A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Character Is Complicated

If we human beings are honest, we will admit that often our dissatisfaction in life is a matter of who we are. As C.S. Lewis rightly notes, the problem with people is not that they desire, but that they desire the wrong things. The Apostle Paul may have found that he was content in every situation (Philippians 4:10-13), but few other individuals can honestly say the same. Christians know all too well that while St. Augustine's dictum that our hearts are restless until they find rest in God is true, even in the midst of finding rest in relationship with the divine, there is still plenty of discontent as believers journey toward perfection. We are discontented because we lack, and often we are not sure what we lack nor where to find what we truly need. Indeed, too often what we think we need is not what we truly need. Character is not something Christians receive instantaneously at conversion; it takes a lifetime of forming and shaping as God works to restore his image in us. We may be in the image of God, but that image is cracked. Jesus wants his followers to become what they are, but the becoming is not easy.

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An excerpt from my latest book, The Character of Our Discontent: Old Testament Portraits for Contemporary Times, scheduled to be published April 10, 2010.


Angie Van De Merwe said...

I appreciate what you have titled this entry, as character is complicated. It is a developmental process, but the "end" is not always the "end" we personally "see" or "want" for another. That is a personally embraced journey. And we do much disservice to individuality, when we only see "Jesus" as THE moral model ("biblical" model).

I wrote on this subject myself on angiespoint@blogspot.com.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Great quote, Allan! Amen.

Bruce said...

This is a rich and well written essay. Many connections to Wesley, sanctification, perfection and conversion come to mind when reading this. Can't wait to read the book.