God’s primary goal for us – character, not innocence

“God’s primary goal for us is character, not innocence.  Innocence means I haven’t done anything wrong.  Character means I am habitually devoted to doing what is right.  Babies are innocent.  Saints have character.”- John Ortberg

“Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”- Romans 12:9 (NIV)

As John Ortberg concludes Chapter 3 of I’d Like You More . . . , he notes what happens when we try to anticipate what’s agreeable to others.  In the process, we hide our true opinions and modify what we say.  As a result, we destroy any hope of desired intimacy.

Thus, it’s in moments of temptation – when we feel all alone – that we make choices that wind up shaping our character in unique ways.  Furthermore, whether or not we acknowledge it, these choices bring us closer to God.  For only God’s big and strong enough to assure us: Don’t be afraid, It’s okay.  Also, we need that foundational truth to achieve full formation as healthy people.

Writing in Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ (2001), Dallas Willard states that God created us to live in “circles of sufficiency.”  There we receive assurance that everything’s okay, although no human circle possesses the ability to make everything okay.  Pastor Ortberg explains:

“Only when rooted in the divine cycle of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit can broken individuals recover from the wounds they’ve receive in their circle of origins.  Healing must be found there if it is to be found at all.”

In conclusion, Pastor Ortberg cautions us to avoid suffering from what he calls Divine Attachment Disorder.  This disorder disables our ability to hear the words our Heavenly Father most wants us to hear.  For when we hear and take those words to heart, we grow in character.

Today’s question: What Bible verses direct you to God’s primary goal – character?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Light speaks to us of God’s goodness”

Speak Your Mind

*