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Character Education

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Last Sunday, the speaker during the service referred to physical therapy he needed after an accident. The therapist had indicated that something also needed to be done about the stress visible in the body, because this caused tense muscles. As long as the stress remained present, insufficient progress could be made during physical therapy.

I was reminded of the Great Physical Therapist who, through his treatment, not only provides relief but can also bring hidden issues to light. Perhaps precisely the latter. If things were not brought to light we could not grow, change. The bindings that come to light in our lives can bring us down. We may doubt that God's power is still prompting renewal. But in the light of the Great Physiotherapist, you can also be glad there that (hidden) sins come to light. Because He does not want to fight symptoms - and thus allow the ailment to fester - but wants to eradicate the ailment. Actually wants to free. Not a "cloak of love" that covers all the dirt and leaves it beautiful on the outside but rotten on the inside. This is what it means to die to yourself, bit by bit if necessary, to be raised to life in Him.

Reading George MacDonald's "Dream World" made me more aware that life with Jesus is about character building and that thus "everything works together for good" (Rom. 8:28). Not that only good things happen to the main character - or he can laugh heartily about them afterwards - far from it. Still, the further the story progresses, the more clearly it appears that he is becoming a nicer person. Someone who is no longer haunted by his shadow, so that he no longer has to be a "man outside himself. And as a result more self. Someone who, thanks to growing character, knows how to choose the right path. Against selfishness, lust and temptations. Following the path as it presents itself, as if it had been prepared for him. Desiring the good, choosing the good, because it is good. And there is good because God is good.

Dallas Willard writes about a life with Jesus, that there is growth in how we can follow him. In the end, may we find in his friendship and our surrender the power to do the works of the kingdom. And that in his kingdom we have so much power if we can carry, to do the right thing. For which a all-encompassing inner change of heart and soul is needed'. For that it is necessary to lose yourself so that you can find life. For "great power requires great character.

In Genesis, the first man is given the breath of life. Jesus shows the first followers how to live and then breathes his Spirit into them himself (John 20:22). The former brings life, Jesus gives purpose, the latter life force to accomplish the task set. By the Father, through Jesus, in the Spirit.

By engaging in the adventurous life with Jesus, we become His friends and will gain character. That is, we will become more and more like Him. By the choices we make and the confrontation we face - especially with ourselves. But we will get strength for it. And the more we start living with Him - living in the kingdom - the more we can be entrusted with.

"For in Him all things originated and have their purpose in Him. (Col.1:16, Rom.11:36)

"For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)


Erwin de Ruiter

"One man tries to express himself in books, another in boots; both are likely to fail." - G.K. Chesterton

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