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FIRST-PERSON: What God looks like

NASHVILLE (BP) — Thanks to research, we have an idea what God looks like. And He looks a lot like you.

Psychologists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill surveyed 551 Christians and asked, “What do you think God looks like?” And not surprisingly, they saw God like they see themselves.

If God looks like us, then the American God would look like a composite of 50 faces that represent the collective demographics of the U.S. population

— Caucasians pictured a white God.

— African-Americans saw a dark-skinned God

— Liberals saw God as younger, more feminine, and more loving.

— Young adults also saw a younger God.

— Conservatives saw God as more powerful.

This picture of God is nothing new. We’ve always been guilty of creating God in our own image. That makes life easier for us. If God is already like us, we don’t really have to change our lives, do we?

Of course, I know God looks nothing like me. Being created in His image (Genesis 1:26-27) has absolutely nothing to do with physical characteristics. Instead, my goal is become more and more like Him. God has called me to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29).

I take this seriously because, to the watching world, I communicate what God looks like. If I call myself a devoted follower of Christ, but I act like a jerk, I can give others the impression that God is a jerk too. Why would someone want to worship a God whose followers are judgmental or arrogant?

If I’m judgmental, I point to a judgmental God.

If I’m apathetic about the lives of others, I point to a distant God who doesn’t care.

If I’m gracious, I point to a God full of grace.

If I’m forgiving toward those who do boneheaded things, I point to a God who has forgiven all my boneheadedness.

So I make it my goal to live a life of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) because that is how I want others to see God.

And that is exactly who He is.

    About the Author

  • Lynn H. Pryor

    Lynn Pryor, online at lynnhpryor.com, is the team leader for ongoing Bible studies at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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