Blessed to Be a Blessing, Created to Be Creative
Written by Sarah Keith
Have you ever heard someone say, or maybe you’ve said it, “I’m not very creative; I can’t even draw a stick figure!” While it’s true that many people can’t draw, the visual arts are not the only measurement for determining creativity. In fact, I believe creativity is a hallmark trait of being made in God’s image.
When God created Adam and Eve, He said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness . . . So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” Genesis 1: 26-27 (ESV).
As Christians, we understand the term, “us” in Genesis 1 as a direct reference to the triune* nature of One God, who is manifested in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. On the other hand, there are those who would say the “us” is a reference to God’s heavenly court, meaning God and His angels. However, this presents a problem, because people are not created in the image of an angel.
We—human beings, male and female, and not any of the other animals—are created in God’s image (tselem in Hebrew) and in His likeness (demuth in Hebrew). This image-likeness must refer to inward qualities such as our eternal nature, our intellect, our morality, our social nature, and our ability to love and be loved, all of which has been damaged because of the Fall (Genesis 3) because sin has marred our God-like image. Yet, because of Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection, we can be restored by the transforming work of the Holy Spirit, to be conformed into the image of Jesus, who is the exact representation of our Father God (Romans 8:29; Hebrews 1:3).
The words “create”, “created”, and “made or make” are used interchangeably throughout Scripture, and are sometimes used to explain the same event, as referenced in Genesis 1, above. The Old Testament Hebrew word for “create”, bara’, means God-shaping, God-forming, or God-fashioning what was “not there before” (Latin, ex nihilo, out of nothing.) The Hebrew word for “made or make” in Genesis 1:26, “Let us make man. . .” is ‘asah, which means to fashion, accomplish, make, work, produce, prepare, to make an offering, appoint.
Only God can bara’, that is create something from nothing, but both God and people can ‘asah, make things.
In Genesis 1:26-27, bara’ and ‘asah are used interchangeably and refer to God’s work in creation. In Exodus 25-28, God instructed Moses to have the children of Israel make (‘asah) Him a Sanctuary, as well as all the components within the Sanctuary: candlesticks, a wooden chest, curtains, frames, and hooks, to name a few. They were to make things (‘asah) from existing things that God had created (bara’) from nothing.
Throughout the Old Testament ‘asah may refer to making a cake, a garden, a crown, or even making an agreement. There are a lot more! In fact, there are over 2000 references of ‘asah; some pertain to God-making or doing, and others to people-making or doing.
In Psalm 51:10 David pleads, “Create (bara’) in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” David knew in order to have a clean heart, it would be God’s doing. David couldn’t “make” his heart clean! But he also knew there was a purpose in having a clean heart:
“Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You.”
The equivalent New Testament Greek word for God’s creative work is ktizo or ktisis, meaning to create, form, or shape, making something from nothing. The Apostle Paul tells us that those who are in Christ are a God-created work:
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation (ktisis); the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
And like David who understood that having a clean heart was not just for his benefit, God’s children are made into new creatures for a purpose.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created (ktizo) in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them”
Because we are made in God’s image+, it makes sense that creativity would be part of our DNA. Of course, not all of us can sing well, write a novel, play a musical instrument, or even draw a stick figure. But these are too narrow a definition of creativity!
Consider what you can do!
- Can you make (‘asah) a cake?
- Can you make (‘asah) a garden?
- Can you make (‘asah) an agreement—can you be agreeable?
- Can you make (‘asah) a friend?
- Can you make (‘asah) a card to send to someone who is sick or suffering?
- Can you make (‘asah) a prayer?
- Can you make (‘asah) order out of chaos—by helping a friend in their time of need?
- Can you make (‘asah) your witness for Christ known?
All of us can make (‘asah) something and do it with the purpose of bringing God’s kingdom to others. And we can do it with the knowledge that we have God’s creative DNA working in us to will and to act according to His good purpose (Philippians 2:13). Our good works reflect God’s image, His likeness, to the world!
My good friend and editor, Kit MacLeod, shared her experience of volunteering at an elementary school, and how God’s creative DNA was available to her.
She wrote, “I realized a lot of the things I’ve done were more spur of the minute inspired, rather than planned. That goes back to the concept of being open to God’s inspiration, praying for it, and believing it will flow according to His perfect plan. I remember reading the book Owl Moon by Jane Yolen to a group of second graders, and seeing that there were some children who were not very engaged. That particular book has the owl’s “whoo-whoo-whooo” repeated throughout.
After I read it dramatically the first time, on a whim I encouraged them to join in with me. As I continued reading, even the most reluctant students became more and more engaged. They were hanging on every word, waiting for their next chance to dramatically hoot, grinning all the time.
When we finished reading, they applauded, delighted with the story and their part in it. I believe the inspiration to engage them that way was just God’s creativity flowing through me, showing me opportunities to enjoy and share enjoyment of His creative Spirit.”
So, let us begin thinking of ways to put God’s creative intellect and power to work in our lives, so that others may believe, be encouraged, and grow in their faith! And when you tap into your creativity, I believe you will discover a deep joy and a Divine creative flow at work within you!
*Jewish scholars reject the idea of a triune being. However, they must still deal with at least the duality of God and his Spirit, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth . . . and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” Genesis 1:1-2. (See also, Genesis 6:3, Exodus 31:3, or Numbers 11:25 to name just a few.)
+ According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance:
“Image,” the Hebrew term, tselem, is from an unused root meaning to shade; a phantom, i.e. (figuratively) illusion, resemblance; hence, a representative figure, especially an idol — image, vain shew. (We are not to make “graven images,” “tselem,” “carved idols.). And “Likeness,” the Hebrew, demuth, is to “model, shape, fashion, to resemble, liken, consider.”
From the editor: Thank you, Sarah, for sharing this informative article. If you would like to read more articles from Sarah Keith, visit School Network.com.
Also, check out the website’s vast array of biblical-based teaching resources designed to help children to get to know Jesus.
bibletools.org, ” Bible verses about Asah”
crosswalk.com, “Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance”
answersingenesis.com, “Did God Create (Bara) or Make (Asah) in Genesis 1?”
sunnybrookpub.com, “Asah in Genesis – The Work God Did”
creation.com, “Made in the image of God”
About the author:
Sarah Keith is the founder of SundaySchoolNetwork.com. She has been writing Christian adult devotionals and Bible curricula for teachers of children since 1999. In 1981 she graduated with honors from Palm Beach Atlantic University with a degree in Psychology and Religion, and she holds a degree in Fine Arts from Palm Beach State College.
Sarah is passionate about the importance of teaching children about Jesus, having them memorize God’s Word early and often. She has worked in children’s ministry for over 30 years
This post is a shout out to all of you who are going through something really hard right now.
First of all, l’m sorry that you or someone close to you is in pain and my heart goes out to you.
It’s always a blow when you get confronted with a difficult situation. However, God does not expect you to bear through times of hardship alone. He wants us to turn to Him, because He is the only one who can get us out of our difficulties. Not the bank, not another human being, and certainly not a stroke of good luck.
What you are going through is important to God, and He wants you to come out of this trial stronger and trusting Him all the more.
God doesn’t do things by coincidence. He doesn’t favor some people and not others (Acts 10:34). God loves us all the same.
God loves YOU!
The following are three reasons why you need to stick close to God when life isn’t treating you right.
1. God knows you and has a great plan for your life
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Who knows you better than He who created you? Not only does God know us the best, He loves us with a perfect love, a love infused with His grace, mercy, and selflessness.
You were made unique. Know that you are precious to God and are ordained to do great things.
These pitfalls you’re experiencing will at some point be over. God knows what is going on in your life right now. He knows that you are in pain.
Nothing that happens to you comes as a surprise to Him.
“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”
Instead of focusing on your problems, remember that God has a marvelous plan for each of us. He wants you to live a bountiful and fruitful life and will help you through tough times to make that a reality for you.
2. Jesus has tremendous compassion for our suffering
Jesus knows firsthand how difficult life can be. His time on earth was punctuated with trials, disapproval, death plots, and suffering.
Jesus feels our emotions. He hurts when we are hurting.
In John Chapter 11, Jesus’ close friend Lazarus dies from sickness. Jesus shows great empathy for Mary and Martha, Lazarus’ two sisters, as they mourn their brother’s demise:
“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.”
Though Jesus knows He is about to raise Lazarus from the dead, His sorrow upon seeing the sister’s and other mourners grief is evident:
This is one of the shortest, most powerful verses in the Bible. Jesus’ tears demonstrate the extent of His compassion for our suffering.
Jesus is with us, sharing our pain. When you are at your lowest, call out to Him. Jesus is right there, always beside you.
3. Sometimes God makes you wait for your breakthrough
We’ve all been in a situation that we want to see change for the better.
You could be experiencing financial difficulty. Or you’re in a job you don’t like. Maybe you have been trying to get pregnant but to no avail. You could also be sick and desire to be healed.
You may have been asking God for a while now to help you, but you still haven’t seen things turn around.
So, why isn’t God doing anything to improve your circumstances?
We may ask God for His help with a strong sense of urgency, but God’s timing is different to our own. It is not unusual for God to want us to wait for our breakthrough.
- To build our faith
- So that we learn to trust Him
- God sees the whole picture, whereas we don’t
- God is more interested in changing us than our circumstances
- God will sometimes say no today, in order to give you a better yes tomorrow.
Don’t lose hope. Your time of victory is coming!
“For there is still a vision for the appointed time;
it speaks of the end, and does not lie.
If it seems to tarry, wait for it;
it will surely come, it will not delay. “
God knows the hand you’re dealt with. He also knows that you can handle it, because He has equipped you with His love and His strength to go through it.
“ I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Don’t get disheartened because you don’t see any change in your life today. Trust Him and wait.
God ALWAYS comes through on His promises!
God’s love and power is indeed a great comfort and source of strength for us.
Still, you may ask yourself – Why does God let bad things happen to us?
That is admittedly a difficult topic. I am not a counsellor, nor am l a psychologist, therefore l am hesitant to venture a response that might not provide the answer you are looking for, nor give you the comfort you seek.
However, I can give you an account of a difficult situation l’ve been through.
l lost a beloved member of my family four years ago to cancer. I don’t know why it happened, but l know that God is a good God. Only He knows the whole situation and what He has truly spared us from. l still bear the scars of suffering and loss today – but God has taken me on a slow but patient journey of healing. And He can do it with you too.
God has not abandoned you to your suffering. He has not forgotten you either. He sees everything, from its origins to its solution, whereas we only see the immediate threat.
Live the miracle of seeing God work out everything for your good, to His glory; believe that He is always with you, starting from today.
My heartfelt prayers go out to you my brothers and sisters and may God’s peace and mercy be upon you.
Are you in a difficult situation and need someone to pray for you? Then write us an email with the Heading “Pray Request” or leave a comment below and we will gladly pray for you here at Jacob’s Ladder Blog!
Life is hard.
Now, I’m all about being positive, but as we say in Australia, where l grew up, we call a spade a spade. And the truth is, life is hard.
Sometimes we get dealt a bad hand, other times we make foolish decisions. And then there are the times where we make the worst mistakes we could ever make, and spiral down, down, until we feel like we won’t ever know again what it is like to be normal.
We’re all searching for a way to make things better for ourselves. It is our nature to want answers to life’s questions. However, in the meantime, we cover the pain of living by self-abusing ourselves: We spend money we don’t have, we enter abusive relationships, we watch porn. Some of us even turn to drinking and taking drugs because we can’t cope.
If you’ve been looking for answers and haven’t found them, maybe it’s because you’ve been looking in the wrong place.
God is your answer.
Some of you might be thinking now, “Hey, l don’t have time for that religious stuff. You’ll never see me in a church!” or ”God doesn’t exist. If He did, l wouldn’t be in the situation l am right now.”
I am here to tell you that God does exist. God isn’t religion, God is love. It is all about having a relationship with Him; a loving, healing relationship.
And as to why you’re in the situation you’re in right now, l can’t answer that question. But l do know, that God is the only one who can help you out of it.
The truth of the matter is, without God, we cannot solve our own problems. We can’t come out of debt on our own. We can’t get out of that abusive relationship on our own. We can’t beat that addiction on our own, no matter how many times we’ve tried.
Without God in our lives, we’re broken.
The good news is, God loves you and wants a relationship with you. It hurts Him to see you suffering. In fact, you are so important to Him, that He sent His own son Jesus to die for your sins, so that you can be re-united with Him again. Through the blood that Jesus shed for you on the cross, your transgressions are forgiven.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
God’s redemption, by His grace, will heal the brokenness inside of you. You will be saved, living in eternal victory with Him!
So, what do you need to do to have a relationship with God?
Admit that you are helpless without Him in your life and ask Him for forgiveness for all the sins you’ve committed in the past. Then accept His offer of salvation, His gift to you.
All you need to do is speak the words aloud and truly believe in God’s ability to change you. It is an act of faith on your behalf. With the conviction of your sins and a heartfelt desire to have God enter your life, you will be saved by the grace of God. If you don’t know exactly what to say, I have written a Salvation prayer to help you.
I gave my life to Christ at a time when l felt very alone. I was battling depression and was struggling to cope every day. I was single and lonely for a partner. I was working as a primary school teacher, and l loved working with the kids and thoroughly enjoyed the company of my colleagues. However, after 10 years of working 12 hour days, on weekends and on holidays, the workload had taken a severe toll on my health.
Giving my life to Christ changed my life. God has revealed Himself to me as my true Father, who loves me, who would never hurt me, and on whom l can always rely on. For this reason l call God “Papa”.
God has also reignited my desire to be a writer, and l am now living my dream job of writing Christian articles, novels, and being a blogger. Finally, God led me to my wonderful husband Solomon, who is also a Christian. We have been married now for over four years.
After reading this article and you’re still not sure whether God is for you, think about this: You’ve tried everything else to make things better, and they haven’t worked out. So, what do you have to lose in giving God a try?
You are of the upmost importance to God – you, as an individual, you the person reading this article right now. It doesn’t matter to Him what you have done in the past or what you will do in the future. He knows all that and loves you anyway. You are enough.
God doesn’t care if you thought or spoke ill of him until now. He knew you from the moment you were conceived in your mother’s womb and He delights in you (Jeremiah 1:5).
You are His child and He loves you.
God wants to heal your hurt and pain. He wants to give you a fresh, new start so that you can live the life you deserve to live: full of hope, joy, and happiness. And it is possible to start over, if you give everything over to Him: the debt, the addiction, the fears, the doubt, and allow Him to enter your heart.
‘” For surely I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”‘
The choice is up to you. Do you want to start over?
Would you like to enter into a relationship with God and need someone to talk to? Write us an email with the subject heading “Salvation” or leave a comment below. Your fellow readers and the team at Jacob’s Ladder Blog will be happy to help you!
God is not revealed to us in the Bible as being called just God. He is referred to by other names, each which reveal a certain aspect of His character.
In the Old Testament, names held significance as they did not only fulfill the purpose of identity, they explained characteristics and even occupations.
Therefore, God reveals not only who He is by His many names, but also who He is to us as we learn more about the different aspects of His nature.
Though most of these names may have been revealed to God’s people in the Old Testament, the meaning behind them denotes God’s power, love, and mercy that is just as relevant for us today as it was for believers of the ancient world.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”
Here are 9 of the most well-known names of God and what they mean.
Meaning: “The Lord”, “God”
“These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created. In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.”
Yahweh is found in the Hebrew Bible and holds particular significance in Jewish tradition as a covenant name of God, the holiest of names, and it is held in the highest esteem. In fact, it is considered to be too holy to be even spoken aloud (Exodus 20:7 NRSV). It is derived from the Hebrew word “I am”.
With that in mind, Yahweh first appears in Genesis 2:4. However, God first revealed His covenant name to humans, Moses specifically, in Exodus 3:14-15, when Moses was commanded to tell the Israelites the name of the One who had sent him to lead God’s people out of Egypt. On recognizing the ultimate power and authority behind the name Yahweh, the Israelites would know immediately that Moses had the blessings and strength of God behind him.
The spelling of Yahweh is modern, as it includes vowels to aid with its pronunciation. Yahweh is actually the transliteration of the Hebrew word YHWH, which is known as the Tetragrammaton, meaning 4 letters.
The word Adonai (Lord) is sometimes used as a substitute for YHWH. As a consequence, early English translations of the Bible have amalgamated the two words into Jehovah, which is in common usage even today.
Meaning: “Lord God”, “Master”
“Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel.”
Adonai comes from the plural form of adon (Lord). Hence, Adonai is a reference to the Trinity, as well as a reference to God. When the singular form adon is used, it is usually referring to humans in a position of power, such as King David (2 Samuel 3:21) or the prophet Elisha (2 Kings 2:19).
As a remnant of their tradition of esteemed reverence for the covenant name Yahweh, modern Jewish believers will substitute the word Adonai when reading the scriptures aloud. For that reason, most English versions of the Bible might translate YHWH as “Lord”.
Meaning: Father God / God the Creator
“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth,”
Elohim reflects the sovereignty and absolute power of God. He is the God who created heaven and earth, He is the Almighty and ruler of all. His omnipotent decree is declared in the first verse of the Bible and occurs a total of 2000 times in the scriptures.
The name Elohim is a glorification of the awesome power of God that is displayed through nature. He is mightier than any other gods or false idols that govern the world today, such as consumerism and self-advancement. He is the one true God under which every star, animal, rock, and human must bow to.
So, the next time you watch a sunset or even see a beautiful flower in full bloom, remember the One who created all things.
“He said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.”’
The name Abba was vocalized by both Jesus and Paul in Aramaic in the New Testament, which reflected their deep and personal relationships with God. It is actually mentioned only three times in the Bible – by Paul in Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6 as well as by Jesus in Mark 14:36 in the garden of Gethsemane on the eve of His crucifixion.
However, despite its minimal representation in the scriptures, the name Abba is widely acknowledged as being one of the most intimate names for God.
Through this name, we can see how God cares for us as a father cares for a small child. It is a name that we can call upon when we are in need of assurance, comfort, and protection, knowing in childlike faith that our Father will hear us and look after us.
5. Jehovah Jireh
Meaning: “The Lord will provide”
‘“So Abraham called that place “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”’
The name Jehovah Jireh is only found once in the Bible – in the Book of Genesis. It is used by Abraham to name the place on Mount Moriah where God provided him with a ram to sacrifice as a replacement for his son, Isaac.
This is a beautiful name for God because it reflects His faithfulness and how He keeps His promise that all things will work out for His good (Romans 8:28).
God knows exactly what is going on in our lives – the good and the bad. As in Abraham’s case, He will never fail us nor forsake us when we are in need (Hebrews 13:5-6). His help comes with perfect timing.
6. Jehovah Rapha
Meaning: “The God who heals”
“He heals the brokenhearted,
and binds up their wounds.”
The name Jehovah Rapha is a particular favorite of mine and one which l call upon when l need God’s hand of healing over my life.
It is a name that not only reveals the power of God to heal, repair, and rejuvenate the areas of our lives that are not working in His perfect timing, calling upon the name Jehovah Rapha gives incredible comfort in the knowledge that it is God’s intent to make us whole.
Therefore, if you are waiting on healing, call upon the name of Jehovah Rapha “The God who heals” in your quiet time with the Lord, today.
7. Jehovah Nissi
Meaning: “The Lord is my banner”
“And Moses built an altar and called it, The Lord is my banner.”
There are numerous instances where God spread His hand of protection over His people and kept them safe from their enemies:
- In Exodus 14:26-29 when God caused the parted waters of the Red Sea to return and drown the armies of Pharoah, however, the Israelites crossed over safely on a dry river bed.
- In Judges 7:16-23 God kept Gideon and his 300 men safe, who were armed only with trumpets and torches inside empty pitchers, as they attacked the Midianite camp numbering 135,000 men.
- In 1 Samuel 17:37 God protects David, a shepherd boy, from the prowess of the giant Goliath of Gath, who is a seasoned warrior and the fear of the entire Israelite army.
Jehovah Nissi is a name that proclaims God’s declaration and promise to always protect His children and to deliver them from their foes.
In 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, it states that our adversities do not come in the form of flesh and blood but are spiritual.
That means, the issues that rise against us today, such as financial lack, health, and relationship issues all have spiritual roots that can be addressed by calling out to God in prayer and declaring Him as our protector and deliverer – Jehovah Nissi.
Meaning: “The Lord is peace”
“Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord, and called it, The Lord is peace. ”
Gideon, a Judge from the Old Testament, learned a lot about being in the peace of God as he led a military campaign of 300 hundred faith-filled Israelites against a Midianite army of 135,000 soldiers with no military experience.
The name Jehovah Shalom appears only once in the Bible in Judges 6:24. And yet, this characteristic of God is both powerful and essential to our daily existence.
Where the world is urging us to hurry, as we set our routine to the rhythm of alarm clocks, deadlines, and 40+ hour work weeks, it is important to know that God is not only peace, He has already given us this peace through Jesus Christ.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”
“For you shall worship no other god, because the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”
It’s incomprehensible for us to think that God could get jealous, right? But He does! He is the One who breathed life into us and who promises to never fail us, nor forsake us, neither loosen His hold on us (Hebrews13:5-6).
Whereas we see jealousy as a negative characteristic, God’s jealousy for us is based purely on His encompassing love for us. He sees the broken world in which we live in and knows that there are forces at work to distract us and lead us away from His love and protection.
For that reason, God sent His only son to pay the bond price for our sins in order that we may be reunited with Him and be in eternal fellowship with Him.
Considering all that God has done for you in your life up until this point, isn’t it understandable that He gets jealous? Doesn’t He deserve our praise and adoration?
I have listed 9 names of God, however, there are many more. For example:
If you are interested in learning about more names that God is known by, l believe the links that l have provided at the end of this article will help you.
God’s propensity to love us is addressed by many names. He really is everything we need – His many names prove that.
Whatever you are going through in your life today, l recommend that you call upon the name of the Lord in supplication: Jehovah Rapha if you are waiting on healing, Jehovah Shalom if you are desperately needing peace over a situation.
Though the names that God is known by may be different, they all explain one thing: God is always powerful, always unchanging, and always good. His presence is an unwavering banner in a world that is constantly bowing down to ephemeral trends, transient movements, and shifting expectations. For greater is He that is in us, that He that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
God and His name – all of His names – and what they stand for, are as relevant for us today than ever before. And thank goodness for that, for what would we be without Him?
The Sunday School Network has published this article on their website. Also, check out their vast array of biblical-based teaching resources designed to help children to get to know Jesus.
1. Blue Letter Bible, “The Names of God in the Old Testament”
2. God TV, “Do you know these 14 Hebrew names of God?”
3. iBelieve.com, “10 powerful names of God (And what they mean for us today)
4. Bible Study Tools, “The Wonderful Implications of God being Our Abba Father”
5. Active Christianity, ”Why God has to be a jealous God”
Whether you believe He exists or not, the word “God” carries significance. His name makes up part of our daily vernacular, and the world comes to a standstill due to cyclic traditions that are celebrated in His honor, such as Christmas and Easter. The acronym OMG has become an internationally recognized catchphrase.
As a Christian, God is more than a buzzword or a reason to enjoy a bank holiday. He is our Father, our Creator, and the anchor of our faith. With around 2.3 billion people declaring themselves to be believers, God has more followers than any social media presence on earth.
That’s a lot of love for someone you can’t see or get autographs from.
So, who is God, actually?
These 6 points will hopefully give you a clearer perception of who God is.
1. God is the Creator of heaven and earth
“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.”
Genesis 1:1-2 (NRSV)
The book of Genesis is the first book of the Old Testament. It is known as the “book of beginnings”, not only because it introduces the entire Bible, but because it records the story of Creation – how God created heaven and earth. Genesis continues to record God’s creation of day and night, the sun, moon, and stars, as well as vegetation and man. It also reveals man’s need for a redeemer and consequently, the foreshadowing of Jesus’ coming.
Science claims its own theories for man’s existence, such as Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, or the origin of the universe, such as the Big Bang Theory.
However, the thing about the Bible is, is that it requires faith to believe it. God’s word is infallible. In fact, the whole basis of believing in God is faith. In 2 Corinthians 5:7 it states, “for we walk by faith, not by sight”.
2. God is the great “I AM”
“God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ He said further, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’’”
When God revealed His name to Moses in the Old Testament, He referred to Himself simply as “I AM”.
In the Old Testament, a person’s name was a reflection of their character or even their calling in life. Abraham, for example, means “Father of a great multitude” which makes sense, as God promised Abraham that his offspring would be as countless as the stars in the sky (Genesis 22:17).
God is known by many names – Elohim, Adonai, Jehovah, Emmanuel – just to name a few. Though His names may change, God’s character stays the same, throughout the ages, regardless of our circumstances. In Revelations 1:8 it states “’I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’”
Hence, God is the great “I AM.”
3. God is part of the Trinity
”The Father and I are one.”
“For through Him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father.”
In the hymn “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty”, one of the lines of the lyrics goes as follows:
“God in three persons blessed Trinity”
The Trinity refers to the existence of God as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as a triune God.
During Jesus’ 3-year ministry, Jesus referred to Himself on numerous occasions as belonging to God – not only as His son but that they were one and the same.
The connection between Jesus and the Holy Spirit is quite evident in the New Testament. When John the Baptist baptized Jesus, the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus in the form of a dove and God spoke out, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17).
Jesus also tells the disciples that though He is leaving them, the Holy Spirit will come to reside with them instead (John 14:26).
4. God is love
“Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
1 John 4:8
Our definition of love is not the same as God’s definition. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 describes God’s love – a perfect love for us that surpasses any human capability to love another person.
When the Bible says that God is love, it is declaring God’s character. God loves us because that is who He is. He can’t and won’t stop loving us – even when we make mistakes or commit a sin – because that is simply not His nature.
God does not force His love on anyone. It is because He first loved us, that we seek a relationship with Him in response to His offer of love.
“We love because he first loved us.”
1 John 4:19
5. God gave us His only son
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
When Adam ate the apple from the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden, it resulted in the fall of Man. Since then, we are separated from God through our sinful nature.
However, God does not want to be separated from us. He created us in His own image, in order that we would be in fellowship with Him, love Him, and glorify Him.
However, as long as we are held captive by sin, we cannot be in the presence of God (Isaiah 59:2). Therefore, He sent His son Jesus to us to pay the ransom price for our freedom, in order that we may be reunited for all eternity with Him (Romans 5:8).
Jesus, who we have already established is God, additionally assumed the mortal coil of man, complete with our human frailties. He took on all of our past, present, and future sins and brought them to the cross of Calvary where He was crucified.
With the blood that He spilled on the cross, Jesus broke the chains that sin had kept us in, thereby freeing us to have eternal life with our Father (Isaiah 53:4-5).
6. God’s grace saves us
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast.”
What is so beautiful about God, is that He offers salvation to everyone. It doesn’t matter what mistakes you have made in the past, whether you have followed another religion, or even if you are a kind natured person who regularly helps elderly people cross the road.
God’s salvation is a gift that He freely gives – it cannot be earned.
In order to receive the gift of God’s salvation, we need to recognize in faith that it is God’s grace that saves us. We need to acknowledge that Jesus died on the cross for our transgressions, for it is only through Him that we can enter into a relationship with God (John 14:6). We must repent for our past mistakes and inequities (Romans 3:23).
If we do all of this, we are born again. Not only does God forgive us for all of our sins, but we can start a new spirit-filled life in a loving relationship with God. He is our Father, and we are His children.
God is just as relevant for us today as when He first created us out of dust and breathed life into us. In a broken world, His grace is a way out of the darkness; His love is a lamp at our feet and a light on our path as we walk in eternal fellowship with Him.