What Is God Really Like?

February 6, 2020
God's Love, Personal Father

Who is God? What is He really like? How can/should we relate to Him?

From the beginning of human history and throughout the ages known as BC (Before Christ), God was identified as the Creator of the natural realm with all its life forms. To those who acknowledged His existence, He was recognized as the Most High God, Lord of lords, and King of kings.

God was revered and worshiped by all who sought to heed His revealed words of instruction, especially by those who sensed His presence with them. Others, who only knew ‘of’ Him tended to dreadfully fear Him. (See the blog ‘How the Fear Factor Twists Perceptions of God’). More than these varied acknowledgements; God desires for us to know Him in a deeper way, what He is really like!

A Relational Revealing

Two thousand years ago God spoke and His expression (word; Greek – logos) appeared in time and space as a man (a). [See end notes for all Scriptures] The words and actions of the man Jesus amplified a relational intention that had remained a bit foggy throughout the previous ages.

God is our FATHER, and He desires that we relate to Him as responsive children.

Although God is generally perceived today as our Father, the amazing insight was a fresh revelation for that day. While God is noted a few times in the Old Testament as Father, His love and care for us as Father was not generally understood.

Sent to bring clearer understanding, Jesus taught and illustrated this truth as a son of man and a son of God. He always spoke of God as his Father. Since “sons of God” challenged their traditional view, religious leaders of the day considered the thought to be blasphemy (b). Unfazed by their accusations, Jesus continued to promote this concept. He never assumed his closeness with God to be more than as a son who sought to say and do what he sensed God was saying and doing (c).

Approach God as Father

As God intended, Jesus encouraged us as men and women, to become more than distant offspring who know about God, even as offspring who relate to Him as King and Lord. God truly desires that we approach Him as our Father (d). Just as Jesus did, we too can experience the richness of becoming intimate children who daily seek to live in agreement with God (e).

What does this look like in our everyday life? Let’s start with how we are to pray. When the disciples asked Jesus about their prayers, he instructed them to “pray to the Father…for the Father himself loves you” (f). Jesus also taught the general population to address their prayers to “Our Father who art in heaven” (g). Likewise for today, God wants us to know Him as more than a ruling King or as our Lord and Master.

God is very relational and wants us, through interaction with His fatherly presence, to grow as cherished children into unique expressions of His heart (h).

Interacting with God’s Fatherly presence, we grow as cherished children into unique expressions of His heart.

What is God Really Like?

In John’s first Epistle, the disciple recognized as being closest to Jesus described God in a two pronged way. John said, “God is light” and “God is love” (j). John identified the essence of God as light and love. We want to understand, God not only radiates light and expresses love, these immeasurable qualities are central to His very essence.

With first-hand experience, John began his Epistle by saying, “This is the message we have heard from him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (k). To further answer “What is God really like?” consider the contrasts of light and darkness.

God is light and purity. In Him darkness does not and cannot exist. Scripture uses darkness to speak of a void, ignorance, and a lack of understanding. Men without the light of God “sit in darkness” (l) and “love the darkness rather than the light” (m). There is no dark side of God! Darkness is only in the perceptions and deeds of man.

For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness (n),” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God (o).
As a lamp shining…the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts (p).

So, contrary to a common idea, ignorance is not bliss! It is however, a condition in us that can receive light and understanding. We all have the capacity to receive light and become better expressions of God.

The immeasurable qualities of light and love are central to God’s very essence.

Light and Love

John expands his description of God by blending light with love.

The one who loves…abides in the light and there is no cause for stumbling (q).
“Beloved, if God so loves us [to forgive us], we also ought to love one another…If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected [Greek-matured] in us” (r).
“Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious…? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love (s).

Since God ‘is’ light and love, He can only lovingly care for each of us and He ‘especially’ cares for responsive children (t). The love of God is not blind; He just chooses to not focus on our faults.

When we approach God as Father (u) we become receptors of His love and portions of His essence mature in us (w). Then with His help, we are better equipped to live as expressions of love. Thus, we interact and catch glimpses of God’s nature in one another, progressively understanding what God is really like.

When we approach God as Father we become receptors of His love and portions of His essence mature in us.

a) John 1:1, 14; b) John 5:17-18; c) John 5:19; Philippians 2:5-6; d) Mathew 11:25-28; John 14:6; e) John 8:12; 12:36; Romans 8:14; f) John 16:23-27; g) Matthew 6:6, 8-9; h) John 17:1-6; 1:12; Genesis 1:26; j) 1 John 1:5; 4:8; k) 1 John 1:5; l) Luke 1:79; m) John 3:19; n) Genesis 1:3; o) 2 Corinthians 4:6; p) 2 Peter 1:19; q) 1 John 2:10; r) 1 John 4:11-12; s) Micah 7:18; t) 1 Timothy 4:10; u) John 14:6) w) 1 John 4:17

Keith Carroll, “The Relationship Guy”
Relational Gospel Founder
Created To Relate author

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