A Transformed Life

Heredity, environment, and genes are often escape valves explaining certain characters as though the individual isn’t responsible. Some assume that triumphant dictates character and conduct. They are undeniably influences, but they are not irrefutable influences.

One of the most slovenly persons I know of was the embodiment of an unmotivated, feckless, selfish, base, crude, mendacious, vulgar, and profane person. He didn’t provide for his family and put his young children out to earn money for the family. He was a bottom feeder.

Consider his anthesis. He is industrious, creative, has a marvelous work ethic, loving, giving, an ideal family man, a warm gracious Christian with high morals, and a highly successful business man.

The first of these was the father of the second. That apple fell far from the tree. Unlike father is the son.

Reflect on these two.

One is highly motivated, energetic, enthusiastic, optimistic, warm and personable, cheery, a loving mother and devoted wife, given to helping others, a sweet spirited Christian who is a high achiever.

The other is a biological dad who abandoned his family when his child was five years old. For twenty-five years his daughter sought to find him. When she did she made three appointments to see him. He failed to show up two times and came drunk the third time. He moved a lot in order to avoid paying child support. He was the picture or moral and cultural low life.

The first of these is the daughter of the second.

Every person has a temperament. It consists of their inborn traits that subconsciously affects behavior. Some factors are our nationality, race, sex, and other heredity factors passed on through genes.

Our character is a sum total of our childhood training, education, beliefs, and motivations.

All have a personality. It is our outward expression of ourselves.

In summary our temperament is the combination of traits with which we are born.

Our character is our “civilized” temperament.

Our personality is the “face” we show others.

Character is influenced by our temperament, but is not a slave to it. In this arena our will, intellect, and emotions can trump those negatives that may be embedded in our temperament. Our name isn’t Oedipus Rex. We are free moral agents.

The two persons in the success stories noted resolved to learn from their negative experiences. They typify a sort of moral alchemy. Character prevailed over their temperament.

We do a person a disservice if we imply people can’t overcome inherited challenges.

The Bible speaks of being “transformed.”

Moving cars produce a lot of noise but it isn’t heard in the passengers area. I have an acquaintance in Chicago who developed and sold to car manufacturers a miraculous product that when applied to the firewall between the motor and passenger cabin and to the floorboard it converts sound into heat. The product transforms, that is changes, noise into heat.

The Greek word for “transformed” when anglicized is “metamorphosis,” meaning changed. The process is explained as being achieved by renewing of the mind. It is predicated on there being a loving God who enables change. That change can be as radical as being born again. Where did I hear that?

Renew your mind daily by what you read, view, listen to, and meditate on. I commend the reading of the Bible for a higher reason, but if for no reason than it is great literature. Read it daily.

Bernard of Clairvaux on Love (Module 207)

Writing in the Sixteenth Century Bernard of Clairvaux noted four stages of love. Judge yourself and move toward the third and fourth types.



Because love is natural, it is only right to love the Author of nature first of all. Hence the first and greatest commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God.” [Deut. 6:5; Matt 22:37-39] But nature is so frail and weak that it has to love itself first. This kind of love means loving oneself selfishly. As it is written, “The spiritual does not come first. The natural comes first and is followed by the spiritual.” [1 Corinthians 15.46] This is not what we are commanded, but what nature directs: “No one ever hated his own body.” [Eph. 5.29] But if, as is likely, this self-love becomes excessive and sensuous, then a command holds it back: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” [Leviticus 19:18; Matt 22:37-39] And this is right: for he who shares our nature should share our love, which is the fruit of nature. So, if you find it a burden serving to your brother’s pleasures, you should mortify those same pleasures in yourself to avoid sin. Cherish y ourself as tenderly as you want, so long as you remember to show the same indulgence to your neighbor


So, we start by loving God, not for His own sake but ours. It is good for us to know how little we can do by ourselves, and how much we can do with God’s help, and therefore to live rightly before God, our trusty support. But when recurring troubles force us to turn to God for help, even a heart as hard as iron, as cold as marble, would be softened by the goodness of such a Savior, so that we love God not altogether selfishly, but also simply because he is God. If frequent troubles drive us to frequent prayer, surely we will taste and see how gracious the Lord is. [Ps. 34.8] Then, realizing how good he is, we find ourselves drawn to love him unselfishly, even more powerfully than we are drawn by our own needs to love him selfishly.

“Now we love God, not because of our own need, but because we have tasted and seen how gracious the Lord is.”


When will this flesh and blood, this clay pot which is my soul’s tabernacle, reach that place? When will my soul, raptured with divine love and utterly self-forgetting, like a broken vessel, long only for God, and, joined to him, be one spirit with him?

Our whole heart should be centered on him, so that we only ever seek to do his will, not to please ourselves. And real happiness will come, not in gratifying our desires or in transient pleasures, but in accomplishing God’s will for us.

As a bar of iron, heated red-hot, becomes like fire itself, forgetting its own nature; or as the air, radiant with sun-beams, seems not so much to be lit as to be light itself; so for those who love God for God’s sake all human affections melt away by some incredible mutation into the will of God. In this life, we can never fully and perfectly obey the command to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and strength and mind.” [Luke. 10.27]

But it should be our primary objective in life