What’s your mental picture of God? A.W. Tozer said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Most of us don’t think much about what we think about God. We “know” things about Him, or at least think we do. Those left-brain “facts” about Him are important, but more important is actually knowing God.

That implies relationship. Think of your human relationships; they come in all shapes and sizes. What we call people is often a name for the relationships; that’s my mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, friend, boss, coworker, pastor, doctor, mentor, acquaintance, neighbor.

Who is God to you?

Within recent days during my own prayer time I was hit by the realization that there was a particular way in which God desires to be known that I have not really known Him well. Whole Bible studies are appropriately written about knowing God. In many respects this is the whole focus of the Christian life, because it’s as we come to truly know Him that we become like Him.

Within the space available here, in what dimensions do you know God? We can only briefly touch on the implications of knowing God in these different aspects. Do you know Him as . . . ?

Creator, Source

God made you. In eternity past He thought of you. You originated from Him, and your life continues to come from Him. If He ceased to exist, you would not exist.

That’s more than an existential reality; it also means God is your Source today. Your life comes from Him. Just like the whole universe, He holds you together. (See Acts 17:25, Colossians 1:16-17, Hebrews 1:3)

You might pray, “God, I receive the life You are giving me. And I pray that Your life flow through me to all that is around me.”

Father

Father was Jesus’ favorite term for the First Person of the Godhead. It’s how we are told to address God, and how we are to think of Him. (See Isaiah 63:16, Matthew 6:9, Romans 8:15, John 16:27)

If you had a wonderful relationship with your earthly father, this seems like good news. But if your earthly father was absent, unpredictable, harsh, punitive, uninvolved, or ineffective, your internal picture of God as your Father will need some deep healing.

Have you experienced being fathered by God – in a loving, uplifting, empowering, strength-producing way?

Mother??

God is not gendered; both male and female human beings are made in His image (Genesis 1:27). And, the Bible usually speaks of God as male. However, many descriptions in Scripture picture God with the characteristics of a mother – nurturing life, comparing Himself to the way a mother cares for her children. (See Psalm 131:2, Isaiah 66:12, Matthew 23:37)

Have you experienced God lovingly and tenderly nurturing you, giving you life?

Husband, Lover

John Wesley wrote, “Jesus, Lover of my soul.” Throughout Scripture God is pictured as a husband to His people, deeply hurt when we are unfaithful to Him, wooing us back to Himself, desiring the kind of intimacy with us that He originally created us for. Jesus pictures Himself as the Bridegroom. (See Isaiah 54:5, Mark 2:19-20)

Regardless of your gender or your relationship status, this is one of the ways God desires us to know Him. That requires pursuing intimacy with God, which touches something in your soul that you deeply need – and desire.

Get quiet and invite God to love you. Choose to open your soul to His love.

Friend

A major part of Jesus’ message was, “God is for you.” Humans still struggle to believe that God is not our enemy. Jesus said, “If you want to know what God is like, look at me” (paraphrase of John 14:9). And as a result of Jesus life, death, and resurrection, God sees us as His friends.  (see John 15:15, Ephesians 2:16)

Are you interacting with God as your Friend? What do friends do? They spend time together, tell each other their thoughts and feelings, do stuff together. How can your relationship with God, and especially your prayers, be more like that?

Savior, Deliverer

This may be what most people think of first when they think of Jesus. And He is! Hallelujah! As human beings we truly were hopeless on our own. The human race was sunk, marred almost beyond recognition, and held prisoner by the evil one. But the second Person of the Godhead came as a Savior, a Deliverer. (See Matthew 1:21, John 1:29, Romans 8:1-5)

Do you know Jesus as Savior? What have you been delivered from? Have you thanked Jesus recently? And what do you still need freedom from? An addiction? Broken patterns of thought and behaviors from the past? He is still in business of setting people free!

Lord, King

The cry of the early followers of Jesus after His ascension was “Jesus is Lord!” They understood that through His death and resurrection He became King over everything – “in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Philippians 2:10). He is Lord over the natural world, humanity, the kingdoms of darkness, the universe, everything. We live in the time when His rulership is here in truth, but not yet in fullness. (See Philippians 2:9-11, Romans 8:18-23)

If you’ve received Jesus as Savior, have you also taken Him as your Lord? Is He Lord over your life – your money, time, relationships, sex life, work life, entertainment, everything?

Leader

Jesus didn’t say to His followers, “Go shape up.” He said, “Follow Me.” He pictures Himself as going in front, inviting us to follow. God is at work; it’s not about us trying harder or striving to make something happen. It’s a matter of seeing what God is up to, and where He is inviting us to cooperate with Him in His work. (See John 10:4,27; Matthew 16:24; John 21:19,22).

What would it feel like to wake up in the morning and ask, “Jesus, where are You leading me today?” Could you do that more often?

Counselor

How we need counsel! We live in a time when confusion, division, and pressure fill the air. It would be priceless to have a personal Counselor, One who has a complete understanding of you, the circumstances, and the future, and who is unconditionally for you. Jesus promised that! This is not some mystical “something” out there in the ether; this is a Person who is living in you, present to give you help and counsel 24/7/265. (See Psalm 32:8, Isaiah 9:6, John 14:26, 16:13, 1 Corinthians 6:19)

How often do you avail yourself of the counsel of God the Holy Spirit, who is living within you? That could change everything.

Healer

The messed-up world we live in has wounded us in many ways – physically, emotionally, relationally, spiritually. Not only do we need to be “saved,” but we need to be healed from all the assaults we have received. That’s what God has promised. When Jesus was here on earth the world got a small taste of what things are like when they are as God wants them to be, and being healed and whole was a huge part of it. (See Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4:17-21, Revelation 22:2)

Much of that healing is available now. And some of that healing comes in eternity. Where do you need God to heal you, especially your broken heart?

Do You Know Him?

Throughout our Christian life here, God continues to invite us to know Him more deeply. He is less concerned with your speed than with your pursuit of knowing Him.

In which of these dimensions do you sense God inviting you to know Him more?

Your Turn: What is the dimension of knowing God that has meant the most to you recently? What dimension are you going to pursue next? Leave a comment below.

Want more? This week on the podcast I talk with Tim Elmore about helping kids develop creativity and leadership as God intended for them. You can listen or watch here.

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  • Knowing God is not just knowing about Him; it’s about experiencing Him in all the dimensions of who He is. Do you know Him as: Creator, Father, Friend, Savior, King, Counselor, and more?  Tweet that.

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