“But what I’ve come to realize is that character development for the most part doesn’t happen in some monastery with stone walls and dank cellars. It happens in the grind of everyday life. It has to because that’s where your character gets challenged the most. . . . if you don’t have a day-to-day strategy, you’ll never win the battle for your soul.”- Carey Nieuwhof
“The gateway to life is narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever enter it.”- Matthew 7:14 (NLT)
In Chapter 4 (“Taking Your Soul Off the Market”) of Didn’t See It Coming, Carey Nieuwhof offers practical ways to deepen your character. First, Pastor Nieuwhof developed a helpful formula, honed after many years of character challenges. As an antidote to compromise, work twice (more if needed) as hard on your character as you do your competency. And, the author notes, you’re likely to resist this work. Thus, it’s imperative to pay attention.
Next, Carey presents his viewpoint on Matthew 7:14. Carey observes that Jesus offered this commentary on the road to life as He summed up His Sermon on the Mount. Therefore, one application of this passage involves the critical nature of character development. For on the other side of trusting Jesus as Lord there’s a reshaping of your life. And, you only find it as you completely trust your character and soul to God. In addition, Pastor Nieuwhof adds that this reshaping constitutes your response to Christ’s saving work. Yet, this painfully personal transformation Jesus envisions runs deep. Consequently, Carey contends, you meet a lot of Christians who look nothing like Jesus.
Finally, this new life centers on God’s deep work of renewal and regeneration. Furthermore, your love flows more deeply as God reshapes your character. From the inside out. In the process, you get your soul back. Carey explains:
“Obviously, it’s a lifelong journey. The ancients called it sanctification, the process of being made holy, of separating yourself from the things that murder your soul. It’s the sometimes-painful work God does in your life not because he hates you, but because he loves you.”
Today’s question: How does the grind of everyday life open the door for character development? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Blame – the opposite of responsibility”