For most of my Christian life, I’ve pictured God the Father as stern and unapproachable. He was the one ready to discipline me when I erred – if He cared enough to bother.
You’d probably ask me why I ever came to faith with a viewpoint like that, but Jesus – He was the one who cared for me. He was the approachable one, the teacher. The one who died for me. I couldn’t identify with the Father.
I know now I was wrong. Way wrong. Yes, Jesus is identifiable. Through His humanness, He’s able to understand our frailty, weaknesses, insecurities. Yes, He died for us. But the Father sent Him. That’s how much God the Father loves me – and you, sparrow.
Dr. Charles Stanley says in Prayer: the Ultimate Conversation “our perception of God will characterize our prayer life.” So true. If I see God as a stern task-masker, ready to squash me at any mistake, I won’t be very likely to turn to Him when I need Him. If I don’t think He’s capable… If I think He doesn’t care what I do… You get the picture. Any misconception is dangerous.
I don’t want to go through life with a false sense of God. That only leads to lies about myself and the world around me. How do I know – I mean really know – who God is? God has given of Himself and His plan for us through the Bible. That’s where I learn who He is.
I’ve been on a journey lately – compiling a list of every name and attribute I can find of God and Jesus. I started just writing them (along with the verse) in my prayer journal. Then I would look over the list during my quiet time. Or list out all the names for God at the beginning of prayers. I’ve been amazed at how it’s impacted me. I’m focusing on God and not myself – I’m gaining a better understanding of who He is and just how capable He is.
I’ve made my list into a free printable for you – Names and Attributes. It’s certainly not an exhaustive list, but it’s a place for you to start if you haven’t already.
I’ve also made three free bookmarks – Names and Attributes bookmarks. I would suggest either printing these on card stock or laminating them if you have it. It’s really easy to laminate your own things at home. Enjoy!
What names or attributes are special to you? How have your perceptions changed about God and therefore your love toward Him? Let me know in the comments.