Tag Archives: character of God

What God is like in us…

[This is the 2nd of two Addenda and final post of the essay:  What God is Like (Musings about the character of God) which is located in its entirety elsewhere.]

The fundamental mistake is to begin with ourselves and not God. God is the center from which all life develops. If we use our ego as the center from which to plot the geometry of our lives, we will live eccentrically.  Eugene H. Peterson.

When I read this in Peterson’s great book, Run With the Horses, I had to go and look up the word “eccentric.” Having quite a few eccentric friends, I was familiar with it in its psychological and social context, but since it’s been a while since I took a geometry class I hadn’t heard it used in this particular way. The dictionary told me that eccentric means “not centered on the same point as another… having an axis that’s off kilter.” An eccentric is someone whose beliefs or behaviors (or both) are off center. Continue reading

What the Bible says about what God is like…

[This is the first of two Addenda to the essay on “What God is Like.”]

God is not made of clay. We don’t get to mold him into whatever form pleases us. We get our information about him primarily from the Bible – at least I do – and I am convinced that the data there is reliable. I believe in the Bible and what it teaches me about God. Though this short essay has taken more of a philosophical approach and is not full of a lot of specific excerpts from the Scripture, please don’t take that to mean that I’m making stuff up about God. In this section you’ll find a primer of Scriptural support for my musings. Any number of other worthy resources on the character of God can give you a much more exhaustive list of passages, to say nothing of your own thoughtful reading through the Bible. In addition to the Bible itself, if I had to recommend just one book on the Person of God, it would be A.W. Tozer’s tiny book, The Knowledge of the Holy. It’s one of my favorite books of all time. Continue reading

No, really, what is God like? (A “conclusion”)

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.  Romans 11:33-36

This is my “conclusion” to my essay on What God Is Like (with two addenda to follow), but let’s be real, how does one conclude a conversation about what God is like? Trying to “finish” a study of the Infinite is like snorkeling to the bottom of the Mariana Trench – without fins or flashlight! Continue reading

What God is Like (Musings on the character of God) #16

[This is the 2nd half of a brief chapter on God’s justice. You might benefit from reading the 1st half first.]

He’s compassionate in distribution

Among us Evangelicals it’s a well-known fact, if not a particularly well-appropriated reality, that God is “consistent in retribution.” We know that his justice is retributive, and when he forgives, he’s being consistent with himself and forgives on the basis of a satisfied justice. Yet, at least in my circles, we haven’t been nearly as familiar with the theme, every bit as prominently taught in Scripture, that his justice is also an expression of his compassion. Continue reading

What God is Like (Musings on the character of God) #15

A just God…

My blind spot…

I’m ashamed to admit that I came to the table late on this aspect of God’s personality. Though “justice” is mentioned 134 times in the Bible, in my three decades of pastoral ministry I never gave one message on the concept of justice for the poor and powerless. In fact, until recently, I’d never even heard a message on it. (That’s not coming to the table late, as in arriving during the dessert. By the time I became aware of this, the table had been cleared and the dishes were washed, dried, and put away!] Continue reading

Avoiding the “Mediocre Middle” (Part 2)

In Part 1 I talked about the tension between having faith to “suffer well” and faith to “get well.” Sometimes God has his reasons for miraculously making us well and at other times he gives us the strength to suffer well. The same God who said to Moses, “I am the Lord who heals you,” also said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you” (to endure his “thorn in the flesh”). Both options require faith. Then I coined the phrase “the mediocre middle,” which is a place between the two “wells” in which many Christians languish lazily ­– a pitiful spiritual location, which requires little-to-no faith at all. People who live in the “mediocre middle” don’t trust God for the grace to either make them well or to help them suffer well. They’ve lost touch with the adventure of trusting God for whatever he brings. Continue reading