Our Character, Redeemed by God
[Reading time: 2 minutes] God gave each of us the character we need to be effective in life and in his kingdom. The problem is that sin perverted our character, making us less effective than God intends. But he’ll redeem our character with our cooperation, making us more effective than we ever would imagine.
If you redeem something, you realize it has more potential than it’s currently experiencing. In fact, that’s why God redeemed us; we weren’t experiencing our potential.
Let’s apply this to our character. Sin corrupted or perverted our character, mainly by making us self-centered. God can redeem our character with our cooperation and as we do your part, he produces the results. What’s our part? Repenting.
The Greek word translated “repent” in the New Testament is metanoio. It’s a compound word; the first part (meta) refers to transformation and the second part (noio) refers to our minds — what or how we think. Repentance literally means changing the way we think or transforming our mind. It requires us to reprogram our minds and make them conform to what the Bible says.
I’ve heard it said that repentance is believers’ territory and that’s true! The New Testament was written to Christians and it tells us to repent. Most of what it says requires us to change our minds about something.
Some people say repentance is turning around and going the opposite direction. I suggest, instead, that’s the result of repentance, because what we think determines what we do. One of the biggest problems Christians have is trying to change behavior while ignoring attitudes. Not only is that ineffective, it’s frustrating; again, because what we think determines what we do. We need to focus on changing our minds and our behavior will follow.
Repentance includes recognizing ungodly patterns we developed when we were sinners — habits, lifestyle choices, behavior, language, attitudes, perspectives, priorities, values, standards and such. Yes, we’re new creations in Christ now, but we also brought old baggage into our new lives. So repentance requires us to identify what doesn’t honor God, doesn’t reflect his nature, and is no longer acceptable for us. Then, having identified what must go, we consciously and deliberately transform our minds.
God will help us change our thinking, but it’s mainly our responsibility. As we do that, we allow him to redeem our character so we can be as effective as he intends.