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A character question
God acts upon us by regenerating us (John 3:7), which sets the stage to change our inner selves into Christlikeness, a lifelong process.
He gives us a new heart, which permits us to engage Him (and others) so our new hearts are shaped into Christlikeness. This process is ongoing as we put off put off our thoughts and ways while renewing our minds with Christlike perspectives, and putting on Christlike holiness (obedient practices). Cf. Ephesians 4:22-24
If you don’t do these three things simultaneously, your mind and behaviors will not change. Your “new heart” needs input from your interactive relationships with God and others, a process that permits you to experience Christlike growth.
The more your new heart experiences biblical shaping influences, everything that flows out of it will have Christ-qualities. Cf. Luke 6:43-45; Proverbs 4:23. In a way, your character is the most important aspect, though there is an inseparableness to all four of these parts listed here.
Practical Illustration – When hiring someone for a ministry position (or another type of work), it’s critical that you know them from a character perspective. You cannot discern an individual’s character from a battery of tests. The only way to know them is to spend extended time with them.
A theological question
Everything we know about God comes from the Bible. God’s Word is a special and unique revelation (2 Timothy 3:16) that permits us to know God so we can imitate Him (Ephesians 5:1).
A good goal for every Christian is to be mastered by God’s Word. The process of being mastered by it begins my studying it, and there are many ways of doing this. One of the most effective means of submitting yourself to the power of God’s Word is to memorize it. Memorization has several benefits. Here are two of them:
God’s Word is a spiritual book that you “figure out” (discern) spiritually (2 Corinthians 2:14). With the Word of God and Spirit of God actively working in your mind, you’re in the best position to experience transformation.
A capacity question
Every person has a unique soul just like they have a unique body. We’re all different. Paul talked about the “small soul” person in 1 Thessalonians 5:14. Understanding how people are different is a twofold positive:
A serving question
Part of our call is to go and make disciples, which flows right out of the two most significant commandments to love God and others most of all.
A non-serving Christian is a broken Christian if he’s a Christian at all. To not care for (serve) others is antithetical to the gospel. Cf. Philippians 2:3-11. There are many dangers if you isolate the behavioral side of life from the inner person (character).
Rick Thomas leads a training network for Christians to assist them in becoming more effective soul care providers. RickThomas.Net reaches people around the world through consulting, training, podcasting, writing, counseling, and speaking.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology, and in 1991 he received a BS in Education. In 1993 he was ordained into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, CA. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).