How do you view God? There are so many misconceptions about God. God is not a “genie in a bottle”. Our wish is not his command. God is not a “Santa Claus God” who simply exists to bring us good gifts. God is not a “911 God” who we only call when we have an emergency and need him to extinguish a major problem in our lives. God is not an “old man in the sky” who sounds like Morgan Freeman. God is not a “cosmic cop” who flies around the world looking to punish those who break his rules.
The proper view of God is that he is our Heavenly Father. When we believe in Jesus and receive him into our lives, we become children of God (John 1:12). We are adopted into his family and become his sons and daughters. He loves us. He cares for us. He wants what is best for us. He wants to spend time with us and get to know us as an earthly parent wants to develop a close relationship with his/her children.
In light of God being our Heavenly Father, let me share a few characteristics about him. When we understand who God truly is, it changes the way we pray. It changes the way we live our lives.
1. God, our Father, is a gracious and merciful God.
Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and grace to help us in our time of need.” God is a God of mercy and grace. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. We deserve to be punished for our sins. We deserve eternal separation from God. We deserve hell. Grace is getting what we don’t deserve. Anything this side of Hell is grace. God is a very gracious God. Because of God’s mercy and grace, we have salvation in Heaven, and we can enter his presence with confidence.
2. God, our Father, is a faithful God.
Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?”
God is true to his promises. He does what he says he will do. He never lets us down.
2 Timothy 2:13 says, “If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” Even when we lack faith, God is always faithful. Faithfulness is a part of God’s nature.
It is who he is. He cannot be unfaithful. Even when we sin, mess up or fall flat on our faces, God is still faithful. God’s faithfulness is not contingent on our faithfulness.
3. God, our Heavenly Father is a good God.
Psalm 100:5 says, “The Lord is always good. He is always loving and kind, and his faithfulness goes on and on to each succeeding generation.” God is always good. Nothing evil comes from God. Nothing bad comes from God. Everything good comes from God. James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
God is a good father, and he gives his children good gifts. God doesn’t give us everything we ask for, but he gives us everything we need. He doesn’t always answer our prayers how we want. But he always answers our prayers. We have to trust that our Heavenly Father knows what is best for us.
4. God, our Father, is a great God.
Psalm 145:3 says, “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.” We cannot wrap our brains around how great and awesome God is. Isaiah 40:12a says, “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?” God is a great and awesome God. He holds the oceans in the palm of his hands. He measures the universe with the width of his hands.
How do you view God? If you view God as a small God, you will pray small prayers. If view God as a big God, you will pray big prayers. God is a really big God. And he is bigger than your biggest problem. There is no challenge or situation too difficult for him. Let me encourage you. Whatever difficulty you are facing in life, turn it over to God. Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for us (I Peter 5:7). He is your Heavenly Father, and he wants what is best for your life.
Jonathan Howes has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance from Jacksonville State University and a Master in Divinity Degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the lead pastor for Graystone Church. Locations include the Ozora Campus: 1551 Ozora Road Loganville, GA 30052, the Walton Campus: 723 N Broad St Monroe, GA 30655 and the Oconee Campus: 1275 Lenru Road Bogart, GA 30622.