Walk in Wisdom – Gleanings from the Scripture
1 John 1.5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
What’s your favorite divine attribute? God’s thrice-glorious holiness? His sovereignty? His omniscience? His love, mercy, grace or gentleness? How about his ineffability, that he is so transcendent we cannot properly express him? Perhaps God’s glory – his weightiness, or his righteousness, justice, majesty, omnipotence or omnipresence? I particularly love that he is immutable – never changing. I like that because it speaks of how dependable his faithfulness is. His long-suffering is also supremely attractive to me, as to others his infinitude, self-existence, truthfulness, impartiality and tri-unity are uniquely delightful. Nor do we want to forget his being eternal, wise, self-sufficient and good.
Each of these (and others) strikes a special chord within the breasts of his people. As individuals we resonate with some or one of these more than the others. They captivate us in a very personal way. And they can change over time. For myself, I was always far more enamored with God’s sovereignty when I was younger, but find His patience and long-suffering, and especially his faithfulness to me leading the pack today. Who knows tomorrow?
This resonating with God’s attributes happens both negatively as well as positively. So it is Prov. 18.28 reads: “with the purified you show yourself pure; and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.” One who has received mercy and has been changed by it, sees God as merciful, and shows mercy to others. Those still standing under the guilt and weight of their sins, see God as harsh and judgmental – because they know themselves guilty and rightfully condemned. Even Christians can find themselves responding negatively to one or more of his attributes when they happen to reveal the opposite still within us. Confronting them can bring hidden opposition to them to the surface. Just as over-identification with just one or two attributes can relegate others to a less important role.
Now the point of this is: We can (and do) have those attributes of God we seem to resonate with best, and find as our own particular favorites. This is well and good. But while we CAN assign favorites, we cannot, DARE not, assign any one or group of attributes more IMPORTANCE.
Herein is a very great danger. For when we place any one particular attribute above the others, we make God to be less God, and more a god of our liking. An idol. And it makes no difference which one of those attributes we do it with. To do so, is to remove from God his essential unity and perfection. It is to make him imbalanced – even if the imbalance is in our minds an emphasis on something good – the BEST!
God (our text says) is light, and in him is no darkness at all. And when we consider light, we get some very important insight to the problem we are discussing here. Light, when it is viewed in its full, perfectly harmonized state – is pure. When viewed through a prism, its various shades and hues can be seen. And we might well say “I like the green part of the spectrum, to me it is most beautiful.” Or, we might prefer the hot reds over the cool greens, or the deep blues over both. But ultimately, we must take them all, or we do not have “light” as a complete package. So it is with the attributes of God. Maybe you love the gentle yellows of his mercy, they are a particular delight. But you cannot remove his red hot just wrath, and have only those yellows. Nor can we have only the lush greens of his grace, and forget the violet hues of his inscrutability.
We must take all of God, in balance. Enjoying in their season a rightful emphasis on each, and perhaps even holding to a favorite at times – but never at the expense of any other. Never to make one, the lead of all. Never to rob him of his perfection and absolute essential harmony. Never to see him only or primarily through our favorite colored lens – but in the full, resplendent blaze of the purest, un-tinted – light. Light in which there is not even the smallest spec of darkness.
Beloved, beware of shading God to your liking. Take him as he is. Receive him in his perfection. Take all of him. Only then, can you really see – clearly.