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What Janet taught me about God

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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Janet Denison, author of Content to Be Good Called to Be Godly

This week I began a series on the top ten spiritual truths I’ve learned over the years.  We’re exploring them in chronological order, from the first lesson I learned to the latest.

Here’s #7: Sincerity is the key to spirituality.

On Monday I told you about the pastor’s wife who led me to faith in Christ.  This morning I’ll tell you about the pastor’s wife who has taught me more about faith in Christ than anyone else–my wife.

Janet’s father worked for IBM and says it stands for “I’ve Been Moved.”  She grew up all over California except for a four-year stint in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  When her father was transferred to Houston in 1977, she was less than enthusiastic.  Her family took the train to my home town, arriving in June.  Houston summers are infamous for their humidity; the train station was in the very worst part of town.  Her first impressions of her new city were not favorable, to say the least.

She ended up at Houston Baptist University, where I met her in sophomore English.  She was so popular that it took months for me to ask her out.  I took her to “Smoky and the Bandit.”  In spite of my romantic sophistication, she agreed to go out with me again.  We were married on June 7, 1980.  I have been grateful every day since.

People who meet Janet tell me that I “outkicked my coverage.”  When the pastor search committee at Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas met us the first time, they quickly concluded that they had found their pastor’s wife and now needed to find their pastor.  Janet is beautiful, wise, and compassionate.  She is a brilliant teacher of Scripture with a true shepherd’s heart that shows Jesus’ love to everyone she knows.

Her friends invariably talk about her sincerity, and they’re right.  In the 34 years I’ve known her, I’ve never heard her say an insincere word.  She is the same person in private that she is in public.  She says the same thing to you that she says about you.  She values and models honesty and integrity in all she does.  She has taught me that sincerity is essential to genuine spirituality.

In 1 John, one of Janet’s favorite books, we find this admonition: “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but in actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18).  When Jesus met Nathaniel, he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false” (John 1:47).

Can he say that of you?