Steve’s Devotional – What is God Really Like?
DECEMBER 10, 2018
If God is in charge, we are free to wonder and question and be surprised by new ideas. What is God really like? What are the implications if God is in charge?
God is sovereign and no action will ever thwart his ultimate will.
What God decides to do, he does. And if that is true, we don’t have to defend him or cover his bets. Yet that is exactly what we try to do sometimes.
The Christian faith is not a creation of man. The Bible is true because a sovereign God made sure it would be true. The doctrines of our faith are not just the musings of creative scholars. They constitute absolute truth. Because this is so, we don’t have to get upset about every error we hear. God and his Word will stand no matter what we do. That thought frees up Christians to reach out to unbelievers.
God is truth and no truth will contradict or lessen him.
“Because he who is blessed in the earth shall be blessed by the God of truth; and he who swears in the earth shall swear by the God of truth” (Isaiah 65:16). John the Baptist said of Jesus, “He who has received His witness has set his seal to this, that God is true” (John 3:33). Because God is truth, we are free to pursue truth wherever it is to be found.
It must be said here, even though it is almost a truism, that whereas the Bible is all true, it does not contain all truth. In other words, the Bible does not profess to speak truth about every issue. If you want to know how to build a house, operate a laptop, or drive a car, don’t go to the Bible for answers. The answers of the Bible are all true, but the Bible doesn’t contain all answers.
God has given us his Spirit and his Word with which to measure reality, and then he says for us to go out and search. He doesn’t panic when he sees us searching in a place where there is little truth. He simply waits for us to make the discovery. That is why Christians who never think a new thought, read a new book, or study a new work of art are missing one of God’s great gifts—the privilege of discovering the truth. If God is in charge, he doesn’t sit in the clouds, saying, “I sure hope Steve doesn’t take the blinders off. He may discover something that will destroy his faith in me, and I wouldn’t want that to happen.”
God is patient and no honest question about him or his universe will be dismissed.
We know little about Jesus’ youth, but the story of the family’s trip to Jerusalem for the Passover proves that Jesus was a young man with questions. Mary and Joseph were returning home when they discovered that the twelve-year-old Jesus was not among their relatives or friends. Luke continues with the story: “And when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, looking for Him. And it came about that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them, and asking them questions” (Luke 2:45-46). Jesus was a man of questions. It wouldn’t hurt for us to ask a few too.
The Father won’t dismiss an honest question. I know because I have asked him a lot of them. If God became annoyed with honest questions, I would never have become a Christian. My questions would have taxed his grace beyond the limit. But his grace has no limit. Our sovereign God is not threatened or upset when you have a question.
God is love and no searcher will ever be turned away.
God’s message to the Hebrew exiles is applicable to every searcher: “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart’” (Jeremiah 29:11-13).
Somehow we have the idea that God is in the business of hiding. He is the only source of meaning and joy, but he likes to play hide-and-seek. That is not true. “That which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made” (Romans 1:19-20).
My mentor Fred Smith once said that there are three ways of approaching God. The first is with belief; the second with doubt; and the third with unbelief. Both belief and unbelief are willful acts—one chooses to believe or to disbelieve—worthy of the consequences of willful acts. However, doubt is an honest expression—an act of integrity. That is a good point. Doubt, when brought into the service of the search for God, will always be an avenue to truth. God loves honest searchers.
C.S. Lewis is quoted as saying, “To say that I was searching for God was like saying that a mouse was searching for a cat.” That is the true nature of our sovereign God. We aren’t the only ones who search—the Father searches for us too. That is what the incarnation of God in Christ is all about.
Time to Draw Away
Read John 1:1, 14 & Romans 8:28-39
What does it mean to you to have the “safety net” of God’s sovereignty and love under you in life? Do you feel free to question and to doubt? God has you. God will never let you go. God is in charge of everything in your life without exception. If all this is true (and it is), then in your Father’s care, you are really free to really live.