Many people picture God as being like their own fathers.
Unfortunately, there are many abusive, absent, and neglectful fathers out there. If this describes your dad, then you may be surprised when you learn what God is like.
If you never felt love from your dad, you may wonder if God really loves you. You may also be afraid of God if your father was stern and abusive. Perhaps you think you can’t trust God if your own father abandoned you or neglected you.
Let me assure you. God is not like your biological father.
What is God like according to the Bible?
The Bible tells us everything we need to know about God. What God is like verses go from cover to cover, front to back, beginning to the ending of the Bible.
Since there are so many Scriptures that talk about the characteristics of God, we can’t possibly cover them all here. However, we will take one passage from the book of Galatians that will tell us in a nutshell what we need to know.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
When the Spirit of God lives in us, we become little by little more like Jesus. And we know from other parts of Scripture that Jesus was the physical expression of God the Father, in human flesh.
” … Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” John 14:9
God is Love
The word “love” is thrown around loosely today. We love our dogs, our car, pizza and a movie on Friday night, and a host of other things.
Yet there is more to love than meets the eye. Our love for pizza is much different than our love for a friend or family member.
Unfortunately, the English language only has one word for 4 similar, yet different words in the Bible.
- Eros – romantic love
- Storge – family love
- Philia – brotherly love
- Agape – unconditional, sacrificial love
God’s love for mankind is the agape kind. He always is looking out for our best interests. All we have to do is look to the life and death of Jesus to understand how much God loves us unconditionally and sacrificially.
So if our biological parents made us earn their love, it does not mean God is that way.
Joy comes from God
The Bible describes what it is like to be in the presence of God.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence, there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11
“And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
“Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his place.” 1 Chronicles 16:27
God is Peaceful
Nothing catches God off guard. He doesn’t fret or worry about world events. Why? because He knows that in the grand scheme of things, all things will work out for good. (Romans 8:28)
Regardless of how bad things may seem to us, God’s ultimate plans will not be thwarted. In the end, God wins. So you see, God does not have to try to manipulate us like maybe our parents did.
As we develop the fruit of the spirit in our lives, we will worry less, be more at peace, and trust God more, because we become more like Jesus.
Patience is part of God’s character
How grateful we should be that God is patient with us. Throughout Biblical history, mankind has always been rebellious, insisting on their own way.
But God is always waiting for us to admit to our sins so that He can forgive us.
What about God’s judgement?
Those who have seen the movie The Ten Commandments will remember the scene where Moses throws the tablets of stone to the ground smashing them into pieces. That scene is often discussed as a representation of an angry God.
Did God judge people? Yes, he did, but only after giving them many warnings, and letting them know what the consequences would be for their rebellion. Mankind had no excuse when they finally experienced God’s judgment.
God is always giving us more chances to do the right thing.
What about natural consequences?
The natural consequences that we experience from doing the wrong things are not God’s judgment. All sinful behavior will have ramifications at one point or another.
The Bible says that “the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23). The reality is that we experience more than spiritual death and eventual physical death.
For instance, when we are bitter (a sin), we experience gradual death in our relationships as well as other areas of our lives. We can’t blame God for that.
Kindness is part of God’s character
I love a couple of Scriptures that talk about us calling God the equivalent of “papa” or “daddy”.
“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15
“And because you are sons (or daughters), God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Galatians 4:6 (explanation added)
The term “Abba! Father!” is a term of endearment. You see, children don’t have those terms for someone who is not kind.
And because God is kind, when we are afraid we can call on Him for help and not expect Him to shame us.
God is Good
“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” Psalm 34:8
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” Psalm 107:1
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17
These three verses only scratch the surface of the many Scriptures that describe God’s goodness.
Faithfulness is part of God’s character
This is probably one of the characteristics of God that resonates with me the most after having husbands that were not faithful.
If you had a parent who abandoned you, the fact that God is faithful and will never leave us should be comforting.
God is faithful in other ways too. He always keeps His promises. You may have had parents who broke promises. You never have to worry about that with God.
God is Gentle
In Scripture when sinful, but sincere people approached Jesus, He was gentle with them.
The woman caught in adultery could have been killed by the religious leaders. Yet Jesus did not condemn her. He simply told her to “go and sin no more.” (John 8:7-11)
God is also gentle with us when we sincerely want to be changed. However, that change can only come from a relationship with Jesus.
God is Self-controlled
Did you have a parent who was always “flying off the handle“, losing control of their emotions? Did they yell at you a lot or punish you severely, without much warning?
Let me assure you that God is not like your out-of-control parent.
God’s actions are always calculated, in your best interests, and predictable. God does not fly off the handle. We see this over and over demonstrated in His patience.
Some people point to the time in Scripture when Jesus overturned the money-changers tables in the temple as Him being angry and out of control. (Mark 11:11-19)
The temple was a place to worship God. But the rulers had made part of it into a marketplace, while at the same time cheating people in giving change after a purchase.
When we read this passage, we find that Jesus was in the temple twice. The first time he saw what was going on. He had that evening to calculate what He was going to do the next day. He was not out of control.
Who is God in your life?
So who is God in your life? Do you see Him as a stern, grouchy, unreliable, non-compassionate ruler in the sky looking down waiting for you to mess up?
Please don’t believe those lies that are straight from the pit of hell. God is not like your dad.
But the only way to know what God is really like is to have a relationship with Jesus.
If you don’t know Jesus, you probably have questions. The people at Chat About Jesus have answers. You can text, call, or chat with them online any time of the day or night.
God is a loving Father. He also is kind, compassionate, patient, gentle, and good. He is everything we ever wanted in our earthly fathers but maybe did not have.
If you like to color, you may enjoy this Bible Verse Coloring Collection. It will give your hours of enjoyment while at the same time helping you remember what God is like.
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