No one’s ever said it to me like that before; that it’s a good thing I can’t be like God in every way. It left me buzzing. How can I be called to be Christlike (1 Corinthians 1:11) in every way, and yet in some ways never be like Him? Why is that unattainable by design? Are there truly at least 10 characteristics God alone has, that I never will, all for my joy and His glory?
It all started when I began reading None Like Him: 10 Ways God Is Different from Us (and Why That’s a Good Thing) by Jen Wilkin. The back of her book says this:
“God is self-existent, self-sufficient, eternal, immutable, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, sovereign, infinite, and incomprehensible.
And that’s a good thing.
Our limitations are by design. We were never meant to be God. But at the root of every sin is our rebellious desire to possess attributes that belong to God alone. Calling us to embrace our limits as a means of glorifying God’s limitless power, Jen Wilkin invites us to celebrate the freedom that comes when we rest in letting God be God.”
It’s wild to me that I still frequently think I can make a great god when there is only One.
Isaiah 40 has said it most clearly to me:
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains on the scales
and the hills in a balance?
Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord,
or instruct the Lord as his counselor?
Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him,
and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge,
or showed him the path of understanding? (v. 12-14)
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
He brings princes to naught
and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
No sooner are they planted,
no sooner are they sown,
no sooner do they take root in the ground,
than he blows on them and they wither,
and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.
“To whom will you compare me?
Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing. (v. 21-26, emphasis added)
Obviously, the answer is no one. No one is all-wise, all-powerful and all-knowing like our God. No one can create the heavens and the earth like our God. No one can teach Him anything of the past, present, or future that He does not already know. No one can instruct Him in the way to go. No one can sit enthroned from eternity past to eternity future but our God. No one can uphold the universe with his hand, but our Sovereign God. No one. No, not one.
Do you you truly believe that our God is incomparable? Or when your faith is tested in any way do you, like Israel, compare Him to idols (v. 19-20) and doubt he cares (v. 27)?
If you’re like Israel (and me) hear the good news: He can and He cares. He can do anything and He cares to do it. The God who is self-existent, self-sufficient, eternal, immutable, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, sovereign, infinite, and incomprehensible is limitless. Limitless power and limitless love is for us who believe (Romans 8:32). For you.
Meditate on this for a moment: If His fingers orchestrated the cosmos (Psalm 8:3), how much more powerful is it that He upholds you by His entire right hand (Isaiah 41:13)?
If you’re thinking, “Yeah, yeah, I know God can do anything. But I’m over here hurting. I’m watching my friends and family and world hurt. How do I know God even cares?”, then hear Isaiah 41:27-31:
Why do you complain, Jacob?
Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;
my cause is disregarded by my God”?
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
I’m realizing I’ve strived a great deal of my Christian life to be like God in ways I’m not designed to be. A recent example being, my husband and I just moved to Michigan from Texas, and I’ve wrestled with control – trying to be Creator. I’ve tried to plan out every step with work and Seminary – trying to be sovereign. I’ve been frustrated with not being fully known by others in this transition – trying to be omniscient. I’ve probably tried to be all ten of the listed characteristics above that only God is lately. The outworkings of that has been at times a sense of anxiety, disappointment, and frustration.
But by the grace of God, I’m learning the freeing truth that I’m not – we’re not – designed to be like God in every way. There are parts of God’s divine nature that only He carries – and truthfully the only reason that ever frustrates me is because of pride. My pride wants it to be all about me and my striving. My pride wants to cover my shortcomings with works. But when God humbles me I can finally see how amazing it is that I worship a God who is incomparable. A God of limitless grace. A Creator who authored my life and wrote my story (including this recent cross-country move) before I was even born. A sovereign God who knows the exact places I’ll live, work, study, and serve. An omniscient God who knows me and loves me fully and perfectly (mess and all).
I still do believe we are called to grow in Christlikeness as His image-bearers and followers, but I’m learning even then, we are only a mere reflection – a tiny glimpse – of Him. Doesn’t that leave you in awe? In beholding the glory of the Lord we are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Who can compare? There is no one like our God. Revel in that. Let it shake your pride to the core. Thank the One who made the universe with His finger and who is holding you by His right hand for being incomparable. Worship Him with all that is in you by His design. Marvel at the mystery of being made like Him and yet never being able to fully know the limitless goodness of who He is. And when your pride and the enemy tempt you like Adam and Eve in the garden to not just to be like God but to be God, humble yourself. Run to the foot of the cross, and meditate on the perfect divinity of Jesus:
“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (Hebrews 1:3, emphasis added)
See also John 1 and Colossians 1 for more on God’s incomparability.
Note: This is not an endorsement blog for her book.