“What is God really like?” That is a question that all of us struggle to answer from the first moment we become aware of the concept of God until we depart this life to meet Him face to face. As we struggle with that question, we all seem to come up with differing images of God. Even within our denomination and within our church we do not all worship the same “version” of God. Our view of what God is like usually changes over time. As a child I believed that every ‘bad thing’ that happened to me was a result of God’s displeasure over my behavior. I can still clearly recall an incident where I stubbed my toe while running barefoot on the sidewalk in front of our home and then immediately prayed that the Lord would show me what sin He was punishing me for! Conversely, I believed that every ‘good thing’ must have a corresponding act of righteousness for which the Lord was rewarding me. I no longer see God in this way. My image of God has changed.
When Jesus took on flesh and came to live on earth, he showed us who God really is. Hebrews 1:3 tells us that Jesus is ‘the exact representation’ of God. Christ brings clarity to the broken and distorted images of God that we contrive as we go through life in this broken and distorted world. As we keep our focus on the Lord Jesus, our image of God the Father also comes into clearer focus.
As a grade school child, there was a picture of Jesus knocking at the heart’s door hanging on my bedroom wall. That picture formed an image in my mind of what Jesus may have looked like. But the clearest image I have of God today is not formed by an artist’s rendering. It is formed by the words and deeds of Christ found in the Bible. The Son of God painted a beautiful portrait of his heavenly Father in the pages of the gospels. His perfect balance of grace and truth speaks volumes about the character of God. His compassion for sinful men and women and willingness to demonstrate patience with their slowness to believe or comprehend what he taught is truly amazing. His willingness to lay down his sinless life for our sinful lives shows us the heart of God. If you want to know what God really looks like, take a closer look at Jesus!