Some people think of God as a distant being, unapproachable and indifferent to their needs, because that was the way that they related to their dads. Others think of God as totally negative, cold, perfectionistic, always taking note of their mistakes and wrongs but never recognizing any worth in them as a person. Again this perception may be rooted in the way their fathers related to them. Still others choose to disbelieve in God completely, particularly if their father was absent from the home.
Counseling experience indicates that the reasons for such misconceptions are usually emotional rather than intellectual. The truth is that God is not like my father or anyone else’s father.
God is who He is. We must let Him reveal Himself to us in whatever way He chooses. He revealed Himself to us through His Son Jesus Christ. As I trust Christ and allow Him to show me His Father, I will learn more about God the Father. God also reveals Himself through His Word, the Bible.
Study of Attributes
“Attributes” are descriptions of a person’s nature or character. The following Scripture passages reveal some of the Father’s attributes. Using the first example as a guide, identify each attribute and it’s significance to your life.
26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; John 5:26
Significance: I depend on God for my existence. God depends on no one. Thus, I can trust Him.
57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.” John 6:57, 58
Attribute: God lives forever / He is eternal / He has always been and always will be.
Significance: He gives eternal life to me.
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
Attribute: God is all powerful / Omnipotent
Significance: He can protect me from all enemies / He can cause all things to work together for my good.
26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26, 27
Attribute: God knows all things / Omniscient
Significance: I am weak; I don’t know how to pray; the Holy Spirit helps me; the Spirit intercedes for me; God the Father knows what I need and what the Spirit is saying. God the Father helps me.
Attribute: God loves His adopted children.
Significance: He promises to love me and to dwell with me in intimate, loving fellowship.
26 In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed thatI came forth from the Father. 28 I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father.” . . . 33 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:26-28, 33
Attribute: The Father Himself loves me / God is Spirit / He is outside the world.
Significance: I am secure in God the Father’s love. I can be confident and at peace in Christ, because He has overcome the world.
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16
Attribute: God is love.
Significance: He has arranged for my eternal salvation and for the salvation of whoever believes.
9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Attribute: God is faithful.
Significance: I can trust God to do what He says. He will fulfill all of His promises.