Not Like Us…

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9, KJV

Boy am I glad that’s true. I mean, we were made in His image, but we fall short of that image every moment of every day. I’d hate to imagine what life here would be like if He were more like us.

Here’s a few key differences between us and God:

  • God: God isn’t run by emotion. God is love. That’s what He operates in. “And so, we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” 1 John 4:16, NIV
  • Us: We are run by many emotions, and many times we allow our emotions to run a muck. In our anger we hurt others, in our anxiety we hurt ourselves, in our pride we mock God. Letting our emotions run our lives is ungodliness and foolishness. “For fools speak folly, their hearts are bent on evil: They practice ungodliness….” Isaiah 32:6a, NIV
  • God: God doesn’t change. We never have to guess with Him. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
  • Us: We change at the drop of a hat. Our attitudes change, we change our minds, our likes and dislikes are constantly in flux, and we are never constant. “…for God said, ‘The people might change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.” Exodus 13:17b, NASB
  • God: God is full of grace and mercy. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23, ESV
  • Us: We hold a grudge really well. You mess with us; you’d better watch out. The white-hot rage is coming, followed by the cold shoulder, and maybe a little snubbing thrown in. “Then Peter came to him, and said, Lord how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?” Matthew 18:21, NIV

These are just a few of the many “Stark” [see what I did there? 😉 ] differences between us and God. How terrible if He were to treat us the way we treat others! I have been guilty of holding a grudge, being stingy with love and kindness, unforgiveness, offense, and letting my emotions get the best of me and show my worst side. But God is faithful even when we are not! He can’t deny Himself. He is love. My pastor said recently that we cannot contain His love in our hearts. He loves more than we can comprehend.

I was praying a couple nights ago about an issue I had to submit to Him. It’s a daily struggle sometimes. I need to ask forgiveness constantly for it, it seems:

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”

Romans 7:15, NIV

I was thanking God for His great patience (truly it is our salvation) and praising Him that He doesn’t respond to my screwups the way I do with others at times. My mode of operation is not always love as much as I’d love to say it is. People get few chances with me, and when they’ve messed up enough, I decide enough is enough. God is working on this in me and teaching me compassion. I asked Him, “Is there going to be a time when enough is enough for You? You know my heart and know how much I don’t want to do what I do. Please don’t give up on me; I will get there, and I know now what I need to do to starve the habit.” Basically, I need to take a machete to the problem, get accountability, and make better choices altogether – Raise your hand if that’s you, too!

Anyway, He reminded me that He is the God of the seventy-times-seventy times. He is the God whose mercies are new every morning. His M.O. is love. In His love He disciplines, which is the guilt/shame/conviction I feel about the issue I face and sometimes the consequences that come from it, but that is His love, too. And I know if I confess my sins, He is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse. (1 John 1:9, paraphrased).

But that doesn’t mean I can continue doing it! Do not take advantage of His grace! Use it, appreciate it, and honor Him by doing right the next time. Set yourself up for success by reading the Word, getting accountability, and choosing NOW to do what is right.

Well, that took a turn quickly didn’t it? But it’s true. His grace is not an excuse to continue in our sin. Habitual sin (willful sin) will lead us away from Him and into death’s arms. Stop it right now!

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”

Romans 6:1-2, KJV

CHALLENGE: Read your Bible, even if it’s five minutes a day at first. It is so important to have His Word in our hearts. If we have that well to draw from (also as my Pastor says), He will be able to speak a Word to our heart in our time of need, and we won’t sin as much. The Word has the answers to life. It is relevant forever, is living and active, has the answer to every question, and will help us cut out sin from our lives. We only need to read it and follow what it says.

Prayer: Thank You God for Your great patience! Thanks for Your forgiveness, Your example, and Your Word which speaks to my need. Thank You for giving me an instruction manual for life and leaving me with Your Holy Spirit to guide me and point me to Jesus. How wonderful You are. Forgive me for my many faults, for not loving as You do, and for taking advantage of Your grace at times. Please help me to get that fear of the Lord back. It is the beginning of wisdom. And You know better than anyone how much I need that! You are so good to me. I cannot praise You enough for Your lovingkindness. Teach me Your ways. In Jesus’s name, Amen.

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