I started a painting yesterday and it was a disaster. It was a complete mess. It did not turn out how I envisioned. But the good thing is that once it dries I can try again. I won’t be throwing the canvas away. No I will be working with the canvas until it becomes a masterpiece. Many of my paintings start this way. I have a vision for how it is supposed to turn out. It never turns out exactly how I envisioned but through the working, the discipline, the practice and the endurance it builds character. This character is what makes the painting a true masterpiece.
I learned this same thing through my gymnastics. As a competitive gymnast I had to be disciplined in my strength training, disciplined in my flexibility, disciplined in the basics otherwise I would never be able to do the big skills. I would never be able to improve and compete. The foundation behind my gymnastics was the practice, the discipline and the struggle. Gymnastics built my character as a person in a positive way.
As a Christian I have my inner self, we often refer to this as the soul or the heart. Other terms people use is a persons nature or moral qualities. There are passages in the Bible that say that God judges us by our insides, our heart. He judges us based on our character.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.” Matthew 23:25-26
So how does he develops our character? My personal opinion is that the number 1 thing needed is a willingness. If you go to God and humbly ask for him to mold your character, he will not disappoint. God is all mighty, all powerful and the creator of the universe. He can use anything and everything to build character in you. But you have to be willing, you have to be committed and disciplined in your going to God. Just like as a gymnast I had to be committed to strength, flexibility and the basics.
So to all those who wish God to produce in them character, may he give you a heart of willingness and discipline. And to all, may we be God’s hands, feet and voice, providing love, gentle guidance and safety to those working on there character. Amen