How God's Kindness Changes Us
When the Bible speaks of loving God with all our heart, one aspect of its meaning is that God as our Father wants to be invited into the center of our emotions.
Recently on a Saturday, I had LOTS to do, and I was feeling rather STRESSED. Not accomplishing everything on my list for that day would have meant pushing it off until the following week, and since my weeks have already been overflowing with more details than usual, that was not an option I wanted to consider.
Needless to say, in my quiet time that morning I was distracted and struggling to focus and meet God relationally.
After reading in the Word and praying for about twenty minutes, I realized God and I were still completely unconnected. Getting on my knees (as I've mentioned before, I don't know why, but praying on my knees helps me to focus on meeting God), I began telling God about how I was feeling. I invited Him to walk right into my stress, into the anxiety about my schedule, into my fear, and into my need.
Whether I'm full of joy, or whether I'm feeling weak or needy, God wants all of my heart. Think of an earthly father who wants his daughter or son to be real with him, rather than put up a front when she or he isn't feeling emotionally together. That's a picture of Father God as He relates to us.
So lately, when my heart feels anxiety or other negative emotions, I have begun inviting Him to come right into the center of who I am at the moment—I tell Him what I'm feeling and invite Him in to come and meet me right in the middle of my emotions, my heart. And I give Him all I'm feeling. I hand it to over Him, and ask Him to take it.*
The amazing thing is, He comes!
So, that's what I did that Saturday morning. As I told Him everything I was struggling with and invited Him to meet me in the middle of it all, I saw a picture of myself in the throne room, standing before the throne of Father God. And I felt my heart shift immediately. God was there as my Father, listening to me and hearing my heart.
So I made my request; not being one who is skilled at time management, I asked Him to help me with every single task and errand I had to run that day, and to order everything for me. I asked HIM to be my time manager, recognizing my own inability, and my absolute need of His help.
It was when I was driving home from the last errand at the end of my day when my heart overflowed with gratitude. I had completely forgotten about the early closing of the last store on my list and just "happened" to make it there two minutes before closing time.
Even though I didn't remember about the store closing early, I'm fully convinced God stepped in and became my time manager, and got me to that store in time.
Now, that may not seem like a big thing to you, but if I hadn't made it to that store before closing, I would have had to take an extra hour and a half I didn't have during the following week to go there and pick up the items I needed.
As I thanked God on the way home for stepping in and managing my time, His presence filled the car, and I sensed His deep kindness as a FATHER, delighting to help me.
My heart melted with a soft affection for Him as my heavenly Father.
The King of the universe, the God over all, cared enough to come and join me in my day of errands as a HELPER. And in fact, He DELIGHTED in doing so.
That's how His KINDNESS CHANGES US. We see and experience His attentiveness to our needs, or how eagerly He listens to us, or how gently He comforts us, and it turns our heart TOWARD HIM as our FATHER. Where our heart has been hardened by negative earthly hurts and experiences with family or friends, experiencing God's kindness softens us and causes us to open up even more to desiring relationship with God.
Religion teaches us that verse about God's kindness leading us to repentance (Romans 2:4) means God is waiting for us to get our act together—so, in His "kindness" He corrects us. We tend to think of that correction as like the spanking of an earthly father who says as he spanks us, "I'm only doing this for your good."
As I've mentioned in previous blogs, the word REPENT in that verse actually means a change of mind, or to think differently, with the sense that thinking differently causes us to respond differently.
I'd like to present another image of that verse. That when we experience God's love or goodness, His care or tenderness, our hearts are drawn toward Him, and we start to THINK DIFFERENTLY, to respond to Him differently. When we see and experience God's KIND HEART toward us, we "repent" from our deceptions about His fathering in our lives, and we long to know MORE of who He is!
Verse five of this same passage in Romans speaks of stubborn, unrepentant hearts. But if we invite God to enter into ALL of our HEART, into all of our emotions, and then ask Him to come and take over and be whoever we need in that place, we WILL experience His kindness. And it will change us from the inside out. We'll start to think differently about God and about His love for us, and to know more deeply this great, affectionate love.
* Sometimes when we are struggling with emotions, there can be a demonic connection in addition to our emotions, and we may need to take authority and send away Fear, or Shame, or Anxiety, etc. Jesus ministered regularly to people by delivering them from demonic harassment, and He appointed us as disciples to do the same. We have the authority (Matthew 10:8, Matthew 16:19—the word "you" in this verse is PLURAL). However, if this statement makes no sense to you, or if it feels overwhelming, talk to a wise believer who does understand, and ask for their counsel and help: be wise, and seek help.
This blog is not meant to counsel, but to encourage people toward deeper relationship with God.
If you need counseling, please contact a pastor or a counselor in your area.