Character Choices

As we began our life in Florida a year ago, the first book I picked up was Character Makeover by Kate Brazelton and recently through my readings and podcasts, it is a subject that has come together again for me.

Andy Stanley in his series “Character under Construction” describes it this way:

“Character is what I want everybody I work with and live with to have, but character is not always something I am willing to pay the price to gain for myself.”

In other words, it is a whole lot easier to care about the character of other people than to be concerned about the quality of our own character.

He continues on in the series to talk about how character is shaped and defined in our individual minds.  Our character fights an ongoing battle with the desire for achievement and personal fulfillment.

“When it comes to choosing achievement over character, most of us choose achievement over character.”

When achievement and personal fulfillment, at the expense of character, become acceptable and right in our minds, then a new standard of what is right and wrong develops for each of us.

I think the real challenge is when we wake up and realize that a new standard of right and wrong has developed in our lives and it is not in line with God’s character.  We set out to try and fix it and that is not always easy.

In his blog post, Protect your Proprioceptors! Ron Edmondson uses the illustration of damage to our physical prorioceptors (the internal sensory receptors that help maintain balance and coordination). Even after an injury is healed, it become much easier to re-injure it if the proprioceptor designed to protect it is damaged as well.

Being a walker/runner myself, I found this interesting and I found this little quote in another online article on ankle injuries.

“Failure to retrain the proprioceptors removes the safety net provided by our nervous system and jeopardizes the integrity of joint stability.”

Ron’s blog post continues on:

“I think our conscience and our sense of morals serve as a proprioceptor to help us keep balance in life and more easily recognize the difference between right and wrong. When this particular proprioceptor is damaged, it is much harder to gain our sense of direction again and making the wrong decision becomes easier the second time.”

So how does this all come together with regards to character for me?

  1. When it comes to character choices, even the little things matter.  Because the more I choose achievement and fulfillment over character, the easier it will be to do again and again. If I am not careful, I can easily let a new standard of right and wrong develop in my life.
  2. “The man or woman of character is one who does what is right just BECAUSE it is right.  Not because they might get caught or someone might find out (another Andy Stanley quote).”  I need to take a look at how I handle character decisions.  Am I making a right/wrong choice because I think I will get caught or because I know it is the right thing to do?
  3. John 15:4 — Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  I must stay connected to God, daily and deeply to keep my spiritual proprioceptor protected.  The ASV uses “Abide in me.”  The Message uses “Live in me.”

I have a daily challenge to face when it come to perfecting my character to reach the desire of God, but it never ceases to amaze me that some of the most dedicated and effective Christians I know have some of the greatest challenges in their lives. Whether it is financial, medical, or spiritual, they are attacked with barriers and temptations that challenge them to make character choices every day.  But I am learning that it is facing those challenges daily (sometimes hourly) and making the right decisions that brings us to a deeper and richer relationship with God.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Character Choices

  1. Isabel P Sem

    As always, Janet, your blog gives me much to think about. The last paragraph is so true. No matter our age we daily or at least I do have those things that tend to challenge my character. Often it is by my closest friends. My parents had such strong character and set such good examples that with these examples and studying God’s Word, at least I know what my goal should be.

    I always have to bring out my dictionary when reading your blog. Still not exactly sure what proprioceptor means. :o)

    Keep writing, I love reading your blog.

    Love you,
    Isabel

    • JMac

      Thank you all for your comments. Listening to others thoughts on what God is teaching me always makes it richer for me!
      Isabel: If you click on the link in my blog post it will take you to Ron’s blog on the subject. He has a great description on Proprioceptor and does a beautiful job connecting our physical ones to our “spiritual” ones. 🙂

  2. Ron Edmondson

    Thanks for the mention here

  3. Kevin McMahan

    Well done Janet. Thanks for sharing this perspective in such a clear and straightforward manner. As to those effective Christians with earthly challenges, I was reading in my Spurgeon devotional this morning that once we’re saved, why can’t we be happy regardless of trials and tribulations (like Paul writing the book of Romans from prison!). And Spurgeon offered, “Holy gladness and holy boldness will make any believer a good preacher and the entire world will be a pulpit for you.”

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