Monday, July 18, 2011

Attributes of God--P

I'm at one of those points.

I feel tired, sad, lazy and discouraged. And overwhelmed. I do not feel angry, and that is something to be thankful for. I've been trying to not be angry with myself. It feels sinful and indulgent not to, but I am starting to believe that those self-punishing feelings are from the pit.

Last week I was having trouble driving. I kept going the wrong way, making bad decisions about which route to take, or forgetting which route I was taking and getting into the wrong lane and having to go miles out of my way. This was very frustrating, and I found myself tensing up and mentally berating myself. Fortunately, I was alone. Laura has been telling me, "No negative self-talk." So I tried to fight my impulse, and I found myself in very odd conversations with myself. For example...

Me: That was really stupid. Now you are going to have to drive miles out of your way, and you will waste a ton of time and gas. You are so dumb!

Myself: It's OK. It isn't that big a deal. It isn't a life. So you're a little late and you use a little more gas. Just let it go.

I: Can you do that? Just let it go? You are wasting gas, and gas is expensive.

Me: Of course you can't let it go. If you forgive yourself for this, you will just keep making stupid, mindless decisions and you will bankrupt the family paying for the gas to cover your mistakes. Also you are never going to get anything done if you keep driving all over creation with no logical route in mind.

Myself: Come on now. You have to forgive yourself. And besides, what good does it do to punish yourself? You're already sorry. You don't have to heap extra punishments on and make yourself miserable. It won't even help anything or make anything better if you do. Just let it go. It isn't that big of a deal.

I: Can you do that?

Myself: Trust me. Beating yourself up is not going to save any gas.

So uneasily, I allowed the muscles in my jaw and upper body to relax a little, and I tried to think about something else, the future and not the immediate past, and I drove home feeling as though I had skipped out of working in a hot field to read a book in a shady hiding place.

Today I must admit, given my struggles and shortcomings and guilt, I am not really looking forward to pondering the perfection of God. Because Perfection is an attribute of God that begins with a "p" and it is one that I really struggle with and fail at in my own life.

God is PERFECT--excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement (and I lifted that definition directly off I think I am glad that God is perfect. Some days I know I am. I long for perfection, and I consistently fall short. I should rest in the fact that God is perfect and one day He will share that perfection with me, and suddenly it will be effortless in me all because of Him. Well, it is undeniably a good thing and a relief that SOMEBODY is perfect, and obviously God is the one who should be, so it is only another sign of my miserable imperfection that I should balk at the idea at all.

Deuteronomy 32:4
He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.

2 Samuel 22:31
“As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him."

Matthew 5:48
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
(this one is a little hard for me today, but another day I will embrace it; I just need more of His power, which leads me to the next "p" attribute...)

God is POWERFUL--He has the strength and ability to anything. Amazingly, through the Holy Spirit, He indwells us and gives us opportunity to access that perfect power. I am not very good at this yet.

Exodus 15:6
Your right hand, LORD, was majestic in power. Your right hand, LORD, shattered the enemy.

Psalm 147:5
Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.

Ephesians 1:18-20
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms...

God is PATIENT -- not quick to become angry or execute justice on the wicked

2 Peter 3:9 (ESV)
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Psalm 86:15 (ESV)
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

Psalm 103:8 (ESV)
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

Next up, Q.

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