If it’s true that the Holy Spirit is molding me into a new person, one who reflects the character of Christ, it makes no sense to say, “That’s just who I am,” when someone confronts me with one of my character flaws or with a habit of mine that offends them.
If my Father is conforming me to the image of His Firstborn, then my job is to submit all of myself to that process. That’s pretty comprehensive. It means that all my personal characteristics, traits, habits of speech are vulnerable, right? They are all up for grabs for the sake of becoming more like Him.
That said, there are probably many aspects of personality with little or no connection to character: things like my favorite color or the way my laugh bursts out like cannon fire. I don’t think our Father worries about those things, except to appreciate them. On the other hand, He’s obviously concerned with aspects of personality that reflect the character of our hearts. As a Father, I think He’s glad to see aspects of my personality that reflect the character of Jesus. When He sees the opposite, I’m in an area that the Holy Spirit is, or soon will be dealing with–an area where my Father knows I need to grow. Like when He sees my impatience with others, hears me swear when I’m tired, winces at my intellectual arrogance.
The process of Him raising us like this may seem scary. Like we don’t get to continue to be who we are. And in a way, it’s true. We don’t. The key is trusting the One who’s in charge of the process.
We’re growing up in His kingdom like children grow up in their parents’ homes. For children in that process, some of their innate characteristics can stay and some have to go. And the judge of what needs to stay and what needs to go is not the child.
So if tomorrow the Creator of the universe says, “Pam, honey, let’s not let those kinds of unwholesome words out of your mouth, ok?” What am I going to do? Am I going to imitate a five-year-old, and plant my feet, put my hands on my hips, pout at Him and say, “That’s just who I am”?
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the first born among many brethren…. (Romans 8).