By Rosemary Flaaten –
I love learning new words, especially when they have fifteen letters in them. I recently heard the word “characterology”. I immediately was drawn to understand its true meaning. “Ology” refers to the study of something and “character” could be described as the combination of features and traits that form our individual nature. So, characterology is taking a good hard look at who we truly are, especially when no one else is around or watching us.
This resounds with the psalmist David who cried out to God to study his character. “Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV).
One of the Holy Spirit’s roles is to illuminate sin in our lives. Sure we’d rather call them character flaws, but things like pride, envy, and deception are not just imperfections, they are sins. Like Adam and Eve, we will try to hide our sin from God, others and even ourselves. I often make the study of my character as superficial as possible. I skim over actions and attitudes that fall outside of God’s desires for my life, choosing to slough over them rather than confess and change them. I cheapen God’s grace by ignoring the repentance to which He calls me.
All too often the study of my character is at a third grade level rather than a more advanced level of spiritual maturity. The hard work of characterology, involving true study, will bring about maturity and transformation. Being a student of the character of Jesus will help me become more astute at discerning and responding to the Holy Spirit’s revelations of the offensive ways in me.
Characterology is more than a big word. It is an advanced class in spiritual formation into which we can to delve wholeheartedly with God’s guidance.
PRAYER: Lord, I ask for courage to delve into the study of my character. Thank You for Your love and grace in the midst of my mess.
BIBLE VERSE: “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” (Psalms 51:6 NIV)