By Matt Friend

Driving his girls to school each day. Taking them to zoos, parks, and fairs. Giving them “horsy rides” through the house. Reading to them each night before bed. These were the kinds of things that made Walt Disney appear to be a typical American dad.

However, Diane–his oldest daughter–recalls the time she learned that her father was anything but normal…

On the way home from Los Feliz Grammar School, little Diane asked, “Daddy, are you the Walt Disney?”

“It depends on what you mean,” he replied.

“Are you the famous Walt Disney who makes movies?” Diane intensified the inquisition, “My friends at school say you are.”

“Yes… Yes, I am,” Walt responded.

“Okay then, daddy. Can I have your autograph?”

For more reasons than they could express in their family biography, Diane and Sharon Disney loved their father; but, similar to most little children, their father was initially just “dad.” Nevertheless, as they got a little older and learned who he really was, their appreciation for him sprouted into love, respect, and admiration.

If you’re reading this article, most likely, you already have an affinity for God. However, as you learn a little more about who He really is, I pray your appreciation for Him burgeons into love, respect, and admiration.

With what words can we describe God?

#1 – Love

One of the most prominent missionaries of the first century, Paul the Apostle, wrote…

But because of his great love for us, God… made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions. (Ephesians 2:4-5)

The Bible is believable because it’s so honest about the human condition. It doesn’t sugarcoat our nature, our history, or our behavior. It tells us that we were “dead in our transgressions and sins,” that we follow the ways of this world,” that we are “disobedient” by nature, “gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts.”

But thankfully, God still loved us and sought our highest good!

God is love. (1 John 4:8)

The Bible is believable because it’s so honest about the human condition. It doesn’t sugarcoat our nature, our history, or our behavior. Click To Tweet

#2 – Mercy

Expanding on God’s love, Paul gave us another description of God…

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions. (Ephesians 2:4-5)

In the Bible, mercy is far more than a judicial pardon. God did much more than simply let us off the proverbial hook. In Christ he showed us his kindness, sensitivity, compassion, empathy, and pity.

Justice is getting what we deserve. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Which leads us to…

In the Bible, mercy is far more than a judicial pardon. God did much more than simply let us off the proverbial hook. In Christ he showed us his kindness, sensitivity, compassion, empathy, and pity. Click To Tweet

#3 – Grace

Grace is getting what we don’t deserve.

God made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:5-6)

God is described by grace over 150 times in the New Testament, 100 of those by the Apostle Paul himself. Grace is God’s unmerited or undeserved favor. It’s the opposite of karma, which is all about getting what you deserve. Again, grace is getting what we don’t deserve.

John Stott describes grace as “love that cares and stoops and rescues.” “Grace is God reaching downward to people who rebel against Him,” according to Jerry Bridges.

How did God show us His grace? By sending His Son, Jesus, to be born in Bethlehem and live the perfect life we could never live. Jesus sacrificed Himself on our behalf by dying on a cross, arose from the dead on Easter morning, and lives today to save anyone who calls on His name.

John Stott describes grace as “love that cares and stoops and rescues.” “Grace is God reaching downward to people who rebel against Him.” Click To Tweet

What Now?

Paul, the inspired Apostle of love, mercy and grace, writes…

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Believe in Christ. Receive Christ. Commit your life to Christ. Consider praying the following in your own words…

Lord, thank you for doing everything necessary to pay for my sin. I believe Jesus is Lord and offers me salvation today. I accept his free gift.

Whether that’s your conclusion or not, perhaps the best thing you can do now is to explore more of who God is. Put your whole heart into the search! I pray it will be captivated by Jesus’ good news of love, mercy, and grace.

Matt Friend, a Charleston native and tenth generation West Virginian, graduated from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has served in pastoral ministry since 2002 and at Bible Center Church since March 1, 2016 (as our sixth Lead Pastor). He and Sarah (his high school sweetheart) are raising two teenage daughters, Katie and Riley, and a son, Kadyn. Together, they are advocates for adoption and all things West Virginia. In his free time, he enjoys reading, camping, hiking, kayaking, golfing, and spending time with his family and two dogs, Queso and Wasabi.

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