Most people reading this paper have made a verbal confession of belief in Jesus Christ as their hope for forgiveness and life eternal. If you haven’t, do that right now………, okay, you’re up to speed with most everyone else. The next step as discussed in my last article is to surrender your will to God.
The surrender of the will to God is a process that continues with a fearless self examination. Do you compulsively and obsessively do anything that occupies more time and dedication than your relationship with God though Jesus? If you do, you may want to consider that activity as an idol.
I had to face that fact with pornography, but for you that idol could be porn, food, work, gambling, religious activity or any of a multitude of things that take over God’s rightful place in our life as first and foremost. What ever is foremost in your life other than God should be at the top of your list and you may have more than one.
Once you have established the possible idol(s) in your life you move on to identify your character defects. Character defects are just that, they are flaws in our character make up that don’t work well in life. They are definitely traits, behaviors and thoughts that are inconsistent with God’s Word. For me, my list started out with pornography and actions, behaviors, and thoughts associated with viewing porn. My list continued with the character flaws of self centeredness, fear of abandonment, anger, pride, self righteousness, self pity, controlling, quarrelsome to name a few.
Truthfully, my character defect list read like the rap sheet of a 28-year-long career criminal. I believe I was in God’s eyes. My and your character flaw list make up the reasons why we are sinners and in need of a Savior.
We are all capable of starting our list but incorporating other people in assisting us will broaden the scope of our understanding. This is not a beat yourself up exercise, so make sure you list out your positive character traits too. The character flaw list will be used in the process of rebuilding your belief system, Biblically “to be transformed by the renewal of your mind,” (Romans 12:2), which I will address in my next article. For people with addictions, I highly recommend you get involved with a Bible-based recovery group specific to your addiction. If there is not one, look for a secular recovery group that the higher power belief is in the God of the Bible. I also highly recommend you visit a trained professional counselor, specific to your addiction, preferably one who has years of sobriety from your same addiction.
Pay the money it costs. I learned the hard way by going to several pastors and counselors that were clueless as to my addiction and in two cases, I later learned were sex addicts themselves. Wasted time and some set backs. Pastors can play a role in helping identify Biblical character defects and Biblically desired characteristics, but rarely are they trained in the ability to identify the core beliefs that drive addiction. The reason for the groups and the professional counselor is to help us identify our defects in character but also to help identify the characteristics and the core beliefs, in our life, that are the driving forces behind the addiction and make us behave the way we do.
The deeper we can go in this process of identification the more profound the transformation will be that God can perform in our life. So go deep. You can also ask the people that are closest to you and know you the best, to help with your list. Co-workers, best friends, your spouse, your children, and siblings are among some of the people you have been revealing your true character to for a long time. Ask, don’t react or retaliate. Listen, now is the time to be fearless in doing your personal inventory.
In the next article, I will write about how to use your list so that God can perform a metamorphosis in your life every bit as miraculous as the changing of a caterpillar to a butterfly.