Why you need to know what God is like
If you watch kids play, you'll catch a toddler feeding baby dolls and putting them to sleep. You'll find someone pretending to shop or talk on the phone. You might even catch some older kids putting on their best grown-up voice as they take the role of teacher or mom in a game of school or house.
Kids don't come into the world knowing how to do those things. They're simply imitating what they've seen at home.
In Ephesians 5:1, the apostle Paul tells us to imitate our heavenly Father. The more we know about God, the more accurate our imitations of Him will be. The following characteristics are not admonishments to try harder or do more, they are a glimpse of the kind of people we were made to be.
10 Characteristics of God
"Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love" (1 John 4:8).
It’s hard to get any clearer than that. God is love. In order for us to imitate God, we must love. There is never a time where God does not love, and He wants the same to be said of us. In every moment of every day, we do our best to love those we come in contact with.
"... who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped" (Philippians 2:6).
Jesus left heaven and died for our sins so we could have a relationship with God. There is no way we could ever give up that much or humble ourselves to that point. When we feel wronged or slighted, this verse serves as a great reminder. Jesus does not ask anything of us that He hasn’t already given.
"When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:36).
One of the best prayers you can pray is to ask God for the ability to see people as He sees people. When our heart is broken with His compassion for the lost, our life is dedicated to loving God and loving people.
"Even as the son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28).
Jesus set the example to serve, even if it means giving our life away.
"He who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:32).
God is the ultimate giver. He gave Jesus over on our behalf and will not withhold any good thing. There is nothing good that can be given apart from God; He is the source of all good things. That should free us up to give and give generously because our Father owns everything and will not withhold anything good from us.
"And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross" (Philippians 2:8).
Even though He was God himself, Jesus submitted to the Father while on earth in human form. Jesus practiced obedience so that we could also live in obedience.
"The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens" (Proverbs 3:19)
God is the original source of all wisdom. If we need wisdom for any decision or obstacle we currently face, all we have to do is ask (James 1:5).
"For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing" (Deuteronomy 10:17-18).
God is just in His nature. Anything that we do that is unjust goes against the very nature of God.
"but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct" (1 Peter 1:15).
Holiness only comes through a direct connection to God. This is a promise; those who belong to God are Holy because He makes them so.
"His disciples remembered that it was written, 'Zeal for your house will consume me'” (John 2:17).
Passion is a fire in our hearts that leads to action, not an empty emotional wish that somebody would do something one day. Jesus is passionate about the church, and Jesus is passionate about people. If we're imitating God, our lives will look the same.
As we spend time with God, we learn His voice, His character, and His way of doing things. And the longer we follow God, the more these characteristics become evident in us.