A new relationship takes times to develop and blossom. As we spend time with another person, we learn their character, their dreams, and their desires. We become comfortable with this new friend and we develop a way of communicating with each other. This personal knowledge and experience is essential to the development of our friendships — and cannot be simulated with secondhand information.
This principle is equally true of our relationship with God. To truly know Him, we must listen to what God says about Himself. In the Scriptures, God reveals everything we need to know about His character — these insights are what theologians call "the attributes of God." These attributes describe His wisdom, grace, justice, mercy, love, wrath, goodness, faithfulness, and more. But there is one attribute that stands above the others — His sovereignty.
God is the absolute authority and ruler over His creation. Neither a hair nor a sparrow fall apart from God's will (Matthew 10:29-30). Without absolute authority and rule, God's other attributes would be conditional. For instance, if God were not all-powerful, His love could not be unconditional because it could be affected, or changed, by outside forces. Thankfully, we serve a God whose love is unconditional and not affected by anything outside His will.
We know from the book of Romans that, "God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (8:28). Often we don't know how God works the events of our lives to accomplish His purposes, but having confidence that He is in control and has an unfailing plan for us, should give us great hope and peace. As God said to Isaiah, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.... As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" (55:8-9).
Even though we do not know everything we may want to know about the Lord, in the Scriptures He has revealed what we need to know about His attributes and desires. First and foremost is that He loves us, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
For centuries, He prepared the world for the coming of Jesus, and for those of us who trust in His Son, He desires for us to share the Good News of Christ with others. Jesus said, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19).
No matter how impossible our call may seem, how difficult our obstacles, or how fierce our opposition, we must hope in the LORD and let Him renew our strength (Isaiah 40:31a). God's grace is sufficient for His children (2 Corinthians 12:9) and He will never let anything separate us from His love.
There is much comfort in God's revelation of Himself to us. In the Bible, He has shared His character and His desires with us — spend time in His Word and get to know Him in a richer and fuller way.
Excerpted from My Journal, a monthly devotional magazine from Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef.
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