The Lord and I have this little ongoing joke: I (sinfully) assume that I’m a wise human being who doesn’t “do stupid stuff.” He, graciously, reminds me of my need for Him by allowing me to see my less-than-perfectness in some pretty exciting ways.
In turn, I feel the onslaught of discomfort and shame. I am bewildered and angry because–as I tell anyone who will listen–”that’s just not something I do!”
I don’t spill tea on a laptop during finals week or lock my keys in a car while it’s running. I would never fall on a flat sidewalk, never set fire to a backpack, and never make the day of a GoPro thief in a foreign country.
But to my own shame, I’ve done those stupid things. . . and I’ve yet to figure out how to stop myself from doing stupid things, from messing up.
So, I’m honest, my go-to reaction in those situations is to berate myself. You’ve been there, right Faced with our own humanity, we engage in futile attempts to “whip ourselves into shape.” After all, isn’t that what God is expecting? Isn’t that what He is attempting to do, as well?
Recently, I’ve been going through the book Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortlund and the truth in its pages has burned a hole in my Type 1 binder of self-improvement projects, so to speak. While the book is largely focused on the heart of Christ, I’ve been most challenged by the author’s assertions about the heart of the Father. Chief among these is the claim that the Father is merciful and gracious toward His children.
The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,Exodus 34:6
That truth, based in Exodus 34:6, has been hard for me to swallow. Sure, I’ll grant you that Jesus has a lot of compassion and mercy. After all, He was willingly crucified for the same men and women who laughed in his face as He bled and died. But God the Father? Yikes. He is holy and perfect and not to be messed with.
I’m not wrong in characterizing the Father that way. He is all those things. . .
but and He is also slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
It’s a duel nature that, if I’m honest, is terrifying. In essence, we are exposed by our lover and our maker. Yet He clings to us still.
What do you do with that kind of love?
If you’re like me, your gut reaction is to hide. That’s what Adam and Eve did, isn’t it? Upon noticing their nakedness, they attempted to clothe themselves and run for cover. And as I’ve read this book, I’ve noticed that our broken hearts do the same thing. We hide behind achievements and to-do lists, we busy our minds with “godly things,” and we bathe in the adoration of others.
When we do feel exposed, we take those very fig leaves and we turn them into weapons–beating ourselves until we feel like we’ve atoned for our sin.
Have you ever wondered why God the Father sent Jesus? After all, if He is so harsh and infuriated by our inadequacy, wouldn’t He have rigged up a more favorable system–one that didn’t involve the sacrifice of His Son?
We assume that God’s holiness and perfection cause Him look down upon us in disgust. So when we sin, we mimic our version of God by beating ourselves up and vowing to not do it again. But that’s not what our Father expects or desires. In reality, it is God’s perfect holiness and justice that actually compel Him to come to us. Why? Because perfect pity and compassion are drawn out in corresponding intensity. In other words: God’s “love for us plus hatred for sin equals the most omnipotent certainty possible that He will see us through to final liberation from sin and unfiltered basking in his own joyous heart for us one day.”
Doesn’t that overwhelm your heart? Friend, you and I are loved. We are loved. Not tolerated or endured. We’re not the dirty laundry in God’s closet that He can’t bear to look at. By no act of our own, we are deeply loved.
My encouragement to you this evening is to let that truth sink into your heart.
Maybe, like me, you have a long history of trying to measure up,trying to prove to God that you are just as disappointed in yourself as He is. Stop it. Stop and take a deep breath because that’s not His heart toward you. Our God is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The more we revel in that love, the more we see God for who He truly is. Our hearts that were once so focused on atoning are now enthralled in the transforming power of the gospel. My prayer is that we would grasp that love deeper today than yesterday, yet not as deep as we will tomorrow; that we would keep seeking God for who He is and refuse to settle for the God we think we deserve. We don’t deserve Him, yet the marvelous hope of the gospel says that we are indeed His.
Note: I don’t claim to be a theologian, nor do I think this is an exhaustive explanation of the nature of the Father in relation to the Godhead or creation. I encourage you to do what I am doing: pray, discern, and learn; and in your learning, do not stop with knowledge. Let your heart be changed.
5 thoughts on “What Does God Think of You?”
Great post! Every point is so true!
Thanks for sharing ☺️
Thanks for reading, Janet. I’m glad the Lord used it to encourage you!
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“I’ve noticed that our broken hearts do the same thing. We hide behind achievements and to-do lists, we busy our minds with “godly things,” and we bathe in the adoration of others.”
This spoke to where I am in my life right now. Thank you for allowing God to use you to share these truths and keep it up!
I’m so glad the Lord used it to speak to you. He is so faithful to us. Thanks for stopping and reading!
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