I have been thinking… who is God? Not what does God do… I know He provides, He sees all, hears all, knows all… I know He protects, He comforts, He heals… Those are all things He does, so who is He? As humans we often get caught in this ‘do vs. is’ battle. When asked to describe yourself, to state who you are, mostly likely you would name things that you do.. well, I’m a teacher, a construction worker, a ‘whatever/fill in the blank’. That is usually where we start in a conversation about ourselves. Again… these are things we DO not necessarily WHO WE ARE. They can have an impact on who we are, of course… Those things help shape and mold us, our views on life, our beliefs and often our actions. But they are still only what we do.. not who we are. So, who is God?
Well, here it is…… Ready?…… GOD IS LOVE. There ya go… after asking, studying, searching, praying… That’s what I’ve come up with (1 John 4:8, 1John 4:16). Now this might sound very simple, and I suppose in a way it is, but in another way this is so much more than we think or know. Because of course, God is not love in the sense that we use that word, He is not love in the standard ‘world’ sense of love. He is TRUE, REAL, RIGHTEOUS love. Our little tiny minds have boxed it up, twisted it, and made it into this broken thing. We accept that love isn’t what it should be most of the time. We shouldn’t. Okay, let’s go to the ‘love chapter’ you all know what I mean.. 1 Corinthians 13. I’m just going to go ahead and put this here,
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we all know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; But the greatest of these is LOVE.“
This is the entire 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians (NKJV). Love suffers long, this means love is persistent. It does not give up, it sticks through all the junk to come out on the other side. So then…. God is long-suffering. He is persistent and patient. He sticks with us through thick and thin, He doesn’t throw in the towel at the first sign of weakness and failure. THANK YOU LORD!!!!
Love is kind. It doesn’t do guilt trips and bullying. Neither does God. Wow, we need to get that. God is not mean, He isn’t sitting in Heaven judging us, tallying up everything we do wrong. He doesn’t play games with us, He isn’t cruel. HE IS KIND.
Love does not envy. It doesn’t look to what it doesn’t have. God is not concerned with what isn’t His, only with what is His. He is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14). He is jealous for us, because we are His. When other things are taking all of our attention and we forget, ignore, or step away from Him, He is jealous for us. We are His, we have been redeemed. Redeemed literally means ‘bought’…. He paid a price for us (HIS ONE AND ONLY SON). Of course He is jealous for us when HIS people give themselves to others. We are rightfully His, and His alone. He is not jealous of us, He is jealous for us.
Love does not parade itself, it is not puffed up. It’s not going around boasting & prideful, its gentle. God is gentle. He doesn’t go about parading Himself like some of us think He should… Right? You know you have thought it before, ‘God, if you’re powerful..mighty..whatever.. show yourself, do something grand and magnificent’. We’ve all been there. Well, the truth is He is always doing something grand and magnificent, are you breathing? Are you alive and well? Look outside.. everything still there? Okay, there you go. Something amazing. Are you holding everything together? No… because HE IS. And He draws us to Himself through all these amazingly loud whispers. Do you hear Him?
Love does not behave rudely. It is understanding.. it is compassionate.. it is gentle. God is not rude. He is unmeasurably compassionate. When we are met with a rude, nasty attitude it is usually our response to be rude right back, or to be hurt. Well, that is not God’s response to us, He meets us with compassion. And how often are we so rude to Him and to others? Honestly. No matter how much rudeness, meanness, and rebellion we come to God with, He does not respond rudely. He responds out of compassion.
Love does not seek its own. It is not selfish. God is not selfish. He gave His one and only Son that we might know Him. …. Basically the most selfless thing ever. Love is all about giving, it isn’t greedy. It is not all about stockpiling, it’s about giving away. Love is not provoked. God doesn’t get riled up about things, He is not reactional. He is not moved. God is stable, He is unchanging, unmoving, always there. Constant and consistent, He is our rock.
Love thinks no evil. God is holy, God is good. He doesn’t have the same thoughts we have (Isaiah 55:8-9).. you know, those evil thoughts we think but would never say aloud… Yeah, He doesn’t do that. HE IS GOOD, HE IS HOLY. Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth. God is truth. As we talked about before, He is good. He doesn’t rejoice in iniquity or suffering. He rejoices in truth.
Love bears all things. God bears all things. Again, He doesn’t just drop us. He is good, He is persistent, He is constant. He bears with us while we go through it, He is our strength while we go through it. He waits on us. Love believes all things. God believes in us, He is our strength. He wants us to succeed in His will in our life. He knows our hearts. Love hopes all things. He is our hope. Again, He wants us to succeed… He in on our side. He is for us!! Love endures all things. God endures all things, when He doesn’t have to at all. He is holy and good and perfect. He does not have to endure our rebellion. He does, because that is who He is. He endures because He is.
Love never fails. GOD NEVER FAILS. He is who He is. He doesn’t stop, He doesn’t get tired of it all, He doesn’t fail. He doesn’t because He is. God is all-sufficient. What is His name? ‘I AM’ (Exodus 3:14). HE IS. That is why he never fails… because He is. He cannot fail, Failure is not who He is. How lovely is that?!
Well, there you are. God is love. Real, true, righteous love. And He never fails at being love. He never fails. Rest in that, just lean your head back on His chest and take Him in. That is what we’re meant to do. He would love for all of His children to lean into Him, trust, and let Him love us.
Let Him love you with His amazing, true, righteous, powerful love.