deserves. In order to meditate on God, we must know God as He truly is.
What comes to mind when we think about God is the most important thing about us. A.W. Tozer
I've discovered through the years that society has a tendency to put God in a box. We hold our own ideas and preconceived notions on who God is, based on what we deem acceptable, and then we try to mold God into our image. He becomes the God that we would like Him to be, rather than the God He actually is. Yet, God is and can only be who He already says He is, through His Word. It is exclusively through Scripture that we can accurately discern God's character, and then we must adjust our views accordingly.
So who does the Bible say God is?
Firstly, God is a Triune God. This means He is one God, existing in three different persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. So, God is God...Jesus is God...and the Holy Spirit is God. Yet they are all One. This is a difficult concept for our finite human minds to grasp. However; because God is so much greater than us, we shouldn't expect to be able to comprehend all of His ways. The concept of the Trinity encompasses His wonder and mystery. For Scriptures on the Trinity and further study, click here.
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Romans 12:33-34
Secondly, God is Holy. His holiness is another aspect of His character that can be difficult to comprehend. He is perfect, righteous, and pure. Everything He is and everything He does is righteous and just and true. He is sinless and blameless. He is worthy of every ounce of adoration and praise. His holiness sets the standard for morality and how we should strive to live. This aspect of His character should stimulate reverence and respect from each and every one of us.
Isaiah, an Old Testament prophet, reveals a glimpse of God's holiness and the appropriate response as he retells his vision of the Lord:
I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!" And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!" Isaiah 6:1-5
God's holiness should incite our respect for Him, as well as a healthy fear. This fear should usher in awe and recognition of His authority. But at the same time, another aspect of God's character, His love, can give us confidence that we can approach God as we would approach a parent. God is a God of relationship. He loves us and cares for us as a father would care for his own children. Through this love, which God has poured out on us through the sacrifice of His Son, we are recipients of His never-ending mercy and kindness. God is love. Love is foundational to His character, and expresses itself through everything God does.
But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:15
Another attribute of God is His sovereignty. God's sovereignty is defined in Easton's Bible Dictionary as His "absolute right to do all things according to his own good pleasure." All things are under God's control. He is not surprised by the world's events nor does He scramble to devise a plan to thwart evil. Everything that happens in this world fits in God's plan, and all events are part of an intricately weaved masterpiece that will eventually lead to the return of Jesus and ultimate triumph over evil. The Lord continues to work all things to good for His people and bring about events necessary to accomplish His will.
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17
The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters. Psalm 24:1-2
An often forgotten about and seldom mentioned aspect of God's character is His wrath. Because God is a God of love, some have a hard time imagining that He is also a God who executes justice on evil and punishes sin. Yet, the Scriptures are clear that just as God is both relational and holy, He is also a God of both love and wrath.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. Romans 1:18
God is the righteous judge against all evil. He and He alone defines what is sinful and, truth is, we all fall short. The good news is that, through Jesus Christ, God has provided a way for us to escape His wrath. So, here especially, we see God's love and wrath personified together. He is just in His wrath against evil, yet His love provides the way to escape that wrath for all who entrust their spiritual well-being to Christ.
Lastly, God is faithful. Oh, the faithfulness of God! It is one of my favorite things about Him. In a world where circumstances can shift at the drop of a dime and people can love you one day and hate you the next, we can rest assured that God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do. His promises are always true. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is unchanging, immovable, and a solid rock on which we can confidently set all of our hopes and expectations.
God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? Numbers 23:19
In addition to these, there are many more aspects of God's character that we discover when we commit ourselves to reading His Word and getting to know Him as He truly is. The more we know who God is, the more we will fall in love with His character. As we meditate on His glorious nature, the beauty of His creation, and His faithfulness throughout history, we can exalt His name to the highest place in our hearts, and this will spill over into every aspect of our lives.