Download the free study God on God's character (above). See how the bible describes the character traits of God by using discernment of how that character trait is used throughout the bible. We can look for patterns to better understand God's character traits while examining our own personal experience having participated in those traits.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
How scripture describes God...
1 John 4:16 God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
John 4:24 God is spirit,
John 3:33 God is truthful
1 Corinthians 10:13 God is faithful
Psalm 103:8 The Lord is merciful
Psalm 86:15 gracious God
1 Corinthians 14:33 God is not a God of disorder but of peace
2 Thessalonians 1:6 God is just:
James 5:11 The Lord is full of compassion
Deuteronomy 32:4 Righteous and upright is He
Mark 10:18 18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God
Psalm 73:26 God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Daniel 9:9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him;
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble
Group questions to guide conversations
Discussions ought to focus on insight for spiritual growth. We ought to seek out solutions for ourselves. We ought to speak for ourselves only. Our thoughts and comments ought to focus toward how we each individually can improve toward God’s character. (inductive study style)
Part one - understanding the common message (when something gets repeated it raises its importance or significance)
Part two - what can we take away from the message for us (If we are learners/disciples of God, then shouldn't we read the message as if God was teaching us how to live, think, follow, and shape our attitudes?)
Galatians 5:13-26 Life by the Spirit
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
2 Peter 1:5-9
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
Action, applied effort, and improved character are part of being Christian.
A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both. Dwight D. Eisenhower
Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are. Franklin D. Roosevelt
The community which has neither poverty nor riches will always have the noblest principles. Plato
Jesus Christ provided a message of love above all else. Love was everything because God is love. Jesus made the point clear to his readers we are to seek God and connect with Him. God's love can then move through us from his spirit. Love is felt within us where the spirit resides. Love is not tangible. It cannot be measured, weighed out, or put in a box. It is in the heart and the spirit. If we do not know God's truth and God's love then we simply do not know God. God is known and experienced inwardly.
Below is John 15. Please reflect on the following points while reading it. Conversation with others about these points also increases self-awareness and deeper understanding.
First, we connect with God and produce fruit. We are to remain connected with God. We are to keep his commands.
Second, humbly loving others deeply in service and truth may convict others of their lack of principles. For example, if someone asks us to lie and we refuse they may become upset with us claiming we are not their friend. We are God's friend first and foremost and we are doing such a person a favor by demonstrating the right thing to do. Urging others onto deeper honesty and love may raise a negative reaction from them, but it is the defensive nature of sin within them. We are not wrong when someone else thinks we are. We are no longer slaves to other people nor the sin of the world while remaining in God.
Lastly, God sends us an advocate or spirit of truth to teach us. It is so important to be connected to the spirit and come to rely on him to increase our confidence in the face of opposition.
The Vine and the Branches 15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other. The World Hates the Disciples 18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’ The Work of the Holy Spirit 26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
Dallas Willard “the Great Omission”
Page 111 “It is the redeeming relationship of disciple to master, in which unmerited favor is received from the earliest stages of repentance and forgiveness to the most advanced gifts of vision, character, service, and power.”
Page 125 “We can be channels of the grace of the risen Christ… But we must attend to the means of His grace in practical and specific ways to experience His life into and through our lives.”