What’s with the attitude… I like it

So here’s a thought, what if God  isn’t so much interested in changing you as He is in using  you?

Don’t get all uptight and assume I’m saying what I’m not. We are sinful and broken and through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ we become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). I’m not talking about our sin nature (seriously, that  has to change), but more along the lines of our personality.

I’ve been a believer, and church staff member for more than a couple decades now, and I’ve seen a  universal assumption emerge. People assume that when Jesus forgives your sins He also requires a total ‘nerd’ over. A hyper-spiritual, KJV makeover if you will.

I don’t know when it got communicated, but somewhere in our ancient Christian past a rumor got started that eventually became accepted as truth. The rumor was that God not only wants to save your soul, He wants to give you a spiritual lobotomy.

I don’t think that’s the case. In fact, I am pretty sure that confessing Jesus is Lord does not require a mandatory follow-up of throwing away all your music and listening only Christian worship elevator tunes, replacing your entire wardrobe with sweater vest ensembles, and learning to say “ Well, praise the Lord!”  at the end of every sentence you use.

Again, don’t misunderstand, there must be a transformation. We cannot stay who we are spiritually, and continue to grow toward Jesus. It is just that I don’t see any evidence that you have to become some weird version of a three-dimensional Ned Flanders if you’re going to live for Jesus.

God is interested in removing your sin, purifying your mind and heart, and transforming your will and desires.

Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

But, and here’s the major thought, what if the reason God chose to save you was because He actually liked you… maybe even loved you. The personality that you have, the character that you’ve developed and your uniqueness… what if God wants you to keep those?

Personally, I think He does.

The case study for this is the Apostle Paul. Why in the world would God use this angry, violent, pompous jerk of a man to be the spearhead of the first century church? I mean, consider his track record:

  • Organized the stoning of Stephen, a man so holy that Jesus appeared to him at this time of death  (Acts 7:54–60).
  • Initiated and led a personal crusade to destroy the church by killing and arresting anyone he chose, including women and children(Acts 9:1–2).
  • Proud to be one of the most zealous (his words not mine) Pharisees of all Pharisees (Galatians 1:13–14). And, in case you don’t remember that whole subculture Jesus affectionately referred to as a brood of vipers (Matthew 23:33). Not exactly a ringing endorsement .

We could go on and on with Paul’s history, but let’s just suffice to say that he was one arrogant, violent and destructive individual. Despite these sin issues, God apparently could see a wrongheaded, self focused individual whose personality traits drove him in a destructive direction as someone who could make an incredible Christian leader if those same tendencies were focused in a Godly direction.

Paul was so focused he often got tunnel vision, so passionate he was willing to suffer for what he pursued and so intelligent he could outthink his opponents on almost every turn.

And, even though he was trying to destroy God’s church, our Father still loved him and pursued him. And when God finally confronted him on the road to Damascus, He wanted that same tenacious, fiery and amazing individual to turn his energies toward Jesus.

In other words, God wanted Paul to do what my wife tells our children to do all the time: “Use your powers for good and not evil.”

God saved Paul from his sins, but he didn’t do a thing about his personality. Apparently God loved Paul, and not some fictionalized, whitewashed, prepackaged version of what the church thought Paul should look like.

I think many people stumble at the thought of becoming a believer, because they’re afraid that their passion for the NFL, their skills in the arts, their rapture experienced in great music, their amazing abilities in the workplace, their pursuit of a great laugh, their focus on the hunt, or their vision for their future will have to be compromised.

I think we (the church) have been missing the point for a long time. God loves people, as they are. He wants to save us from our sins, not our personality… I think He really does like us.

That same fire that drove Paul to persecute the church also gave him the ability to endure beatings and imprisonment for the sake of the church.

That same intelligence that kept him one step ahead of early believers, also was used in writing almost 80% of the New Testament.

That same zeal that consumed him in his racial feelings of superiority, became the same driving energy that consumed him to his very end, as he was willing to die for Jesus.

Oh, we all need to be transformed and changed, but the change is not always about what we do or how we look. God is so much more interested in changing our why.

You’ve heard parents shake their head as they talk about their children and say, “If they would just use that energy for Jesus…”

They couldn’t be more right. God has already given the personality, the nature, the character… it just needs to be rerouted to heaven.

He loves you, and the way you are does not need to be changed in most cases, just redeemed!

Your character and nature that have been self focused and destructive in the past, can become kingdom changers, church builders and life restorers when you allow God to use your personality in a Christ-like direction.

7 Replies to “What’s with the attitude… I like it”

  1. God was obviously wanting me to study and look deeper at this verse, I had printed Romans 12:2 and put it up in my office this morning so that I could read it when I was feeling pulled. So when I had taken the time to read this blog, I was definitely taken back that you had written on the same. Thank you for sharing your insight on this verse as well.

  2. you just put into such excellent words something i’ve thought about for a long time – thank you ! how boring and ineffectual if we all had the same personality – our God is infinitely creative and not boring – just look at His creation ! God made your personality and can use it for His good after He changes your heart – just like He did with Paul – no more cookie-cutter, milktoast believers ! you rock Drew Michaels !!!!!

  3. LOVE this! What a huge encouragement for those of us that don’t always fit the “cookie cutter Christian” style.

  4. Great insight…interesting to think about. I think it’s really easy to think of the Bible as just a bunch of happy Bible stories and forget about the sin and imperfection of all the people in it. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that God doesn’t just use the “Holy” people:-)

    Thanks for writing this blog-I just subscribed today!

  5. I sure am glad God didn’t require me to become that “nerd”. He gave me life…a holy and separated life…and its an exciting way to live.

  6. As someone who was an angry, violent, pompous, intelligent,jerk- thanks. I’ve been hounded by so many to change my personality since I was saved, and I quickly came to this same conclusion. Since I now know my Spiritual Gifts, I know my personality is uniquely equipped for my purpose. All my characteristics that I used for evil, are now being directed to be used by God to fulfill His Will. I have the tenacity of a pitbull when I want something. Problem was, I always wanted the wrong things. I got them, but I ruined my life in the process. After I was saved, I witnessed to my best friend for 4 years before she accepted Jesus. I faced rejection and heartache, but I knew that God wanted me to go after her. The relentless nature He put in me, along with many other examples, shows me over and over again that I am ment to reach certain people. Some are reached through quiet humility, others through acts of kindness,ect. We need an infinate combo of personalities to reach out to all.

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