Can any one person really define who God is? I am sure we all have ideas of who He is. We all have ideas from childhood about what He looks like, and how He acts as it relates to our life. But can we really define who He is? Is He small enough to define?
I am not sure we can/should. In fact, one can argue that once we believe we can define Him that makes Him into something more in our image? What a challenging thought for me today. Because if I cannot define who God is, how can I explain who He is to others? If I cannot explain who He is to others then how can I help build His church?
So if I need to have some definition of Him, where do I start?
If we start in the bible, doesn’t the God of the Old Testament appear to be very different than the God of the New Testament? Or is that the point? Thinking of my earthly dad, doesn’t he appear different today than when I was a little boy? But isn’t he the same man? Didn’t he discipline me more when I was young, hug me more when I was young, teach me through lessons more when I was young, gave me rules that I had to follow more when I was young? Didn’t all of those actions help shape my life into what it is today. Because of that don’t I have a different relationship with dad today than yesterday? Hasn’t our relationship grown to a new and different level?
I know that many churches, especially seeker churches, spend a lot of time defining who God is. To make Him more personal. To make Him more visible if you will. What a change that is from the 50s and 60s. But, in my opinion, doesn’t that help the non-Christian? Doesn’t that help them grasp what a life with Christ is all about?
So how do I define God? Well, to me I believe He is all of the following (and a whole lot more):
- He is loving
- He is firm
- He is caring
- He shows up in our daily life
- He is quiet
- He is loud
- He is constant
- He is all knowing
- He is moving
- He IS
To me, God is all of these traits and so much more. I can relate to these. I can understand them. But, as I read recently, “God is only limited by those qualities when God chooses to be confined by the limitations. God does whatever God wants and sometimes we are left speechless and perplexed.”
As I continue to grow in my faith, I believe one of the most important aspects of my faith walk, and my relationship with God, is the fact that I don’t have all of the answers about who God is. I really don’t think it is possible. I can try, but that would limit God. That would place Him on my level in some way. Not intentionally, but He would fall within the definition my small mind could identify with. That is not who God is.
With that said, I think I will end this post with the following passage:
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” – Ephesians 3:20
I think Paul was thinking through this same issue. He was wrestling with the fact that God is bigger than anything we can fully define… yet we still have such a wonderful and personal connection with Him.
So I will just have to say, “He IS…” and fill in the rest of the sentence with a different word each and every day.