GOD IS MORE CONCERNED ABOUT OUR CHARACTER THAN OUR COMFORT
“It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.”
My pets are so loving and full of character they put me to shame. Have you ever asked God to let you be half as good as your dog thinks you are? I’ve discovered that even if I were twice as good as I thought I was, I’d only be half as good as my puppies. Talk about needing Christ to reflect the character of His image.
The trials of life started for me at an early age. Of course, I didn’t know what I was going through had a name. Looking back over my life, I can testify there were plenty of them that helped in shaping the person whom I became.
When I was six months old, a drunk driver hit the side of our car, killing my mother. The invention of seatbelts or car seats came years later. Since I was in my mother’s arms, the impact tossed both of us out of the car. I was in the hospital for a few months with blood on the brain and had a few surgeries to relieve the pressure. Due to the operations, I have scarring on both sides of my head.
My father later remarried, and we had a new set of rules in the house. One was how to wave goodbye to the ice cream truck as it drove by our house. Another one was that a butch haircut (crew-cut) would help save on the cost of living. These types of financial decisions became a source of my anguish for many years. Don’t get me wrong. I am not complaining or blaming, just sharing a story from my life. Besides, I wasn’t the ideal child to raise.
My peers, whom I thought were my friends, called me a scarred head. These were my bullies of yesteryear which we find in such the behavior today. Once again, no name just the pain. I could have been on all the talk shows blaming everyone and maybe authored a book on the subject. Events in my entire childhood didn’t help in building my self-esteem.
My mom told me to tell everyone that the Indians Scalped Me. Such a statement was politically correct in the ’60s; however, it did not protect me from the onslaughts of my enemy-friends. Ridiculed continuously devastated my life for many years to come. One time I ran away was because I did not want to cut my hair.
I remember being in the sixth grade and trying to join a club within my school. The night that they were to vote me in and or vote me out, I was so excited that I would be a member of this elite society. Before the vote, they asked me to step outside so that I would not be in the room during their evaluation of me as a potential member of the group.
Reentering the room after the vote, my excitement was so high because these guys were those kids that tormented me daily. Maybe I had some friends after all. However, to my dismay, they had not voted me into their group. Discouraged, hurt, and crying within my heart, I was a broken child. The adult leader in the room decided because of my reaction to call for another vote. So, uplifting my self-esteem to the point that I knew I had it in the bag! Anyhow, if the leader was on my side, how could they repeat no?
Out of the room, I went for the second time with thoughts of being a member of this beautiful club. I was so confident in myself that they would do the right thing. Reentering the room feeling like a defendant and they were the jury. No one would look at me because they had decided to conduct the same vote they had previously. So hurt, confused, and wanting to die. They had decided that I was not worthy of their esteem, friendship, or equal to their standards. I was set-up for the fall because they all invited me to join. There wasn’t any Room in the club for me.
The next day in school my ears rang with mocking, jokes, and the incredible statement that I was a SCAR HEAD. I did not know how to take this criticism any longer. The only thing I could think of was to lash out. So, I told them my Indian Friends would Scalp every one of them! I finally found an opportunity to use my parent’s advice. They called me a fool, so I played the fool.
Suffice it to say, the principal’s office had brought a therapist in just for me. He talked to me about many things. Finally, I was in a class of my own. Of course, none of it worked on me.
Back in the ’60s schools were not concerned with anyone’s self-esteem. We were to suck-it-up and get on with it. They had rules for everything along with consequences for not following them. Any teacher had the privilege to spank us with paddleboards designed with holes for maximum thrust.
Always being in trouble, I found myself bent over and grabbing my ankles weekly. I had one principal who consistently found me disobeying in the hallways. Every time he would yell out, “Steven get in my office immediately!” Since my name has always been Brad, my insecurities had me thinking, was I adopted? Well, that’s one of the stories that later turned around for me. Thank God I eventually woke up to it before I died from it.
“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
(2 Corinthians 5:17)
Throughout our life, God is building character and designing His purpose around our experiences. Be them glorious or fiery trials, all things have a reason, a season and lessons. Seek God always in your seasons of doubt and more so during the trials of life. Discovering the purpose of trials, how to overcome them, how to be obedient during them, how to grow because of them will lay the foundation to “. . . Count it all joy” when these fiery trials appear.
For the joy set before us – we endure suffering. Taking each part of our lives to the cross allows God to mature us as we live out the resurrected life in His Son. For the joy set before us, we endure the suffering of our trials as we joyfully wait upon the Lord to produce the fruit of our test in our lives. Thus, this trial is creating and increasing patience within our new resurrected life. Therefore, we have entered the fellowship of His suffering.
One purpose of a trial is to know what is in your heart. Not that God doesn’t already know. The problem is, we don’t know. We may think that we’re okay and we don’t have a problem. Thus, God will allow a trial in our life to show us what’s really in our hearts.
The prophet Jeremiah reaffirms, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10). God’s testing helps us to understand ourselves and to know our limitations and our weaknesses, so we will learn to trust in God and not in ourselves.
So, it’s critical to understand the purpose of trials so to know what to do, how to do it, when to do it, why we are doing it, what happens if we don’t do it and what are our rewards for doing it right? One insight to think about is embraced the trials and resisted temptations. We must get it right here on earth, so to be right when we arrive in heaven. Remember, there are no do-overs once we leave this life behind.
“There are no do-overs once we leave this life behind.“
God’s perfect will includes the building of character in our lives.
Over the years, we have learned that God is more concerned about our Character than our Comfort. His goal is not to pamper us physically but to perfect us spiritually.
When Jesus comes into our life, He sends the Holy Spirit to clean up those things blocking the development of Character in our life. And until we get in on the things God is doing in our heart, there will always be those things that will hinder the building of Character. It is a lifelong process to Develop Character in our lives.
Character is about allowing the Holy Spirit to transform our hearts so that our behavior slowly changes. It’s not cleaning up your act; it’s purifying your soul.
We live in a world of instant food; Facebook likes and safe spaces to hide from other people in the world. However, we can procrastinate all lifelong. We can put off studying for that test until the night before. But you can’t cram for Character. It is a lifelong process to develop.
Besides, God’s priority for the believer is not happiness; it’s holiness and character. Likewise, our priority should not be happy either. It should be faithfulness and usefulness. Usefulness takes place after we have developed yieldedness and Character. He is not impressed with how your self-esteem is feeling but how bright the Image of Christ reflects in your life.
CHARACTER is the belief in an absolute system of right and wrong. Combined with the will to do what is right regardless of the cost. Attitude is a Composite of Our Habits: “Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, REAP A DESTINY.”
“Never forget that Comfort is the feeling of any given moment; Character is for Eternity!“
God has a Specific Plan for Building Character in our Lives. The process of character development takes place inside of us; it’s constant and designed with God’s purpose in mind. His will for believers is a transformation into the likeness (image) of His Son, which will produce Character.
Satisfactory results come from good habits; poor results come from poor habits. Poor habits could take control of your life if you don’t ask God in prayer to change them. The good news is thatgiving poor habits to God will help you improve them for His glory.I read somewhere that It takes twenty-one days to change a pattern. So, the sooner we start, the quicker the change.
Written by, Brad Wyrick