There is something about a fresh loaf of artisan sourdough bread that excites my whole family. Making it is both simple and complicated, as ingredients aren’t merely scooped with measuring cups and spoons but are weighed to precision. The more carefully and accurately they are measured, the better the results. And each painstaking minute is worth it. Careful preparation guarantees the best texture, the best taste, and the most alluring smell.
Our lives are a lot like that. They are measured. Measured by us, by others, and by God. We measure ourselves and each other, and we try to get a measurement on God. It’s a bit of a conundrum, actually. God cannot be measured, but unless we are measuring ourselves against Him our measurement is inaccurate. Too often, our standard is ourselves. If we compare someone to ourselves we either find them lacking or us lacking. We exalt them, feeling bad about ourselves, or we despise them, feeling good about ourselves.
Nothing good really comes from it, so why do we do it? I think it’s because we only understand things that we can measure. We determine the value of a thing by comparing it to greater or lesser things. We determine the value of other people by comparing them against ourselves. If we find ourselves superior, we believe in our own awesomeness. When we believe ourselves to be the standard for awesome, we put ourselves in competition with God. We desire to be the things that only God can be – all knowing, all powerful, limitless.
Being limitless and invincible is appealing, but those qualities belong only to God. Everything God is, He is infinitely so. His goodness is infinite. His justice is infinite, His grace and mercy and love are limitless. We can also possess these God-like qualities, though our expression of them is limited.
But here’s the cool part. Have you ever admired someone, thinking they were above anyone else, only for time to reveal their flaws? Your opinion of them alters. But God is not like mankind, and he’s not like the Greek or the Roman gods of myth. He has no fault. The more you get to know Him, the more you want to know Him. He never stops being awesome. He never disappoints. (Ex 15:11, Ps 113:5–6)
We will never exhaust all there is to know about God because God is incomprehensible (Job 11:7-9). We can only know Him in a limited capacity because we are limited beings (1 Cor 13:12). And that is exciting! Because He is infinitely good, the things we don’t know about Him are infinitely good. It is like a deep treasure chest to explore. A Mary Poppins-bag that is filled with astounding and wonderful things.
But our limited understanding doesn’t apply only to God, it applies to everything and everyone. I cannot fully know myself because the heart is deceitful above all things (Jer 17:9). Sometimes I surprise myself with what I do or say. These surprises are not wonderful; they’re terrible. And I cannot fully know any other person because all hearts are deceitful and my understanding of each one is limited. Yet I stand in judgement of others while God has given me grace. This is proof enough of a deceitful heart. If God – the perfect one – hasn’t rejected me, then how can I – the imperfect one – reject the imperfections of others?
How do we respond to this? Perhaps like this:
Instead of pursuing the limited greatness of self, worship the supremacy of the One who is limitless. Instead of “figuring out” other people, seek to know the One whose greatness cannot be measured (Ps 145:3). We will never see ourselves accurately if we don’t first know who God is. He is the only one who can take an accurate measurement, and unless we learn His ways, we will forever use the wrong measuring stick (Phil 3:7–8).
Jen Wilkin challenges us to better know God in her books In His Image and None Like Him. In our last series, we spent time exploring the attributes of God that we can also possess. The ways that we can be like Him. Now, beginning with the truth of God’s limitlessness, we are looking at the attributes of God that only God can possess. Is it possible to study the character of God without loving and wanting to know Him more? I don’t think so.
Abundantly More – Knowing God and Making God Known.
“Even perfection has its limits, but your commands have no limit.” – Psalm 119:96 NLT
“How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension!” – Psalm 147:5 NLT
This series is inspired by Jen Wilkin. For a more detailed look at God being infinite and incomprehensible, read chapters 1 and 2 from None Like Him.