As a young Christian, my inner life was of little concern to me; I was all about what happened on the outside.
So if controlled my temper, held my tongue and did the right things, I was doing well. And so I became a “good” Christian. At least that’s what other people saw.
Only there was a struggle inside me that didn’t feel quite so “good.” In fact, I realized I wasn’t all that nice on the inside.
Even though I didn’t verbally explode at the slow driver in the Costco parking lot, I sure did have something mean to say in my head. And there was this greedy, needy part of me that didn’t celebrate when others got something I wanted. In fact, sometimes I secretly wished others would fail, so I’d feel a bit better about my own failures.
If you are joining me after reading my devotion today, I’d like to welcome you. You’ve just read about the time when I realized my inner character was weaker than I thought, and something needed to change. And I learned this truth:
While God cares about my actions, He’s much more concerned about my character.
My character is who I really am. Not who I say I am, or who I wish I were. Character is my inner nature.
I realized my character had some good points, but mostly I was pretty selfish. So God started to deal with me one character trait at a time, as He uncovered these areas I’d hoped to keep hidden behind a facade of good works.
You can only keep your true character hidden for so long. Add some pressure and the real you will show up.
God knows that, and if you want to be used by God, you’ll have to let Him deal with these covered up areas.
Funny thing … I used to think I was a patient person until I had children. Then the pressure of three little guys going in three directions at once revealed the truth. I just might be the most impatient person EVER. (and FYI, that part of my character is still undergoing renovation).
Here’s what I learned. God’s ultimate goal for me is to be like Jesus – both inside and out. But I have to make choices about what goes on inside my heart.
Now there’s a tall order! But God didn’t leave me alone to try and make this happen. Because no amount of my hoping and wishing is going to change my inner self. Only the Holy Spirit taking up residence, and me allowing Him to do His work. In my flesh, I can limit the Spirit. But when I’m honest, humbled and surrendered, He can make changes.
I’m obsessed with anything “craft.” It implies the quiet effort of a master artisan, working diligently to create a product that’s unique.
In some respects, that’s how I feel about my character. I’m giving God all the credit for making the lasting changes, but I do play a part. I have to make the choice to address those areas of my character that don’t reflect Jesus.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we didn’t shame ourselves when our character bursts forth in a blaze?
What if if we thanked God for that revelation and then practiced 2 Corinthians 10:5?: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
With the power of God, we can choose to take our thoughts captive and make them obedient. And when our thoughts change, our inner life changes, and over time, with enough corrected thoughts, our character changes. Then, surprise pressure won’t have its past effect.
That is such an incredible truth to hold on to today, because that’s how we craft our characters, one choice at a time.
Thank you so much for joining me today. And I’d love to give away a copy of my book, Taming the To-Do List. Just leave a message in the comment section below and next week, I’ll select a winner next week and email you directly.
In His love,