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God’s Character

January 11, 2008
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I have had several conversations lately about the nature of God. One such conversation had to do with loving God and loving others. While I agree those are the commands it seems to me that people tend to take those two and conform them to their own image. So love God becomes do all of the things I have determined God wants me to do and loving neighbor means telling others about these things.

For me growing up it was instruments in worship and the exact right way to be baptized. Loving God became not using instruments in worship and loving your neighbor meant telling them not to use instruments in their’s. So because some men got together and determined what was and wasn’t an expedient this became loving God and others. No wonder people have a hard time seeing God.

In another conversation our discussion was about ball pits and coffee shops. In that conversation I mentioned that I didn’t think ball pits testified to the nature of God. Now what was interesting was some of the examples my friend used to defend his position. He cited several examples but for me what he seemed to miss was the fact that each of his examples were in the context of helping the least of these, which brings us to the character of God.

You see unless we understand His character, the things He is passionate about, the things that really get under His skin, how can we hope to love God or our neighbor? What is to prevent us from simply projecting ourselves onto God? I mean really loving others is hard, wouldn’t it be easier to change what love is?

A Parable

I was thinking of the parable of Lazarus and the rich man today and I think it is a prime example. Remember that one? Lazarus is a beggar who receives no aid and the rich man was chilling in his nice home loving the luxury life. If you are familiar with the parable you know that Lazarus is whisked away to paradise while the rich guy longs for a drop of water. Now how many times have you heard this parable used to discuss what happens to us when we die? How many have seen it used to teach what heaven and hell will be like? How about the fact that coming back from the dead won’t sway some? I have heard all of those. Now how many have heard it used to teach about giving to the less fortunate that surround us?

There you go. It seems that Lazarus was the rich man’s neighbor and it also seems that the rich man failed to understand the character of God because if he had he might have given more than his table scraps. What I find really fascinating is the parable of the shrewd manager that precedes this one. Could it be that God applauds the generous even when they are only trying to save their own skin?

To be honest I bring this up mostly to convict myself. There is a woman who has a need, she needs a ride to the doctor. She has no one to take her and she is in a wheelchair. I took her once and it really messed up my day. Well she called again for help and what do you think I did? I made myself busy but that is not love. That isn’t love of God or neighbor. But hey I didn’t use any profanity today and I certainly didn’t covet, but did I really love?

I have a phone call to make, help me to remember because there is an elderly woman who needs love.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 11, 2008 11:17 pm


    I appreciate your thoughtful post. Our response to what we know of the God we claim shapes how we treat others, you make a valid point.

    One of the reasons I blog is that I am shocked and saddened by the rampant unbelief of many folks who are by their admission “Christian”.

    Until we know who God is, who Jesus is, and what His claims are, and then put our whole trust in Him, there is no Christianity, only an ugly deception.

    The examples you use are way too close to home but very needful. What God has done in Christ is far more weighty than what we do on Sunday morning. Remembering those who are widowed, orphaned, and incarcirated, James said is “Pure religion and undefiled”. Only a right understanding of the character of God and that character becoming ours will make us choose to love the unlovely, help those in need, while seeking absolutely nothing in return.

    His peace,
    Royce Ogle

  2. Jim Sexton permalink
    January 12, 2008 2:54 pm

    Christian. I am a Christian.

    Christ-like. I am Christ-like.

    Like Christ. I am like Christ. Am I?

    Christian isn’t a name it is a description. It is as dangerous to say I am like Christ and not be as it is to partake of the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner. Perhaps it is even worse, because saying I am Christ-like without being like Christ betrays Him, lies to those around me, and serves Satan.

    Think about it… are you truly being like Christ? It isn’t a topical dressing like make-up, it is more like a systemic thing that transforms you from the inside out.

    ps… there already is a Veggie Tale all about the Esther story, FYI…


  3. benoverby permalink
    January 12, 2008 6:06 pm

    thanks for the raw honesty, Darin. I’m glad I’m not the only one who struggles with loving others the way God wants me too. But I want to do better for the sake of God’s glory.

  4. January 12, 2008 9:41 pm

    Just an update. We talked today. I put her in my cell phone and gave her my number.

  5. January 15, 2008 8:24 pm

    I’m increasingly fearful of using the word “Christian” to describe myself because of just this issue.

    Luke doesn’t say, “The disciples first began calling themselves Christians at Antioch.” He says, “The disciples started being called Christians in Antioch.”

    Why? Because it is the first predominantly Hellenistic city reached by the kingdom message. Everywhere else, that funny Greek word Christos had a context. In Antioch, these weird Jewish-looking types were running around telling everyone about this Christos person. No one knew what they were talking about, so they became the Christos people.

    If other people hear me talking about Jesus, or even maybe see me acting a teenie bit like Him, that’s fine.

    But Jimbo has a real point… I know better than anyone that I’m not a little Christ.


  6. January 15, 2008 8:37 pm

    Speaking of God’s character, there is a pretty good e-book on the will of God at this address:

    Click to access willofgod.pdf

    Check it out. I might start a discussion of some points of it on Fumbling.

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