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Discovering God

Our view of God determines how we live.

Discovering God
  • Author: Bill Bright
  • Credits: Photograph by Lisa Master
  • Published: May 1, 1999

Many years ago I was interviewed by Dr. James Boice of the Bible Study Hour radio program. He asked, "What is the most important truth to teach Christians?" No one had ever asked me that, and I was unprepared to reply. I am convinced the Holy Spirit gave me the answer. I said, "The attributes of God."

I am more convinced than ever that there is nothing more important to teach believers than what God is really like. For example, we are instructed to obey His commands and to trust His promises. But how can we do that if we do not have a right view of God? Our view of God determines our lifestyle.

God wants us to know Him personally. He does not just want us to know things about Him. He desires intimate fellowship with us.

As I have spent time before God considering writing about His attributes, I have been overcome with great feelings of inadequacy. How can any person describe the magnificent glory of our God? But unworthy as I am, I will share some of the insights the Holy Spirit has given me over the years about God's character. While certainly not an extensive list, the following attributes reveal crucial insights into our wonderful God.

Attributes of Ability

Some of God's characteristics deal with His ability. Because He is omnipotent, God is capable of doing anything. Realizing the extent of God's great power, which raised Jesus from the dead, motivates believers to worship Him with awe. It provides confidence, hope and comfort.

Another attribute relating to God's ability is His omnipresence. He is equally present everywhere at once. There is not a sliver of space anywhere in the universe where He is not powerfully present. Because God is infinite spirit, He is in all places at all times. And because He is always with us, God will guide us when we are confused, protect us when we are afraid and comfort us when we are hurting. We live every single moment within His presence. He desires our continuous fellowship.

Our Creator is also omniscient. God knows everything--He is never surprised. He understands our desires, motives and thoughts. He knows our pressures and problems. But He also knows the purpose for our trials. James said, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance" (James 1:2,3; New International Version). God knows all our problems and shortcomings, but He still loves us and desires our fellowship.

Many people feel overwhelmed by circumstances and struggle with hopelessness, but God has not abandoned us. He is sovereign. That means there is no higher authority anywhere. God is always in complete control of everything. His will cannot be thwarted. But within His master plan, God gives us the freedom to choose. He created us with an independent will so we could choose or refuse to follow Him, yet God never relinquishes control. We can live in security because our loving Father is in control.

Attributes of Integrity

Another group of God's characteristics relate to His integrity. God is holy; He is perfect and pure. Many Scripture passages tell us to fear God; however, this kind of fear does not mean to be afraid of God, but rather to express constant reverential awe before Him. If you were to enter the presence of a great king, you would show respect by your behavior. How much more fitting that we humble ourselves in reverential awe when we come before our majestic God. He is always worthy of our highest respect.

God is also truth. Many people believe there is either no such thing as absolute truth or that it simply cannot be known. Our God is absolute truth. He wants us to know His truth, and He has recorded it for us in the Bible, manifested it to us in Jesus, and guides us to it through His Holy Spirit. God's truth is our anchor point for reality.

We live in an age where the distinction between right and wrong is becoming increasingly blurred. What is right has become a matter of interpretation. But God is righteous. He sets the standards. Everything God does is right in every way, and His laws define righteous behavior for us. Righteousness is about acting rightly toward one another in relationships.

In our society, people are becoming less concerned about what is right; instead, they try to cover their tracks. Many people also believe they can manipulate God's system of justice. How wrong they are! God is absolutely just in all His judgments because His decisions are based upon absolute truth. Many times God delays His judgment because He is patiently providing an opportunity for repentance. But sooner or later all sin will be punished. With God as judge, there will always be perfect justice.

Attributes of Relationship

This group of attributes focuses on God as a loving Father. God's love is unconditional. It is the purest, deepest kind of love. God's love never compromises or negates any of His other attributes. In a prayer, A.W. Tozer said, "If nothing in us can win Thy love, nothing in the universe can prevent Thee from loving us." He loves us because of who He is, not because of who we are.

God is also merciful. His very nature desires to relieve us of the self-imposed misery and distress we experience because of our sin. Because God is merciful, He wants to give us every opportunity to repent. Yet if we are unwilling to have a change of heart and if we turn our backs on God's mercy, then He will judge and punish us for our sin and disobedience. God gave His only Son to die in our place. That is mercy beyond comprehension. In gratitude, we must also bestow mercy on others.

In our society of unfaithfulness, God is the only one whom we can completely trust. He has the integrity and flawless character which enables Him to be absolutely faithful to His Word and commitments. Faithfulness is at the heart of all that God is and does. God will never fail us. The more we understand this, the less room we have in our hearts for worry.

We live in an era of hyper-change with people relocating and with technological advances making the past obsolete. This change produces stress. But God is immutable. He never changes. He always has been the way He is, and He always will be the way He is right now. Unlike us, God does not compromise or change His values, and cannot be manipulated or persuaded to go against His nature or word. God doesn't have mood swings. His character is constant. His timeless words and commands apply to every culture, race and nationality.

A right view of God takes into account his attributes of ability, integrity and relationship. It is my prayer that new knowledge of God will wash over you as the waves of the sea, cleansing you of unworthy, inappropriate thoughts about Him. And as a result, I pray you will genuinely trust Him more. There is no greater experience in life than to see God as He is.


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