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Monday, January 16, 2017

Character Over Comfort

In review of Ephesians 4:22-24 it says, “Take on an entirely new way of life — a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you”

Bottom Line:
Take on a new way of life, renewed and fashioned by God from the inside and working it’s way out and being revealed by my life

What this means to me:
I’m to get rid of any old way of life and take on a entirely way, one that God is being renewed and fashioned into his likeness, one that is revealed in a life that is upright and set aside for his purposes.

Today’s verse comes from the latter half of Ephesians chapter four, where Paul is explaining how to live as children of light. He tells us to no longer live as the Gentiles did, for they were hopelessly confused. Their minds had become full of darkness; and they wandered far from the life God gave, because they had closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They had no sense of shame and lived for lustful pleasures. But this isn’t what we learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old off you old way of life, which had been corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Holy Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on you new nature, created to be like God, truly righteous and holy.

There are many religions and new age philosophies that promote the lie that we are divine and can become gods. Fortunately the Bible tells us that we will never become God or even a god. Thinking of yourself as god is a prideful like that is the enemies oldest temptations. We see this first show up in Genesis, where Satan promised Adam and Eve that if they followed his advice, they would be “as gods” (Genesis 3:5 KJV).

However in my own life, this desire to be a god shows up everytime I try to control my circumstances, my future, and / or the people around me. But as a creature, I will never be the Creator. What I’m learning is that God doesn’t want me to become a god; rather, he wants me to become godly, taking on his values, attitudes, and character. I am meant to “take on an entirely new way of life — a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you” (Ephesians 4:22-24 MSG).

God’s ultimate goal for my life on Earth is not my comfort but rather my character development. God wants me to grow up spiritually and become like Christ. Becoming like Christ does not mean losing my personality or becoming a mindless clone.

God created my uniqueness, so he certainly doesn’t want to destroy it. Christlikeness is all about transforming your character, not my personality.

God wants me to develop the kind of character described in the Beatitudes of Jesus, the fruit of the Spirit, Paul’s great chapter on love, and Peter’s list of the characteristics of an effective and productive life (Matthew 5:1-12; Galatians 5:22-23; 1 Corinthians 13; 2 Peter 1:5-8).

Every time I forget that character is one of God’s purposes for my life, I will become frustrated by my circumstances. I’ll wonder, “Why is this happening to me? Why am I having such a difficult time?” One answer is that life is supposed to be difficult! It’s what enables me to grow. I need to remember, that Earth is not Heaven.

I should be careful to not misinterpret Jesus’ promise of the “abundant life” (John 10:10) to mean perfect health, a comfortable lifestyle, constant happiness, full realization of my dreams, and instant relief from problems through faith and prayer. I should not expect my life to be easy (Heaven on Earth). If I did, I’d be treating God as a genie who simply exists to serve me in my selfish pursuit of personal fulfillment.

This life is not about me!  I exist for God’s purposes, not vice versa. Besides, why would God provide heaven on Earth when he’s planned the real thing for you in eternity? God gives me my time on Earth to build and to strengthen my character for later in Heaven. In short, God Is more interested In building my character, rather than making me comfortable.