As we began our life in Florida a year ago, the first book I picked up was Character Makeover by Kate Brazelton and recently through my readings and podcasts, it is a subject that has come together again for me.
Andy Stanley in his series “Character under Construction” describes it this way:
“Character is what I want everybody I work with and live with to have, but character is not always something I am willing to pay the price to gain for myself.”
In other words, it is a whole lot easier to care about the character of other people than to be concerned about the quality of our own character.
He continues on in the series to talk about how character is shaped and defined in our individual minds. Our character fights an ongoing battle with the desire for achievement and personal fulfillment.
“When it comes to choosing achievement over character, most of us choose achievement over character.”
When achievement and personal fulfillment, at the expense of character, become acceptable and right in our minds, then a new standard of what is right and wrong develops for each of us.
I think the real challenge is when we wake up and realize that a new standard of right and wrong has developed in our lives and it is not in line with God’s character. We set out to try and fix it and that is not always easy.
In his blog post, Protect your Proprioceptors! Ron Edmondson uses the illustration of damage to our physical prorioceptors (the internal sensory receptors that help maintain balance and coordination). Even after an injury is healed, it become much easier to re-injure it if the proprioceptor designed to protect it is damaged as well.
Being a walker/runner myself, I found this interesting and I found this little quote in another online article on ankle injuries.
“Failure to retrain the proprioceptors removes the safety net provided by our nervous system and jeopardizes the integrity of joint stability.”
Ron’s blog post continues on:
“I think our conscience and our sense of morals serve as a proprioceptor to help us keep balance in life and more easily recognize the difference between right and wrong. When this particular proprioceptor is damaged, it is much harder to gain our sense of direction again and making the wrong decision becomes easier the second time.”
So how does this all come together with regards to character for me?
- When it comes to character choices, even the little things matter. Because the more I choose achievement and fulfillment over character, the easier it will be to do again and again. If I am not careful, I can easily let a new standard of right and wrong develop in my life.
- “The man or woman of character is one who does what is right just BECAUSE it is right. Not because they might get caught or someone might find out (another Andy Stanley quote).” I need to take a look at how I handle character decisions. Am I making a right/wrong choice because I think I will get caught or because I know it is the right thing to do?
- John 15:4 — Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. I must stay connected to God, daily and deeply to keep my spiritual proprioceptor protected. The ASV uses “Abide in me.” The Message uses “Live in me.”
I have a daily challenge to face when it come to perfecting my character to reach the desire of God, but it never ceases to amaze me that some of the most dedicated and effective Christians I know have some of the greatest challenges in their lives. Whether it is financial, medical, or spiritual, they are attacked with barriers and temptations that challenge them to make character choices every day. But I am learning that it is facing those challenges daily (sometimes hourly) and making the right decisions that brings us to a deeper and richer relationship with God.