Celebrate Recovery! Pt. 4—Transforming My Character
The old character was FORMED
Humans were originally designed with no physical or spiritual defects. Once sin entered the world, people became un-ideal and the result was brokenness in all facets of life (Gen. 3). Since birth, all people are born with physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual tendencies inherited from their parents. Biologically, each parent gave 23 chromosomes to each person giving them their physical and behavioral traits. Sociologically, each person grew up in an environment which influenced their thinking and behavior. Theologically, every person is born with an autopilot to selfishness and sin and uses biological and sociological realities to encourage or excuse their choices (Rom. 3:23). Regardless of bio or social makeup, everyone is responsible for the choices that come from their character (Matt. 12:33-37).
A new character must be BORN
As humans are helpless to shed the drive to choose from the deficiencies of their character, God offers help and hope through the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit in people’s hearts. While many good things are passed down from parents and environment, people cannot be freed from the rebellion in their heart without Jesus (John 8:36). The ‘heart’, or location of moral choices that forms our character, cannot be changed long-term through willpower alone, but must be reborn (John 3:3; 2 Cor. 5:17). A new heart makes a new character that makes new choices that makes a new life!
The new character is being TRANSFORMED
When we are given a new heart, our bodies are to be living sacrifices that choose the hard new way over the easy old way. As weaknesses and habits have taken years to develop, so we must establish routines that cultivate godliness and servanthood (Phil. 4:8). Addictions are a short-circuit way to dealing with character flaws. Character is built on doing good, not feeling good! Instead of conforming to the old way, we are to choose the transforming power of God, so our character is strengthened to do God’s will. As we grow, we focus on progress not perfection. Then, we choose company that help, not hinder, our walk with God. Good character is not developed in bad company (Prov. 13:20; 1 Cor. 15:33)!