Early in my Christian life, I heard a sermon series on the Lord’s Prayer. When my pastor reached “Hallowed be Your name,” he took a detour into another sermon series on the names of God. Not long after that, I completed Kay Arthur’s study, Lord, I Want to Know You. I was reminded that to truly trust God we must know who He is, and that He revealed Himself through His names.
These experiences instilled in me a lifelong love for the names of God, as well as a desire to share what He was teaching me as I continued my own studies. That’s why I wrote One Year Alone with God: 366 Devotions on the Names of God. And I’m thrilled to say Kay Arthur endorsed it!
Like any study of God’s Word, there’s a danger of intellectualizing what we learn, focusing on accumulating academic facts. But it’s not enough to fill our heads with information if we don’t apply what we’re learning. To ensure this devotional would be more than a textbook on the names of God, I examined each of His 122 names and attributes three ways: who God is, who we are in relation to who He is, and how this changes our earthly relationships.
The names of God tell us who He is. They reveal His nature and His ways using descriptions we can relate to and understand. The more we learn about who God is, the more we learn about ourselves – who we are in relation to the One who created us and redeemed us. Finally, we learn the priority God places on relationships, and the characteristics that will nurture those relationships in ways that honor Him.
Learning about the names and attributes of God has especially impacted my own faith and relationship with Him three ways:
It changed the way I relate to God.
Faith in God is not blind faith – we can confidently rely on who God is by what He has revealed about Himself in His Word. Each name and attribute tells me not just who He is but how He works. He is unchanging, which means the God of the Bible is the same today. While we cannot fully understand who He is this side of heaven, His names and attributes give us glimpses into His divine nature.
It changed the way I pray.
I’m not praying to some impersonal force out there in the universe; I am praying to our very personal God. Whatever the subject of my prayer – whether worship, thanksgiving, interceding for others, or asking for myself – there is a name or attribute God has revealed which helps me address Him in that area.
It changed the way I share and teach about Christ.
Learning the names and attributes of God gives me the confidence to share Christ on an individual and personal level. God is not some ancient or outdated theological idea. Everything about who He is and how He works is relevant to us today. Knowing His names and attributes gives me the specific words to describe who He is to others. It also helps me when others speak of who they think God is – because then I have a starting point to say, let’s look at who God says He is!
It’s difficult to trust someone we don’t know. The more we know about who God is and how He works, the easier it is for us to trust Him. If you and I want to get to know God intimately, doesn’t it make sense to learn what He says about Himself?
How well do you know the names God has revealed for Himself?
How well do you want to know His names?