The Most Effective Character Builder
“And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” Matthew 7:25 ESV
“Life will keep bringing you the same test over and over again until you pass it.” Unknown
Have you felt like life is a setup? Do you wonder why evil people live in prosperity and you’ve barely got enough money for milk and bread? Why are your loved ones deceased and others living joyfully with their loved ones? Me too. I’ve read repeatedly in the Bible that our primary goal is to become more Like the Son, Jesus. And many times it feels so bad! Life is a test. But…
He promises us and God cannot lie:
“So that you may [show yourselves to] be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on those who are evil and on those who are good, and makes the rain fall on the righteous [those who are morally upright] and the unrighteous [the unrepentant, those who oppose Him].”
Who we are under pressure is who we truly are. For me, it’s not pretty! And it reinforces my total dependency on the Father. John the Baptist said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” Life is a test.
Dependency. There’s so much out there about co-dependency, self-improvement and success training, which surely builds us and shows improvement. But the Father’s way is to accept and even embrace our failings with him. If we don’t, we will rationalize, intellectualize (my go-to) or deny the truth. Something as simple as losing my temper over the smallest thing like my dog barking non-stop can drive me to frustration. Why? It’s a test and shows my very human logic: I want control over the dog. I can’t so I’m a bad dog owner. I’m a bad person. The neighbors will see what a bad person I am. See how this works? I’m not embracing or accepting at all of my dog, myself or the Father!
And the Father uses others to get our attention. The greatest lessons in my life were handed to me by the Father and they were always others—even a dog. When the boss is demanding, the children are whining, the grocery clerk is snippy and the news depresses me—all character development tests. And I’ve failed them many, many times but realizing I’m truly loved by the Father opens my heart. I sometimes fearfully ask him, “What’s the lesson?” In Psalm 139 it says, “Test me Lord and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” It’s a prayer that is always answered. It takes a huge amount of honesty, humility and bravery. And the Father will send the right situation to nudge us forward. With him. Until we pass the test.
Time for a very honest conversation with the Father. Let’s face it; He knows anyway. Being honest with the Father about ourselves is never easy. It’s never a quick situation. It requires uncomfortable truths, prayer and self-reflection. But it works! It’s peaceful. It’s encouraging. It brings joy even in the midst of turmoil. And it makes us more like the Father’s Son.
Thank you for Your Son, our High Priest, who never punishes but welcomes our honesty and struggle. We are doing the best we can because we love you but we will always need you to do what is right and good in the storm. Thank you for causing all things to work to good.