Out of the Fire
Practical Insights for the Passionate Christian
Lee Ann Rubsam
Our family-friendly Boomer humor section:
Changing Your Negatives into Positives
Every one of us struggles with negative qualities in our character -- flaws that we would prefer not to have to overcome. Perhaps you feel badly about having certain traits, and you wish you could change them. There is good news: your weaknesses can become your strengths, and God delights to help you with the necessary changes.
Every character flaw is actually a good quality that has run amok. Once we understand this concept, it is far easier to love ourselves as we are, and make the adjustments that will set things right. You see, our less-than-lovable character traits are due to a marring of God's image within us, a distortion of God's original plan for us. The distortion is there because of Adam and Eve's fall into sin way back in the Garden of Eden. But ever since Jesus redeemed all mankind through His atonement at the cross, He has been restoring all things. He wants to restore you!
Let's take a look at some common negative character qualities, and see what God wants to restore us to. Each negative quality has an equal and opposite positive side to it, the unmarred trait that was God's original intent for us.
1.) Stubbornness becomes persistence and perseverance when the restorative hand of God is applied. The persistence/persevering side is crucial for intercessors and Christian leaders.
2.) Criticalness is the flip side of discernment. Discernment is a vital tool in getting Kingdom work done. When we understand the difference between these two, we no longer have to feel paralyzed by negative impressions received in our spirit-man. (See my article, Criticalness or Discernment?)
3.) Bossiness is the immature mark of born leadership. Born leaders see the goal and just want to get it done! Developing a heart of servanthood helps us overcome bossiness.
4.) Arrogance transforms into confidence. Arrogance is all about me and what I can do in my strength; confidence is all about knowing who I am in Christ and letting His Spirit work through me.
5.) The tendency to be controlling becomes decisiveness and the ability to take the lead when a need presents itself. Control has a root of not trusting God. As we yield to Him and let go, He teaches us when to take the reins and when to restrain ourselves. We learn to delegate, rather than manipulate, and to leave our hands off of whatever is not our realm of responsibility.
6.) Paralyzing timidity and fearful caution change into prudence that weighs situations and moves forward in wisdom.
7.) Blunt lack of tact, when redeemed, becomes a steady directness, a stay-the-course truthfulness, seasoned with grace.
All of the above negative character traits become positives when they are remolded by the Holy Spirit into actions tempered by love.
How does God bring forth the positive? Time with Him reshapes us into His image and imparts His heart to us. We become like the One we lavish our hours upon in prayer, Bible meditation, and listening to Him.
Suffering brings forth humility and compassion for others. Yielding ourselves to His discipline, allowing Him to bring us through testings, and submitting ourselves to others are all necessary components for growing in Christ-likeness. The refiner's fire cannot be avoided if we wish to move forward in the Lord's plans for us. When we bring our known faults before God and actively ask Him to redeem them, we open the way for Him to transform us.
There is a good future ahead of you. Don't let your weaknesses keep you down. Instead, give the Holy Spirit free rein to work on them, and watch Him change them into strengths worthy of honor.
© Copyright 2009 by Lee Ann Rubsam. All rights reserved.