In my last post in this series I explained three reasons why God came when he did: thankfulness, obedience and welcoming. [ https://delemares.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/my-story-7-why-why-did-god-come-when-he-did/ ]
God has shown me three more reasons (there could be many more).
1) Just because: that’s just the way God is. He has mercy on any he will have mercy on [Romans 9:18]. God is truly sovereign. He calls the shots. He doesn’t have to explain why he does what he does. He may graciously reveal his reasoning to people – He told Isaiah, ‘Come let us reason together’ [Isaiah 1:18], but later says, ‘my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways’ [Isaiah 55:8].
2) He hasn’t finished with me yet; he still has work for me to do. A few days after my turning point moment, I wrote to a friend that I could have died happy at that moment, knowing that I would go to be with God. And yet, at the moment I thought it, I knew I wouldn’t die because God had work for me. For one thing, I had a family to look after, four young children to raise.
God does not give up on us; he who has begun a good work in us will see it to completion [Philippians 1:6].
3) Repentance. I’ve often thought that there wasn’t much, if any, repentance about my initial conversion. I didn’t think I had much to repent of. However, as life went on, I became more and more aware of how I didn’t match up with how a ‘proper’ Christian should behave. Instead of turning to God for forgiveness, I tried to live better – and it wasn’t working. I became more and more depressed.
But, godly sorrow leads to repentance, worldly sorrow leads to death [2Corinthians 7:10].
True repentance is about turning around: turning to God, turning away from a sinful lifestyle. It’s also about allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us to become more like Jesus. We can’t do it on our own. We need the power of the Holy Spirit, resurrection power, to live a godly life.
Repentance: it’s one of those old-fashioned words that we don’t like these days. Obedience is another one. Yet God has shown me that these two concepts are vital for living a godly life. We need to recognise that God’s laws really are for our benefit [Deuteronomy 10:13]. They are not a bunch of arbitrary rules, but guidelines for a happy, contented life. We ignore them at our peril.
Today we’re taught to do our own thing, be true to ourselves, and not repress our urges. But those urges may well be harmful.
Urges are fuelled by our emotions. Emotions should not rule us. This is where mindfulness is so useful – it’s about getting into wise mind; that place of overlap between reasonable mind and emotion mind. Left unchecked, emotions can lead to very unwise decisions. But without emotions, we lack the motivation to do the reasonable thing.
These thoughts show how DBT (dialectical behaviour therapy) speaks to me of the God I know. When I started my DBT training, I realised that God had already shown me much of what I was learning. More than that, God gives substance to much of human wisdom.
You can find earlier posts in this series at: https://delemares.wordpress.com/category/my-story/
How about you? Have you experienced God giving substance to what you learn?