Day 71 – Total Character Transformation
Another maxim from Brother Lawrence: “We must carefully examine which virtues are the most essential, which are the most difficult to acquire, which sins we commit most often, and which are the most frequent and inevitable of our falls. We must have recourse to God with complete confidence at the moment of combat, remain firm in the presence of his divine majesty, adore him humbly, bring him our miseries and weaknesses, and lovingly ask him for the help of his grace. In this way we will find every virtue in him without our having any of our own.”
When traveling in a car, you need to know where you are, and where you’re going, and how to get where you’re going. And if you make a wrong turn, you need to know how to get back on track. It’s the same in our spiritual journey.
Early in my Christian journey toward holiness, I became sensitive in dealing with sin. I searched the Scriptures for definitions of sin and compiled biblical lists of sins to avoid.
I wanted a clear conscience. Confessing and forsaking sin before the Lord helped me make and maintain a total commitment to God.
What I learned though was that putting sin to death was only one side. The other side was growing in the character qualities of Christ.
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).
The character qualities of Christ that we are to exhibit are best summarized in Galatians 5:22-23 – “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
And what has been labeled historically as the “seven deadly sins” best summarizes the primary traits of our human sinfulness – pride, envy, anger, sloth, greed, gluttony, and lust.
Taking stock of our virtues and vices provides a benchmark from which to measure our spiritual progress. What character qualities do you and I need to work on the most? What is our besetting sin? Where and when are we most tempted?
Brother Lawrence counsels us: God helps us grow in grace and overcome our dark side. Have confidence in him. Tell him your struggles. Believe he is changing you. God cares about your development. He’s transforming you to emanate the character qualities of Christ.
Question: Concerning your current spiritual growth, what specific virtue needs developing or what specific sin needs conquering?
This is God’s Word for you today,