Character-Driven: Transformers vs. Play-doh

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Character determines revelation. -Oswald Chambers

Does that thought bring an “Uh-oh” or an “Amen”?

Oswald Chambers tells us character affects the degree to which God reveals Himself, His will, and His ways to us. 

Character displays our obedience factor. It reminds me of Philippians 2:13, how God works in us to will and to act according to His good purpose. Character demonstrates the degree to which we cooperate with the Holy Spirit’s work in our hearts. 

Paul instructed us in character building in Romans 12:1-2:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Yield: Give It Up

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 

Give up your rights to yourself. Why? In light of God’s mercy, there should be no limit to what we would do for Him. How does God view such an offering? Holy. Pleasing. True and proper worship. Wow! More than raising hands in praise. More than church attendance. More than tithing.

True, proper, holy, pleasing. Climb up on that altar.

Don’t Conform: Say No to Play-doh

Do not conform to the pattern of this world.

This verse makes me think of Play-doh and how we press the Play-doh against a mold to make a pattern. Are we marked by the world’s values, its mindset, or its methods? Paul said don’t allow yourself to be molded by the world’s system. Say no to the Play-doh.

Transform: From Caterpillars to Butterflies

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Transformation implies change—the permanent kind. How? By renewing your mind. What are you feeding your mind these days? Study your diet. What do you read? Watch? Hear? Are you giving your mind a healthy diet or a bunch of junk food? Think Transformers and Optimus Prime.

Then—

Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

After yielding your rights, refusing to conform to the world, and spiritually transforming through the Holy Spirit, then comes revelation. Not only will we know God’s will, but it will be good, pleasing, and perfect. It will withstand any test. 

Character determines revelation. What has God revealed lately?

Workout for the Week: Character-Driven

Memory Verse: For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:13

Meditation Passage: Romans 12:1-2

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Do It: Watch for revelation.

Prison Bars or Guardrails: Understanding God

Prison Bars or Guardrails: Understanding GodHow are you at understanding God? What comes to mind when you hear these words?

Rules.

Commands.

Laws.

Restrictions? Limits?

Or

Safety. Freedom.

I watch my teenager as we hash out rules, boundaries, and expectations.

He sees prison bars. “The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One. ‘Let us break their chains,’ they say, ‘and throw off their fetters.” Psalm 2:2-3

We see guardrails. “I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32 (NIV)

What we see as life giving, he sees as suffocating.

Cutting off life. Cutting off “freedom.”

Yet—the very opposite is true. Liberty comes through submission. Submission to God and to His rule in our lives. Take, for example, God’s commands regarding sex. God says sex is for marriage. One man. One woman. For keeps. Nothing before marriage. Nothing outside of marriage afterward.

Prison bars or guardrails?

Many scream, “Prison!” but how many relationships, marriages, and families have gone over the cliff because someone blew through the guardrail?

A few moments of pleasure.

A lifetime of consequences—physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

Is understanding God so difficult? Yet we give Him a hard time for trying to protect us from that kind of pain.

The author of Hebrews encourages us to see past the bars to understanding God and the heart of His commands:

God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12: 7b-11)

Holiness. Righteousness. Peace.

With that comes healthy relationships and few regrets.

Parents, trust God. And kids, trust Mom and Dad.

Think guardrails.

Questions:

When have you rebelled (inwardly or outwardly) against a rule?

How did it turn out?

Your view of God influences your view of His “guardrails.” How do you see Him?

Is your view truthful? Can you back it up with Scripture and the picture of God which Jesus gives?

Family Application:

Talk about guardrails and prison bars.

Why are the guardrails there?

Do they serve the same purpose as prison bars?

What’s the difference?

Tweetables:

What God sees as life giving, we see as suffocating. Click to tweet.

Yet—the very opposite is true. Liberty comes through submission. Click to tweet.

We give God a hard time for trying to protect us from pain. Click to tweet.

Think guardrails. Click to tweet.