The Gospel, Our Personality, and the Work of the Spirit

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

"That's just the way I'm wired!"

If I had a dime for everytime I heard that saying.............well, you know the rest.

Picking up where the "Guys Like Me" post left off yesterday, this is the common statement many times when a conflict or discussion produces and manifests differences of opinion and behavior and belief. For example, a while back, one pastor on staff confronted another pastor in love and gentleenss concerning his lack of personable love and fervent affection for others. He responded, "You're wired differently than I am. God wired you so that you need that type of thing. But God didn't wire me that way."

There is no doubt. Such 'wiring' does exist in us. But it is tainted by sin. Total depravity is the doctrinal root here. It has affected every area of our wiring, tainting it with sin. So, yes, we are 'wired' at birth with a certain 'code' of wiring. But that code is messed up. And all the wires of our personality cross with other wires creating conflict in the human mind. That is caused by sin.

Part of the problem today is that our culture has taught us that personality is what it is, and in Christianity that has translated into the teaching and belief that God has made my personality the way it is. Thus, the implied conclusion is that others should keep theri hands off of our personality and just accept us for who we are.

But this cuts against the grain of biblical teaching on depravity, sin, fallneness, human nature, flesh, deceitfulness of the heart, etc. It fails to realize that because sin has corrupted every human through and through, that the personality is also deeply affected by sin. Nothing in our lives has escaped its reverse. Sin is much like the touch King Midas wished for, though in our case, it does not turn to gold, but simply ruins everything we do.

Any 'wiring' then that is put there at birth is not and should not be set in concrete. It needs to be 'rewired.' Some wires need to be removed. Some need to be stripped. Some need coupling with other wires. And some wires just need to be cut and thrown away. New wires must be added and connected with existing wiring. And having had some experience with telephone and network wiring configurations, it is an incredibly complicated process when compared with the rewiring that must take place in our hearts!

Da-ta-da! In comes the gospel of Christ! If any man is in Christ he is a new creature. The old has gone and the new has come.! That man has the mind of Christ. The heart of the new covenant is beating hard within. The Spirit of God, the Comforter, has been implanted. Regeneration means the new wiring has been supplied. Justification means God's wiring is now our wiring. And sanctification is the process of cooperating with the Spirit to rewire our souls with the truth.

Rewiring is the goal of regeneration, conversion, justification and sanctification. The H.S. wants to 'rewire' us to Jesus' specifications. Having already been declared to be righteous like Christ, we must now be rewired to act like Him, feel like Him, think and speak like Him, and love like Him. Yet strangely, all the while, whilst we experience this rewiring, we remain confident that in the presence of God we already have become perfectly rewired! It is one of the strangest mysteries of the gospel!

Therefore, a person should never, ever make a plea to their 'wiring' as a means of escaping responsibility or slithering out of conflict. Instead, the application of the gospel to each human heart means that the wiring of Jesus Christ is held up as the only righteous personality will accept. Recognizing His standard, we will see how far short we fall, we will stop making excuses, and we will be forced to reach out and embrace once more His wiring for ours, His personality for ours, His Person for ours.

As we cross each other in that intersection of God changing me and God using me, remembering that the wiring under the hood is still tainted by sin. That means allowing others to point it out and help us change to be like Christ. But be encouraged by the gospel which says that you are traveling towards your final stop where you will be completely and perfectly rewired forever! That is the righteousness of Christ consummated in your glorification. Cherish it and be humble until then!

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