Compost or Character?

I remember a tense chat I had with my youngest daughter, who at about five years old became angry over some comment I made during dinner.

Image © Erik Stenbakken from

She stalked off, planting herself on the couch with an ugly scowl. I walked over and began to speak to her softly, apologizing for the offense I’d caused, but she stolidly refused to forgive me. I began to speak of God’s forgiveness, reminding her that Jesus had prayed, “Father forgive them.”“Do you think God forgave them?” I asked.

“Yes!” she scowled.

“Do you think God forgives me?”


Kimmy knew her Bible.

“Then why don’t you forgive me?” I asked.

She leaned toward me, her blue eyes in spiteful slits, and hissed, “I’m not God!”

Kids say what they think; we learn to pretend. Pretensions stripped away, we’d echo Kimmy: “I’m not God, so I’m not going to act like Him.” But if we fully embraced God’s purpose for us, we’d sing a different tune. You see, God wasn’t just playing Creator when He made us. He was bringing forth an ingenious solution to a problem of cosmic proportions.

It all began when Lucifer led many of heaven’s angels in a devastating insurgency. War in heaven of all places! Although undefeated in a sense, the conflict left God with a gnawing problem; his reputation was tarnished through Lucifer’s libels. The smoke of battle still hung in heaven’s air when God purposed to make an order of being so much like Him that His own image would beam out of them like Powerpoint. “And God made man in his own image, male and female created He them,” Genesis 1:27.

Probe that “image” concept further, and one sees that God created us to be like Him in character. Character goes beyond behavior. In fact, “thoughts and feelings combined make up moral character” (RH, April 21, 1885). God created us to have an inner life like His own inner life; becoming like Him in character means thinking God’s thoughts and feeling the way God feels. Only then can behaviors consistently demonstrate His loving goodness.

So here we are. The great controversy between good and evil swirls around us, and rarely do we stop to consider the drama behind the veil of temporal life. But we were brought forth for bigger, better and more significant things that to grow up, work, eat, sleep, get married, have sex (hopefully in that order), and then have children who grow up, eat, sleep, get married, etc. all culminating in the slow decline of age, until life itself seeps out of us and our bodies are left to crumble before the onslaught of millions of mindless microorganisms whose sole purpose is to turn us into compost.

What purpose drives you—that of the composting crew or that of the benevolent Sovereign of metagalactic space? He calls you to bear His image, to become so much like Him that He can point to you and say, “Look at her and You’ll see Me.” Align your will to His, make His purpose your own. That’s my advice to you today.

Share Button


Compost or Character? — 5 Comments

  1. I am so happy with the word of the lord. I am a sinner and he died for me. He made me to be a good discple but I have spent my life seeking for Him that before I die I may be rightous.

  2. Hi Jennifer,

    Thank you for this delightful vignette of a very honest little girl. 🙂

    Would that we were that honest!

    We often don't realize that we make the very same decisions not to be "like God." Only we fudge things. We fail to make a full commitment, and we only "sort of" do what we know is right. Since there's no way to be a Christian without a full surrender, we are really no Christians at all in that state of mind. Unless we change, we are heading for "compost."

    The life of a fully committed follower of Christ is never boring. It is charged with adventure, as well as with trials. It forces us to depend wholly on strength from Jesus.

    Just this last weekend, we were in a discussion with a younger member of our extended family, and I was pleased to note that he saw that as Christians, we need to be "counter-cultural." We cannot live by the standards of our culture, because, if we do, we are headed for "compost."

    Living "counter-culturally" is not easy. It makes us stand out. Although the text that refers to God's people as a "peculiar people" (1 Peter 2:9) really means a "special or chosen people," we will at times look quite "peculiar" in the modern sense, just because we live counter to our culture.

    Thanks for calling us to examine whether we are headed for compost, or whether we are building characters for eternity. This should cause us to examine how we are spending our typical days. We need to ask ourselves, "Is this activity (or couch activity) preparing me for compost or character for eternity?"

  3. God's character is eternal and unchanging just like His law, and we who are created in His image may be partakers of the character of God if we adhere to His law, The law of love. Thank you for drawing our minds to contemplate on the true nature of our characters-whether their 'compost' or seeds growing into the beauty of the 'Character of Christ'.

  4. Jennifer, I totally agree with what you are saying, about becoming like God. It reminds me of this quote from Desire of Ages.

    While we may not be like God now, by His grace He is getting us there."The prince of this world cometh," said Jesus, "and hath nothing in Me." John 14:30. There was in Him nothing that responded to Satan's sophistry. He did not consent to sin. Not even by a thought did He yield to temptation. So it may be with us." (Desire of Ages, Page 123)


Please leave a comment long enough to say something significant and considerably shorter than the original post. First and last name required.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.