Qualities of God by Rebecca Dotson
Padded chairs in a mustard yellow Sunday School room. Cookies from Publix – baked fresh from the bakery. Pens clicking, preparing to take notes. Flipping to the dog-eared page where we left off last week. Phones flipped over on the floor beneath our seats, as if to say “for the next hour, Lord, I am Yours and you have my undivided attention”.
These are my Sunday nights. The Lord has placed me in a community of women who are passionate about the Word of God and about learning more about who our God is. This year we decided to tackle something overwhelming - qualities of God. We are reading None Like Him by Jen Wilkin. I can speak for all of us and say that it has been life changing to say the least.
It’s natural for me to write about where the Lord has me in my quiet time and I’ve found myself left in a place of awe and wonder when it comes to learning more about the qualities of my Father over the last couple of months.
We’ve been talking about forgiveness this month and I feel it’s hard to understand forgiveness fully without fully understanding the ultimate source of forgiveness – our great God. Jen has taught us so much and I want to share some of the qualities that have left us all in a state of humility over the last several weeks.
He is infinite. We, as humans, have limits. When I think about the infinite quality of God I’m reminded of running my first marathon. I remember thinking during the last 10K of the race that there was no way I was going to reach the finish line. I was coming to the end of my physical capabilities.
We are also measurable. The day we were born we were measured and weighed and from that day forward we wore a bracelet that was printed with metrics on how tall and long we were and who we belonged to.
He is incomprehensible. We won’t fully understand Him or know all things about Him until we reach heaven. But yet, we serve a loving God who is all-knowing in spite of our sin.
He is self-existent and self-sufficient. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He doesn’t need us in the least, but chooses to use us. These get me at my core because of my personality. I’m a fixer and a do-er and I absolutely despise asking for help. I’m a busy body and often find myself in a trap of saying yes to too many things and eventually I’m no longer doing those things “well”. In the chapter on the self-sufficiency of God, Jen says, “It is for us to say, “I need the every hour”. It is for Him to say, “I AM””.
My favorite statement so far from the book that I need stamped on my forehead every day is the following:
Praise God that his plans do not rely on my faithfulness, his joy doesn’t hinge on my good behavior, his glory doesn’t depend on my performance. I stumble along, chasing my own agendas and plotting my own ends, occasionally offering him the reverence he is perpetually due. He is unruffled and unharmed by my inconsistency. He is pleased to be glorified either through me or in spite of me, but he does not need me in the least. And yet he loves me, deeply and eternally, for no other reason than “according to the good pleasure of his will (Ephesians 1:3-6).
This wrecked me.
But once I begin to start to minutely understand the qualities of who our God IS and who I am NOT, forgiveness becomes easier. It becomes something I can swallow.
Only our God is infinite, incomprehensible, self-existent, self-sufficient, eternal, immutable, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent and sovereign. As humans, we do not possess these qualities. We “can be” loving, just, good, gracious, wise, faithful and truthful. And we are called to be an image bearer of Christ.
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16, NIV)
So in life, when there is a space for forgiveness, let’s first remember who our God is. Dwell on His qualities and remember that His image is who we are called to mirror to those in our circle of influence. And as a result of that, let who He is drive how we react.