Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday School: Character Part II

The name of the podcast series I have been listening to was Andy Stanley's "Character Under Construction". He notes that, "The biblical imperatives apart from biblical thinking always result in short term obedience and long term frustration." Another example of this line of thinking is in G.K. Chesterton's famous remark, "Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried." Frustration from failed attempts at rededicating our will leaves us thinking Christianity is impossible. Just remember, "I can't but He can."  

When it comes to renovating our character it is a two-step process. The first step to renewal is taking off the old. The second step is putting on the new. Each present their own unique challenges.This particular podcast (#4 in the series) was about taking off the old.

Our beliefs shape our attitude. How we think of a person shapes our attitude towards them. What we think of our spouse shapes our treatment of them. What we think about God colors our whole life. Therefore, because these attitudes shape our behavior and we want to be transformed it is imperative that we take off the old. Thanks be to God who has instructed us to go back to the most basic level. Stanley says, "God wants to deal with us at the fundamental belief system level . . . A renewed mind doesn't resist God like an un-renewed mind."

We need to identify the lies that fuel our attitudes and behavior. Stanley communicates the following message (paraphrase): Listen to your excuses and rationalizations because those rationalizations support lies.  

Some examples:
What's the harm in ____?
Everyone else is doing it.
Who is going to know?
But, I love him/her
He/She deserves it
I can't help it

What else supports lies? Fear and pain. When we examine the places we overreact we can generally find a lie embedded in our thoughts. Also behind the temptations that best us are lies. What lies support the areas where we are most susceptible to sin?
So the sermon was a call to be cognizant of (1) Excuses, (2) Overreactions, and (3) Temptations. All of these can give us clues to the lies that keep us back from "taking off the old". When we expose the lies they lose their grip and as Jesus said, "Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32).

No comments: