Saturday, April 16, 2011

Is God really a gentlemen?

Several weeks ago, Rebecca St. James came to Charleston WV to play and promote the pro-life cause. I really have been impressed with her over the years, not because of her music-which I don't listen to-but because of her life. I can remember hearing her discuss her commitment to chastity before marriage during a youth group video as a youth director. That was 10 years ago. As I understand it, she is getting married soon or has recently married. So, like I said, I greatly appreciate the Lord's work in her.

But I can remember a phrase in that video series which seems to pop up in others from time to time. Now in regards to that phrase popping up, it is more a zit (not good, but hardly destructive) than a cancer (destructive) or desired hair growth (desirable, especially by me). It was the first time I had heard the phrase, "The Lord is a gentlemen; He will not force Himself on you."

The bible describes God in anthropomorphic language, or human terms, so that we can understand him better. Some pictures include "mighty warrior" (Jer 20:11), "heavenly father" (Lk 11:13) and a jealous and pursuing "husband" (Hos 2:16).

But could "gentlemen" fit? Is that a healthy anthropomorphic term for the 21st century to help us understand what God is really like? In some ways, God is very gentle and Jesus was prophesied as being so gentle he wouldn't even break a bruised reed (Isa 42:3). And through his ministry, at least one person named Matthew recorded that prophetic consistency (Matt 12:20).
Yet do we want, or rather need a God who is more than a gentlemen, who actually will "force himself on us?" Or would we rather do the changing and converting by our own power? The answer for most would be the latter.

But I will say that I don't want a "gentlemen God" who refuses to "force" himself on me, simply because the most important thing in the world to Him is my free will (allegedly). I really don't. 

The other day I clearly I sinned before my family and I flat out did not want to repent. I didn't.  For a while. I asked God to make me want to, and He eventually did an hour or two later. I wouldn't have repented, unless God somehow "forced" Himself on me. It's not just for the point of conversion (since we're all dead in sin and need more than a gentlemen), but for the whole of the Christian experience.

We need a God who deals gently with us, perhaps even the way a gentlemen deals with a lady. But we also need a God who actually does force Himself on us and literally changes our wills. I'm thankful we have one.

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