Exploring the Names of God
We just celebrated Valentine’s Day. That brings love to mind. And that takes us to one of the first names of God that most of us learned:
The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. – I John 4:8
It’s true, young children just memorize the last three words of that verse: God is love. That’s well and good, but many fail to explore that statement. So, what can a lizard teach us about the names of God?
Names of God: Love
In the previous post, I said it benefits us to understand the names by which God reveals Himself to us. One post, or even an entire book, would not begin to unpack God Is Love. But let’s take one lesson from the example of the lizard.
The lizard runs across the top of the water. How deep is the water? The lizard won’t know. He will get wet as he runs, but he is not immersed in the water. Unfortunately, that is how most of us understand God Is Love. We just hit the surface. Every now and again we get a ‘splash’ of understanding. What would happen if the lizard stopped running?
The same Word that says God Is Love also tells us:
Be still, and know that I am God…
If the lizard stopped, immersion would happen immediately. My example may be quirky, but does it have a Scriptural basis? You know the answer!
Names of God: Immersed in Love
Why would the Apostle Paul command us to do something which he admits is impossible? Did he actually do that? Notice his letter to the Ephesian church (and us):
That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Paul says we should comprehend (my emphasis added above) the love of God. We are meant to:
Doing that reminds us love is a verb, not a noun. Love expresses itself in actions. God so loved the world that He gave… (action). Romans 5:8 tells us Christ demonstrated His love for us while we were still sinners by dying on a Roman cross.
The height, depth, and breadth of God’s love is beyond our ability to comprehend. Paul says so, and that is consistent with the infinite nature of Yahweh, our Father. Every one of His attributes is infinite. How could we possibly understand infinite Love? And how do finite, imperfect people like me become filled with the fullness of God?
The answers lie behind other questions: What is heaven? Where is heaven? One answer is this: Heaven is us being in the presence of Almighty God. Our journey of understanding our Father’s love began for us when we believed. But it is in His presence we will really begin to do what Paul commanded: comprehend the limitless reaches of His love. We will have eternity to explore His love!
But what about today? All of this ought to help us with faith and trust – things we have to do because our faith is not yet sight. His love is so immense and so beyond our comprehension we really can be still and trust His heart for us.
To be sure, there is a great deal more to say about God Is Love. But this is enough for today. Think about it… ’til next time.