Self-deception is one of the defining features of sin. We convince ourselves that everything is alright, but in reality, we struggle with sin, rebellion, selfishness, disobedience, and failure. Fortunately, God’s Spirit is always working and stirring and healing us at the heart level – we just need to recognize it. When we allow God to shape our character, it draws us closer to Him, which will serve as a firm foundation as we continue our life journey. We begin to discover that when darkness appears in our life, rather than it being a time when we feel more distant from God, it becomes a time of increasing intimacy with God. 

A true season of growth dawns when we recognize that the challenges we face may be spiritual attacks from Satan and the forces of evil. No matter how well we strategize and plan, we find true refreshment only when we wholeheartedly rely on the power of God. 

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” – Romans 12:2

Spiritual growth allows us to better grasp our imperfect human selves and take us into a deeper, ongoing relationship with the God who created us. Randy Reese penned, “God wants to form us into people he can trust. He wants to know that he can rely on us. So consequently, he will prepare us, even lovingly test us, through the different circumstances and events of our lives. He will show us the areas where we may need to grow.” It is amidst the struggles and failures that God often shapes us and draws us closer to Him. During these times, He is refining our character and preparing us for more incredible things. 

David Benner points out, “Christian spirituality involves a transformation of the self that occurs only when God and self are both deeply known.”

The transformative work of God within us must always precede His transformative work through us because our character and person could not hold up to what God wants to give us. The most critical formation in the lives of those who desire to finish faithfully and well is the cultivation of godly character. God is persistently concerned with shaping our lives at the deepest layers of our souls. How is God shaping you?