Brett braced himself and punched in the number to the car repair shop to inquire about the cost of repairs on his only six-year-old Subaru Baja.  They calmly delivered the bad news: $4000 just for the parts.  He is finally done with his car.  We have put more money in repairs in the six years we have had it than we have spent on repairing my Rav4 in the 15 years I have been driving it.  Less than a year ago we poured over a thousand dollars in repairs into it and decided to use the logic that eventually it would have all new parts and would quit breaking down.  Besides Brett felt bad about selling a worthless car to an unsuspecting buyer.

Today we discussed sprucing up the Rav a little.  After five years in the Las Vegas sun the paint has seriously faded on the hood and roof.  Besides a new coat of paint it needs a new set of spark plugs and it could use some new wheels since after 15 years they have begun to show their age with some rust.  Brett doesn’t mind putting some money into the Rav, but he is miffed about all the money down the drain on a car that was just paid off a year ago.

I told him that this is a great character building experience.  He agreed that it was, but in a slightly grumpy voice said, “But, I don’t want to have this character building experience.”  I know exactly how he feels.  I just had a character building experience at the mall Thursday evening.  I found a pair of winter gloves that actually fit my small hands and since they were marked down to half off I decided to buy them.  I walked up to the counter where the sales girl proceeded to ignore me while she played around with the cash register.  I’m relatively patient so I stood there and waited while holding onto my gloves.  A man who also had a pair of gloves he wanted to purchase walked up behind me.  Apparently he got tired of waiting and tossed his gloves past me onto the counter, no doubt hoping the sales clerk would just automatically pick them up and ring them up thinking they were mine.  Needless to say my patience disappeared in an instant.  I’d rather not admit that I walked off and left the gloves I wanted to buy at the store.  I didn’t say anything because I couldn’t at that moment say something without being rude.

I don’t doubt that God will provide as many character building opportunities as I need til I finally get it right.  At which point in time He will just start working on smoothing out another character flaw.  1 Corinthians tells us to take every thought captive so that it is obedient to Christ.  I know that I can change my thought patterns because I have done so in the past.  If I’m thinking a thought I know I shouldn’t be I make a plan to think something else immediately.  Eventually after a few months the new thought has taken over and the old thought has disappeared.  But, from personal experience to take every single un-Christlike thought captive and immediately become obedient certainly seems like an impossibility.  But, the Bible tells us that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to resist.  If we practice staying in His presence He will provide us with a peace which transcends all understanding and it will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 4:7)

I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps. Jeremiah 10:23

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.Romans 12:1,2

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  Romans 5:1-5

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