Contributor: Ryan Moffat, B.S. in Bible and Theology from Multnomah University. Pastor of Vast Church.
“A good name is better than fine perfume.”
– Solomon (Ecclesiastes 7:1)
Do you pursue character growth like your life depends on it? Are you living your life in a warfare metaphor or have you, like so many folks, adopted a resort/vacation lifestyle where you simply “exist” with as many private pleasures you can consume while letting your inner being whither away into nothing?
Remaining Focused On What’s Important
One of the unfortunate realities that can happen slowly and passively to generations of privilege is we forget that the comforts of life are accessories not the central pursuit of life. Things like nice cellphones, long weekends and decent cars aren’t the substance. They’re simply the shadows.
Unfortunately, we are so far displaced from generations before us that pursued character, integrity, self-control and honesty as positive virtues. Character development was the aim – something that you were active in, not something you passively did or didn’t pick up on the side.
The effects of the metaphor you choose to live in (warfare or recreation) have intense implications for your pursuit of sobriety and living clean. If you believe that your character is the central pursuit of your life, you will fight with all your might to develop what you deem most important: your inner man or woman, and your integrity!
If you believe character is a “nice thing” but never the central thing, then character development will simply get squeezed out of all your pursuits. It simply can’t be an accessory in your recreation mentality. It must be the pursuit in your wartime mentality!
Step 6: Pursuit Of Character
“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
– John Wooden
What’s at stake in your pursuit of character is your sobriety and freedom from addiction itself. Starving your addiction without changing your character is like fasting from water. You can do it for a while, but after time, stress and relational tension, your natural thirst takes over.
You’re going to the drinking fountain at some point. This is what happens when you’re trying to starve addiction without developing the character. You might be able to replace bad behavior for a few inspired moments, but real change starts at the heart, not at the behavior.
When I became a follower of Jesus, EVERYTHING changed for me. It’s not that I just stopped enjoying BAD stuff, it’s that I started enjoying and loving good stuff. My whole paradigm shifted, and in that shift, I found that the quiet moments when God develops my character are also the sweetest moments in all of life!
Step 6 of the 12 Steps of Recovery, by the way, is when you ask God to remove your character weaknesses and prepare yourself for significant change in your life. Many call this the “change of heart” step.
May you find the joy in life isn’t more stuff, more chemicals and more things to consume, but it’s in the intense moments of character work that God embeds Himself in the deepest places of our hearts!
Community Discussion: Share Your Thoughts Here!
How do you believe your focus on God has impacted your character? How has this resulted in a change with your addiction? Please share your story in the comment section.
About the Author: Ryan Moffat received his B.S. in Bible and Theology and a minor in counseling from Multnomah University. He has pastored students, families and is passionate about Christ-centered recovery and healing. Ryan is the teaching pastor at Vast Church in Sisters, Oregon and is currently working on his Masters in Theology at Western Seminary in Portland.
Ryan and his partners have created a website, The High Desert Life, that focuses on the community of Central Oregonians. They are committed to sharing the culture, the landscape, the people, the beauty, the opportunities and the overall incredible community that is “The High Desert.”