Acting Out of Character

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Friday, May 21, 2010 at 2:13 AM

I have a brand new car; I mean a brand new car. No one else has ever owned it, each mile that has been put on it over the last week, I have put on it. It has that new car smell that I love so much. It has all the bells and whistles a new car should have. It is clean, no spots on the seats, it is in perfect condition. The fact that I have a new car is a great story in itself but it is not where we are headed today.

Let me take a step back here. I have not had a new car since Carter was in the White House, it has been a while. I also have a bit of a reputation with cars. In the past my only concern was that the car actually run, I cared little about how it looked, just that it got me from place to place.

I have been known to eat complete dinners, write sermons and drive to church while driving in my cars. Sometimes all at the same time. If you ever needed a book or tablet, my car was the case to find it. Old cups that were formally filled with all kinds of drinks would litter the floor board. My cars got me from place to place (most of the time) but they did not look pretty in the process.

With this new car, well let me say that things are a little different. I wipe my feet before I get in. NO drinks except bottled water. I cringe when I hear the kids kick the back of the seat, even if it is by accident. Trash, I don’t think so, that comes out immediately. It has been doing nothing but rain here in Texas since I have had this car and it is driving me crazy to see the dirt get on the car. When it comes to taking care of the inside this car I am a new man. I have changed my character.

Now I know what you are thinking before you say it. You are thinking this; “It will never last.” Your saying to yourself in a month or two the newness will wear off and he will be back to his old self drinking cokes and eating burgers in that thing. There is no way a guy can change that much. It is just his character when it comes to cars.

Perhaps time will prove you right, but I am resolved, to be different and I like my chances.

This whole scene reminds me of us as Believers. Our character says we are sinners; it is how we are born. It is how people know us. Not a thing we can do about it. We go about our life living our own way and then what happens? We find God accept His grace and the rest of our life we are in the process of changing out character.

Our old character was prone to lie, cheat, steal, lust and covet to name just a few things. I bet for a lot of you when you came to know Christ people said something like this, “It will never last, in a couple of months he will be back hanging out with the old crowd doing the same old stuff he has always done.” They believe you can not change your character. Here is my thought on that. Nonsense!

If we attempt to change from our old way of doing things on our own power we are certain to fail. But if we use the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives to overcome our old way of living then we have at our disposal the greatest power in the universe and we can be victorious.

This does not happen over night or by a snap of our fingers. There is a struggle let me tell you that. The old way of doing things is always going to want to pull you back. You have to have resolve yes, then you have to lean on the Spirit of God at every turn to stay away from the old way of living. Just as character is formed over a period of time it takes time to change character but it can be done. Only, I believe with the help of the living God. On our own we are powerless, with Him we are powerful.

Here are some thoughts on changing our lives into ones that have a Godly character:

  • Don’t listen to other folks who tell you it can’t be done. Rid yourself of those folks and find people who support your decision, who are in the struggle themselves and are willing to help.
  • Be prepared to change your environment. Think of it this way, you are now driving a new life, don’t trash it out with the same old stuff.
  • There will be a day that you slip. That the old self creeps in and you fall for the old trap. Everyone will slip from time to time. Just get out as fast as you can, the longer you live in the old live the harder it is to escape. Trust me on that one.
  • If you have lived a Godly life and all of a sudden find yourself living in a way that seems out of character to you; take a step back. You’re probably close to falling into a serious trap. Once again get out quick, before it is too late.
  • Find friends that are willing to remind you of how you used to be and who are willing to make sure you never go back. I already have friends who are saying hey I am going to check on that car and make sure it is looking good. I relish that thought, the accountability will be good for me. I need it and so do you. Accountability in the Christian world is sorely lacking, we need it. To be on our own is dangerous.
  • Be sure to take the time to keep it clean. It takes time and effort to change and to stay changed. Commit to take the time to make that happen. Pray, fellowship, worship, repentance and study will help the change stick.

Next time you see me driving down the street I plan on being in a spotless Chevy Uplander inside and out. I am not going back.

My prayer is that my heart will match my vehicle, spotless inside and out.

Scripture: For a good look what God sees as a changed person, study the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 5, 6 and 7

2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new cretion; the old has gone, the new has come!” NIV

2 Corinthians 5:16 & 17, “Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is create new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it!...”

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to live our lives in a way that pleases you. Help us to avoid the traps and temptations that want to lead us back. We acknowledge this can only be done with your help. Drive us to our knees when we fail so that we can come back to you. Help us to live looking ahead, accepting your grace and living our lives for you. We ask these things in Christ Name, Amen.

all simple/truths are written by richard harris

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