"Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds . . ." Wm Shakespeare

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

God's Character

As alluded to in the last post, I began thinking about the character of God. If I am to be holy as He is holy and if I'm to have the character of God then I needed to find out what His character is . . . . so I went hunting.

It was easy at first because I immediately thought of the Fruit of the Spirit.

That certainly fits.

The next thoughts were of all the 'one-anothers' that are listed throughout the New Testament, mostly in Paul's letters to the Church.

They certainly fit also as do the characteristics of Love as described in 1 Corinthians 13.
Wow, this is a very long list and it is not going to be easy when I'm in the midst of a hurting situation, to 'be' whichever characteristic the situation demands. It's going to take practice and grit to choose to respond with these attributes of God.

I know, I know . . . . I have the Spirit of Christ within me. I 'know' I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. But!! And that is a big BUT, I also know what it's like to be betrayed by someone I trusted and just how challenging it is to respond with my spirit rather than react from my flesh. I believe this is the biggest battle our souls will wage.

So, lets get on with the list, like I said, it's a long one, but if you look at each one, you will see God in every one of them. This is the standard.

Patience, kindness, loving, joyful, peaceful, steadfast, gentle, good, patient and self-controlled.
Encouraging, exhorting, supportive, strong, devoted, builds up, accepts, admonishes, cares and serves others. Tolerant, speaks truth in love, forgiveness, comforting, stimulates to good deeds and is hospitable and fellowships with us.
Merciful and compassionate, abundant in loving-kindness, meek and lowly, assertive, just, restful and peaceful, serene and slow to anger. He rejoices with truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. God covers our sins and never fails.

From Philippians 4:8 we have honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, worthy of praise and excellent.

What God is not . . . .
Complaining, does not speak against, not moved by circumstances, has no guile or deception, not passive-aggressive or abusive, does not distance Himself from us. Not arrogant nor does He brag, does not act unbecomingly, does not seek it's own, is not provoked, takes no account of a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness.

Well, like I said, it is a very long list, but if God's plan in our lives is to make us be more like His Son Jesus, then these are the attributes He is looking to build into our lives. This 'list' is what He is looking for when no one is around, when we are hurting bad, when someone cuts us off on the highway, or snubs us at work, treats us with contempt or in any other situation we find ourselves in.

I'm starting to get the point of James 1:2-4 when he says "consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have it's perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete and lacking in nothing".

When I think of testing on a practical level I think of all the tests I've done in my life. What made me successful? I had to practice over and over until I got it right.

Oh, NOW I get it!!! That's why I've had to go around some of these mountains more than once!!! God was letting me practice!

Well, another time I will write what the above attributes look like to me in any given situation. I think I've got enough to think about for today.

God bless you as you walk the narrow road of being changed into the likeness of Christ.
Journey Girl

Friday, November 26, 2010

Following, Trusting & Believing *sigh*

I've been reading a book called "66 Love Letters" by Larry Crabb and it is really challenging me, a lot. Every chapter I go back and re-read at least once and sometimes twice. I am discovering this book is re-writing the very wrong teaching I've been handed by many preachers and pastors. I'm finding my whole understanding about God, the 'big picture' of my small life and how it fits into the larger plan of all Eternity.

To write more of what this book is doing for me would be to write a whole 'nother book and since that is not the purpose of this blog, I will write the following snippet which gives just one small portion of what God is doing in me and for me. It's just a book, written by another human being, but as God speaks through it, that is when and how this heart is being changed.

I love it!

One thing I'm beginning to understand is, we will not often understand why God requires of us what He does, or what He is trying to accomplish except in the larger picture of His plan.

Blind obedience is only possible because we trust His character. So, even if it makes no sense, even if it's very painful for us and even though it looks totally ridiculous by our own sense of what is right and wrong, or what makes sense to us as humans, by trusting His character, by trusting His love for us, by trusting and believing, sometimes against all odds, that He is for us and not against us, we can say, "never-the-less, not my will but Yours O God" and follow along the path He is showing us, just like a little lamb.

I know this goes against the grain of all the cultural norms of today, but really when you come right down to it, how has doing things 'my' way worked for me, or how is it working for me right now??

It isn't! It hasn't and I have no confidence that it actually ever will!

I don't know about you, but I'm tired of trying my best only to find it very often a sti
nking failure. Thus, my determination is to ask God, in every situation I don't understand, in every situation where I've been hurt, abandoned, betrayed or simply let down by others, and in every situation where I want to go one way and He's showing me another less desirable way, to ask Him, "what does holiness look like in this situation?", "how am I to respond?" then with as much trust as I can muster, I will follow Jesus example and declare, "Not my will but Yours dear Father" and behave, or respond, as is right and as holiness dictates.

Even though it hurts to follow, in this will I trust also . . . that he will meet my need to be comforted and give me that peace that by-passes all understanding.

Now, this opens up another point . . . . if I am to trust God's character and believe He is for me, that leads me to wonder, just what are the characteristics of God? That is a journey of discovery each of us must take, but perhaps I'll write about that trip in another blog . . . .

Blessings to you as you follow the Journey He has for you
Journey Girl