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  • Paul Trimble

God wants you to know who he is and what he is really like.

You know the point when your friendship is real? It’s when it dawns on both people that you really know each other at a deep level, and you both still like each other.

Let’s face it. Getting to know someone is easier said than done. We tend to put up false fronts. We hide the parts of us that we think are not very likable. We try to be the type of person that we imagine the other person might like better than the real us. That’s the person we present to the world.


I like to think that I know my wife well. I have been married to Bebe for 30 years. She is the love of my life. We started dating in High School in the Summer of 1984. You know how a song can bring back memories? I still love to hear the song, “The Boys of Summer” by Don Henley. I can see her face when I hear that song. From that time to now I am still getting to know her. We have had thousands of deep conversations. We have laughed together countless times. We have held each other close in painful times. Yet everyday, I learn something new about what drives my wife. I love her. I know her very well. And the amazing thing to me is that she knows me, really knows me, and yet she still loves me.


If you really want to get to know what makes someone tick, you have to dig beyond just what they talk about. Because wisdom teaches us that if you want to know what a person believes, it’s not just what a person says, it’s what they actually do. You can tell what someone believes because they will act on what they believe. But even watching the actions of someone doesn’t tell you the core of the person. To begin to really know someone, you have to dig even beyond their actions to their motivations. Some have adopted the term, “the why” behind something. It’s a way to tell why someone does or says something. Why we do what we do and say what we say is a complex thing. I would humbly suggest that many times, we don’t even know that about ourselves, much less another person. Motivation is a funny and fickle thing. At the core of what causes a person’s motivation to act and speak is what I would suggest to you is a person’s character.


What about the character of God? What is He like? We all, at some point, have a construct of what we believe God is like. I call it a construct, because it is constructed from what we think we know about God. If we are a believer in Christ Jesus, a true Christian, we have access to God the Father. His Word (the Bible) is there for us to read and get to know Him. We can pray too. And yet few Christians I know want to get to know and understand Him deeper through either one of those. Oh they might read a verse here on there on Facebook and they may pray before a family meal. Instead we look to our experience. We watch our little view of the universe from our perspective. We analyze our lives. We observe the lives of our friends and family from day to day and we form this picture of the character of God. What we are doing is we are deciding on the character of God. We are mentally building a construct of what we believe God to be like. And what we don’t know or don’t like, we fill in by making assumptions.


The challenge about a finite person like us, making assumptions about an infinite all powerful God is, well, limited. And if we take action to live our life based on this wrong information, this wrong character we have believed about God, our lives will be ruined. No wonder so many people have run the ship of their lives up onto the rocks.


And Christians even admit what they believe about God and what they read in scripture don’t line up. The problem is that many have elevated their personal experience to the same level of truth as the Bible. And that’s where the problem confuses us. We trust our experience more than we trust the word of God.


The more I get to know about the character of God, the smaller I become and the bigger God gets in my eyes.


I’ve walked with God through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ since the Fall of 1974. I was a kid when I was saved. God led my brother Ted to lead me to commit my life to Christ on the front porch of my home in Wylie, Texas. There have been times my following Jesus was not that great. I let way too much sin get in. Other times, I tried to achieve a self righteousness, like somehow I could be good enough to earn God’s love. But other times, I have grown and I have sought to live without sin and to follow the commands that Jesus laid out in scripture. But over all those years of knowing God through the highs and lows, or should I say, trying to know God more, I have found an oxymoron. Maybe you have found this too.


The more I get to know about the character of God, the smaller I become and the bigger God gets in my eyes. I did say it was an oxymoron. What I mean is that with people, as you get to know them more, the less there is to know. That’s because the other person is finite. Like drinking water out of a glass. As you drink the water, there is less water in the glass. The amount of water is limited. There’s only so much you can know about another person.

But with God it’s different. If you’ve not experienced this kind of relationship with God, let me do my best to explain something that I’m not sure is explainable. But I’ll try.


God is infinite, meaning He has no edges. So the more you know about God, there’s no less to know. Mind blowing! The more you drink from that glass, there’s always more to drink. And using that analogy, it’s a much bigger glass each time you take a drink and there’s more and more water. That’s the infiniteness of God. The more you know about Him, the more you realize that God is so much bigger than you ever thought possible. It’s part of His character. By the way, we’ll be trying to explain that for all eternity.


As you get to know God more, a few things begin to happen in your relationship with Him. First, you develop an awe of Him. It is an awe that can be best described as a fear at first that begins to grow. And yet the fear doesn’t make you want to flee from Him, it makes you want to get to know Him more.


Second, the more you know God, the more you begin to understand that He loves you and wants the very best for you. And the thing that blows our mind is that His love for you is not based on you being good enough and earning his love. No. Rather, you begin to realize He loves you just because He chooses to love you. (See: Romans 5:8)


Third, the more you realize he chooses to love you, the more you love Him and want to know Him more. This cycle, this relationship, is the realization that the God of the universe, the all powerful God, is in a relationship with you based on his love for you. It becomes a game changer in how you want to live your life. You are not just keeping a bunch of rules to earn His love. Rather, you are living a life like Jesus said to because you love him. And maybe the craziest thing of all, is the more you know God, the more you understand who you are and what you have been created to do.


So how do we get to know the character of God? Well the answer is simpler than you might have imagined. With a God that is infinite and people that are finite, it all revolves around a character of God that we call revelation. There’s a book in the Bible called Revelation. But that’s not really what we are talking about here, but it comes from the same idea of God revealing Himself and His will to us.


Revelation from God comes in two major ways. The first is General Revelation. That means that we can know God through creation. He reveals himself through creation. We can see God all around us if we look. The Apostle Paul tells us in the New Testament book of Romans;


For his invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made. As a result, people are without excuse.

Romans 1:20 (CSB)


You have experienced this haven’t you? In a sunrise or by a mountain lake or looking over a clear blue ocean, even the joy in a newborn baby, you sense God. The problem is that for most people, even though they feel (they sense) God’s invisible attributes and His eternal power, they believe that is all there is to know about God.

Look at this verse from the Old Testament book of Psalms.


The heavens were made by the word of the Lord,

and all the stars, by the breath of his mouth.

Psalm 33:6 (CSB)

Creation, all of it, came from the breath of His mouth. That’s a personal God. And as you feel your chest move out as you inhale and feel it go in as you exhale, that very act is all because of God. And yes I mean that He created you and the air you breathe and the world around you, but not only that. Everything around you is supported in Him, even as you read this. Without God, all creation would simply cease.


God has revealed Himself to His creation. To us. We call that General Revelation. But God has also revealed Himself personally to us in what we call Special Revelation. Think about it like this. God has described Himself through the Bible. The Bible is made up of 66 books. There are 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. Sixty Six books that make up a library about God. A Library of God, if you will. Each book with its own way of describing the nature of God. Each one revealing some aspect of an infinite God. And yet, even though it has 66 different books, what it describes is one God made up of three persons. There is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Three distinct persons that make up one God. The Bible is one book, in that it is the story of God, who He is, what He has done and what he is going to do. That is Special Revelation.


People have told me that they don’t understand the Bible. And certainly there are some parts that are more confusing than others. It does require regular (daily) study. And disciplined study. Many times, I have realized through a conversation that a person has tried studying the Bible and given up. But what they meant was that they were just jumping from reading one text or verse and then skipping to a completely different area and verse and reading. No wonder it’s confusing! I don’t know of any book that makes sense that way.

I like to read and understand the Bible through three distinct daily practices. First, I read the Bible for story overall. I start at the beginning (Genesis 1:1) and read through it until the end (Revelation 22:21). Then I start over at Genesis. To be fair, I usually listen to the Bible on my phone. It’s the first thing I do when I wake up. As I get ready for the day, I listen to the Bible. I want to hear the story of God. For years I read the Bible, but personally, I’m and auditory learner, so audio works great for me. I usually get through the Bible 3 or 4 times per year, just listening.


The second way I read the Bible is through meditation. To some that sounds like I sit on the floor with my legs crossed and I hum and take deep breaths while I read it. That’s not the picture. Consider the instruction to Joshua from God, as Joshua is being given the leadership of the Hebrew people.


This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to meditate on it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do.

Joshua 1:8 (CSB)


This kind of meditation is about reading the Bible slowly. Thinking through it along with what you know about other scripture and the character of God. Ask yourself, “What was God saying when he inspired the writer to write this verse?” Ask, “God what do you want me to know here? What do you want me to understand about you in this scripture?” And then carefully comparing what you think you know about God to what the Bible is actually saying. That’s meditation.


But then there’s a third way to study God’s word daily. And that is to study what other godly men and women have written about scripture. I read and listen to commentaries on scripture and I listen to solid preachers and teachers. I read books and listen to podcasts. Now, here is an important warning for you. Be very careful that you always use the Bible as the core source of truth. In other words, if what someone says about scripture doesn’t agree with scripture, always go with scripture. But a good Bible commentary will help you with the other two kinds of daily study. I generally preach out of the either the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) or the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible. Both of those translations offer wonderful and solid Bible commentary.


So we read (or listen to) the entire Bible fast for story every morning. Then everyday, we slowly read and meditate on short parts of scripture trying to really understand the character of God. Then, daily we read or listen to commentaries and preaching to gain insight from other Bible teachers. That is the way we study the Bible. We try to understand it.

In terms of understanding the Bible, here’s a major advantage Christians have that non-Christians don’t. Christians, have the Holy Spirit of God in them. The very reason we become a Christian is that the Holy Spirit of God reveals to us that Jesus is the Son of God. (See Matthew 16:17 and 1 Corinthians 2:10). And one of the key functions of the Holy Spirit in you is to reveal what God is telling us about Himself, through scripture. (See Romans 8:14, John 14:26)


But you might be asking, why so much focus on the Bible? Another word we use for the Bible is called scripture. The word scripture is defined as “writings” or “sacred writings”. These sacred writings have come to us through human authors. So why trust them? Consider the words of the Apostle Paul when he writes…


All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, correcting, for training in righteousness,

2 Timothy 3:16 (CSB)


The earthly writers were inspired by God. And what they wrote was good. And what they wrote has the power to change our lives. To shape us, and to mold us. To make us new.

And how do we know that men didn’t just think of this all on their own? Well, there are a host of reasons and scripture but let me give you two for now.


I have read a lot of other books in my life. Some very good ones, but those books did not have the power to change my life at the spiritual level. But the Bible does. The Bible is different than any other book ever written.


One, is the track record of the Bible having the power to change lives. The Bible has been the most consistent source of teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, since the time that it was written. Billions of people have had their lives changed for the better, through the power of God’s words revealed by the Holy Spirit. And the second reason is that the Bible itself tells us that God wrote it. The Apostle Peter wrote…


because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

2 Peter 1:21 (CSB)


I have read a lot of other books in my life. Some very good ones, but those books did not have the power to change my life at the spiritual level. But the Bible does. The Bible is different than any other book ever written.


The second reason to trust the Bible as a daily source of life and getting to know God is this. We believe all of the Bible to be God-inspired. That is what the Bible itself claims. And I would also add the Bible is without error in what theologians call, “Autograph of Scripture”. The original copy. For example, when Paul wrote the Church at Galatia, his letter was an Autograph of Scripture. And although we don’t have the originals, what we do have is the copies of those first originals. And, we have many of them. Lots of them. More than any other ancient text outside the Bible. In other words, people copied the original Autograph of Scriptures, letter by letter from the original Hebrew and Greek text.


By the way, many people get the false impression that Bible translations are like a daisy chain, meaning, all the translations happened from the one previous and never going back to the original. But the truth is good translations go back to the original copies made of the Autograph of Scriptures.


Jesus viewed the Old Testament as His heavenly Father’s words. His instructions to live by. Paul described the Old Testament as entirely “God breathed”. That’s just like the rest of the universe. God spoke creation into existence. Why are we surprised that His words written in the scripture would not speak life and create life within us?


But it’s not just the Old Testament. Jesus’ words and the apostles’ teaching is also considered God’s Special Revelation. Scripture. The books of the apostles complete what we call the canon of scripture. Why this is so important is that God is telling us about Himself and in turn it tells us how we must relate to Him.


What I find fascinating and frustrating at the same time are people that have been a Christian for years and yet they talk and live their life like God is some unknowable force. They believe Jesus died for their sin and that He is the Son of God and their sins have been forgiven, but they have never gotten to know God on a personal level. They believe that they are going to Heaven when they die. They have a limited idea of His character. But they don’t see much use in studying the Bible or getting to know God any more than they already do. I want you to know that there is so much more to God than that. There is a life they are missing! A real and deep relationship with God and in my humble opinion, most Christians are missing that relationship.


What we are talking about is a relationship starting to grow. You talking to God and pouring your heart out. Leaving your worries with him.


Let me encourage you. If you have been a Christian for many years or if you are just starting out trying to know God, He wants to be known. God wants you to know Him. He already knows you at the deepest level of who you are. God is making Himself known in creation. That General Revelation of who He is. But it’s in that daily Special Revelation that He wants you to really get to know Him. To know his character. What is incredibly interesting is that as you get to know God’s Special Revelation about Himself through scripture, the General Revelation of God in nature will have even more impact on your life.


What we are talking about is a relationship starting to grow. You talking to God and pouring your heart out. Leaving your worries with him. In fact the Apostle Paul tells us that you can actually know what to pray to God by simply praying about what is troubling you. Paul tells us…


Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 (CSB)


That is a great promise that you can have the peace of God guarding your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. But just as important as you taking your cares to God, is God speaking to you, revealing his character.


I want to make a promise to you. If you do start to get to know His character, He will begin to change your life. You will begin to see God’s purpose in why He made you. And in that, you will find your “why”, the motivation for you to live your life. And probably the best part of all is that you will begin to recognize the voice of God in your life. As God himself through the third person of the Trinity begins to speak to you.

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