My last two tweets on Twitter have been centered around God's (unchanging!) commitment to change us, not because we are defective but because we are broken and unable to fulfill our destiny as His people apart from His constant transforming work in our lives.
I probably won't write long today, because I am writing only with Papa's special permission on this day that is usually my "Sabbath," but I do want to expand a bit on my two tweets because of the responses they both generated. So here goes...
First, it's not uncommon for people, even believers, to say (or at least, think), "That's just the way I am" in terms of certain aspects of their behavior. I think of one particular woman from a period of ministry several years ago who said this often in reference to her outspoken and direct method of communication. It was if she felt that her personality was somehow off limits to God's transforming work. But the wreckage of her blunt communication (truth-without-love) suggests otherwise. She was actually hindering her destiny and the destinies of others around her by believing that her directness was "off limits" or perhaps "beyond God's ability" (not that she would have consciously thought that!).
But as far as I can tell, the promise of the Fruit of the Spirit (which includes kindness and gentleness) is for every believer, including those who by nature tend to be direct and outspoken. My Bible doesn't say that "Type A personalities are exempt from being kind because direct and forceful is just the way they are." :-) No, the truth is, we will cut ourselves out from part of our destiny in Him if we say "That's just the way I am" no matter what our reason.
So why do folks say, "That's just the way I am"? My sense is that many of them are afraid to face their brokenness, afraid that they are beyond hope. So it seems easier to stay broken and justify that brokenness than it is to present themselves to Holy Spirit's leadership and transforming work in certain areas of their lives.
But there's good news for all of us who are ever caught saying, either with hardness or with resignation, "That's just the way I am." And that Good News is that God, our loving Father, is the Unchangeable Changer. It is He who changes and transforms us! The Fruit of the Spirit is the Fruit of the Spirit, not the result of our trying harder to be different. And as we make ourselves more and more vulnerable to Him, He does the impossible: He changes even our most deeply seated traits that are not like Him (our destiny is to display His character, to have His image restored to us). As we take down the "no trespassing signs" in our hearts and allow Him and trusted others into those most wounded and sensitive areas, the transformation begins to take place, hurting at times, taking too long for our preference, but leading us eventually to say, "That's the way I was, but the Changer changed me!"
Surrendering afresh to His transforming leadership.
Tom, one of Abba's little children