Monday, November 24, 2014

A Character Transformation

At 4:05 this afternoon, all the ideas I'd collected since Saturday for a blog post have scattered, giggling at how they've left me dumbfounded and sputtering in their wake. Yet I know that, once I begin typing, the Lord will remind me of some way my words can bring honor to Him.

Bringing Him honor doesn't come naturally. Not to me, and (pardon my boldness) not to you. A passage I read during my Quiet Time this morning reminded me of who I am apart from Christ:
For your hands are defiled with blood
    and your fingers with iniquity;
your lips have spoken lies;
    your tongue mutters wickedness.
No one enters suit justly;
    no one goes to law honestly;
they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies,
    they conceive mischief and give birth to iniquity.
They hatch adders' eggs;
    they weave the spider's web;
he who eats their eggs dies,
    and from one that is crushed a viper is hatched.
Their webs will not serve as clothing;
    men will not cover themselves with what they make.
Their works are works of iniquity,
    and deeds of violence are in their hands.
Their feet run to evil,
    and they are swift to shed innocent blood;
their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity;
    desolation and destruction are in their highways.
The way of peace they do not know,
    and there is no justice in their paths;
they have made their roads crooked;
    no one who treads on them knows peace. ~~Isaiah 59:3-8 (ESV)
Like most people, I'd like to look down my nose at rebellious Israel when I read these words, perhaps also applying them to non-Christians. Those applications work, but they don't extend far enough until I humble myself and claim that Isaiah also described my inner heart. As much as I tell myself I'm not really that bad,  I must believe God's Word over and against my own self-assessment.

Accepting His Word also means, however, that I will accept His grace. Jesus died to put my sin to death, allowing me to live in His Spirit. His Spirit mercifully empowers me to exhibit qualities that reflect His wonderful character.
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. ~~Galatians 5:16-23 (ESV)
The Lord, in His graciousness,  has created a new DebbieLynne!  The vile creature of my flesh died with Him, and now His Spirit lives in me, enabling me to live a  life that glorifies Him. I love that trade-off, especially because it honors Him.

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