Thursday, March 26, 2009

Keeping the End in Mind

Becoming the person God created me to be is hard work. I am ready to give up and just go with the flow. I am tired. If I had to describe how I felt about my life right now tired is the word I would use.

This tiredness isn’t about physical activity, but it is about the spirit. I am spiritual weary due to looking at my heart and trying to make changes. It is the weariness that comes with the realization that I am so very far away from the destination: the man that God created me to be. When one is weary how does he summon up the courage, strength, and desire to change?

I don’t know the answer to that question. I do know that God has been asking me to consider the end. At the end of my life what type of man do I want people to remember as? This isn’t about accomplishments, but it is about character.

It is my belief that God is more interested in character than He is in talent, and that He is more interested in personal holiness than in individual accomplishments. If that is true, then God will bring all the right opportunities if I can develop into the right type of person. It is through how I handle those opportunities that God continues to mold me into the person He wants me to be.

One of the lesson I learned from the book Caesar against the Celts is when we have a goal we are in the best position to make the most of the opportunities we are given. Caesar had a goal in mind, he wanted political power, and when circumstances were not what he planned them to be he was still able to use those circumstances as an opportunity that would benefit him. It wasn’t luck that made Caesar, it was his understanding of who he wanted to be, and thus making the most of whatever opportunity that came his way to move a step closer to that dream.

I think the same is true for a Christian. When a Christian understands the person God wants them to be, what type of character they should have, then he/she is able to recognize the choices they are to make in what ever different circumstances that they might face.

If I want to be a person of integrity then I have to realize the lost wallet I find on the sidewalk is an opportunity to display (and thus build) that integrity or an opportunity to ignore (and thus destroy) that integrity.

I think part of the reason that I am weary is because I think all this work has to be done over night. I am so far from the person I want to be, I have just distorted images of the character I want to have, and I don’t seem to be making very much progress to where I want to be. By looking at the end I hope to be reminded that it takes one step at a time, and with each step I get closer and closer to that person God created me to be. I need to remember it is that constant struggle to change, taking it one step at a time, that God is most concerned about. For it is through this daily struggle to make the right choice that we are prepared for heaven.

At the end of my time on earth I want people to say:

“Paul was a man of courage. He did not back down from confronting the evil that was around him. He was a man of integrity. If he told you he would do something you could consider it done. Paul constantly and continually taught truth. He believed the Bible is God’s Word and it was the foundation for his teachings and his life. Most importantly Paul was a man of faith. When I think of a person of faith his is one of the many faces that come to mind.”


Ruth said...

Thanks for sharing this, Paul. I sympathize with your weariness and know how hard the struggle is sometimes, but unlike people, God can look at your heart. He knows when our spirit is willing but our flesh is weak. Obviously I don't know you personally, but your understanding that you are not the man God wants you to be just yet sounds very genuine...the kind of understanding that only a man after God's own heart and very close to God's Truth would be able to discern in the first place. I also understand your feeling that these changes should take place quickly; I often think after some of the incredible ways God has been moving in my life, I want everyone around me to immediately see what God has done, through changes in me...but I still struggle very much. These words from the apostle Paul help me: Phillipians 3:10-16, and you're right, as long as our goal is always in our minds, God will lead us, and we'll be okay. Don't lose heart. My prayers are with you.

-a sister

Paul said...

Thanks Ruth for the comment. Though I have to make a confession, I wrote this last fall and when I was looking for something to post I just read the middle part and ignored the first part. So I am currently not feeling the way this reads. I guess next time I post something I wrote in the past I had better read the whole thing.

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