Keeping track of all the details in life is challenging. How do you track things in your life? Your workload, diet, property care and home chores? What about bill deadlines, healthcare appointments, fun with friends. To stay on top, you need a good tool. Tracking your spiritual development and growth in noble character requires a good tool, too.
Sometimes when you start working with a new resource – like a “quick-reminder device” tool or a “back-hip-pocket reference” tool – you stumble onto something great.
That tool is ACM for spiritual development:
- It’s simple to remember and easy to use.
- It is built on principles that won’t change.
- And it’s free!
ACM is one of those great finds. This tool measures what’s going on inside you, quickly assesses, and helps you immediately slip into noble character.
As a Christian counselor, I have noticed lots of believers struggle to break free from old patterns and launch into new successful patterns. So, I asked God – “how can we help?”
Very early one morning as I was waking, I was connecting with God in prayer. This wake-up pattern has become a great way to start – and end – the day.
As I prayed, I sensed God laying ideas on my heart about this dilemma of people who struggle. Still waking, I remember thinking – “Wow. I better wake up fast and pay attention!” In fact, I got up and started writing. This is when ACM came to be.
What Is ACM?
What is ACM, and how does it work? These are questions I want to answer for you.
I didn’t realize, but ACM had been loosely alive in my heart a long time. I recognized the concepts God shared that morning. Interesting! I’d been using these “check points” and “action steps” for decades. In fact, this information helped me change when I was desperate for it.
ACM is a measurement tool – an acronym for 3 critical components of noble character. Each component helps assess where you are – right now. It’s simple to remember and easy to use. And it’s built on principles that will never change.
The ACM tool brings great results. It’s built on the idea of living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1). “Living sacrifice” doesn’t quickly connect for most of us. It seems like an oxymoron. Yet, it’s the key to succeed with patterns for an Alive and Active Life.
Let’s look at some hand-made visuals and then define things.
A – AGENDA for Noble Character
What do you want more than anything – in every situation as it happens? Agenda is the plan, the desire, the “idea-thing” inside that you must have! Agendas can be good – or not-so-good.
Everyone has an agenda. Many people haven’t identified theirs. They just exist each day as some undefined force inside sort-of steers them. Some would say their agenda is what they live for – a bit like a purpose statement.
Severe sacrifices – and sometimes unhealthy compromises – have sometimes been made for an agenda. People want what they want, and that’s what they go after. But that’s why a tool is helpful – to identify if your agenda is worth the sacrifice.
God created you with agenda as part of His original human design. While millions of people pursue their own agenda in a mixed-up world, a few have discovered this secret. When your agenda lines up with God’s agenda – the plan, desire, “idea thing” starts to make sense as you discover who you are in Christ.
In this discovery, deep satisfaction grows as you are assured of God’s love. Life takes on purpose and joy. It’s an exchange – giving up an incomplete, undefined, broken, self-focused agenda for the original agenda you were created for. It nurtures a life of noble character. Nice exchange!
The good news? You have absolute control over your agenda.
C – CHARACTER for Noble Character
Christ-like character is a measure of what should and shouldn’t be present in your soul. In other words, whatever is not God’s character goes. Whatever you would find in Jesus’ character stays and increases.
As rotten as humanity is, Jesus paid for all ungodly character at His cross. The person who “gets this” is ready to receive character from Christ in every situation because they are grateful for what Jesus has done.
Working at patterns of godly character (and it does involve work) in life scenarios while asking God to change you, helps you step away from old patterns. ACM provides maximum help.
The miracle of Christ’s character becoming your own character is near.
The good news? You have absolute control over your character.
M – MOTIVE for Noble Character
This root – your motive – is under your agenda as your character is practiced. It’s the DNA of your choices. The good news? You have absolute control over your motives. You get to decide what you will or will not do.
There’s a special transformation that takes place in a person who chooses motives that please God. Asking God to transfer His motives into your own heart brings change. It’s like an organ transplant, but at the “root” of your soul.
A root will grow up into what it is. If the root (the motive) is God’s – it will yield a huge harvest in that person. If it has not come from God, it will yield evil patterns.
So, you’ve got a 3-prong, free-moving piece of Agenda-Character-Motive joined by your will, all pinned to the “clock face” of your life. But that’s only 2-dimensional.
Let’s contemplate 3-dimensional. Picture this resource as a sphere with 3-prong hands that twirl in every direction at the center, touching every point in the sphere of your life as it spins.
Using the 3-prong arrow concepts – Agenda, Character, and Motive – becomes a simple, meaningful way of “checking up on yourself.” This arrow spins in a large circle – your life – your “Servant Sphere.”
If you picture the hands of a clock (hour hand, minute hand, and second hand) that have landed exactly at 12 – 4 – 8, this is what the 3-prong arrow looks like – almost! And they are joined in the center as part of each other. That central “join” is where your will exists. It’s your decision center where you maneuver to make life choices.
Directly over that joint is the cross. When you superimpose the cross of Jesus (your choice) over your own personal will, you connect your Agenda, Character, and Motives. As a result, you are transformed day by day.
It’s a real-time, revolving-spinning, “quick check” that helps you know what to correct to get out of an old pattern of bondage and into a new fresh pattern of freedom.
Absence of Feelings
Have you noticed the absence of feelings in our discussion so far? There’s been no mention of them. Does that mean your feelings aren’t important? Of course not! It means to have a balanced Alive and Active Life, a person needs to be whole with or without feelings that are pleasing or comforting.
Think about it. Life is filled with so much difficulty and sorrow. No one escapes it. Troubles fill up each day. How sad for the person who tries to address hardships of their life based only on their feelings.
It’s better to go with what is real, what will prevail, and what should be done. Feelings will come along – eventually. It’s like the dog illustration I’ve used in a number of publications. (terrible drawing – but it works!)
People who live by feelings “serve” those feelings in their Servant Sphere. However, when you rise up, despite feelings, and do the right, admirable thing – you learn to healthily manage feelings and “serve” God with noble character through Living Sacrifice.
On our dog, notice Faith is the head where you make decisions about your Agenda, Character, and Motives. The body is Follow Through where you carry out your decisions. And wagging back and forth is the tail of Feelings. They eventually follow along.
God cares about you, including your feelings. God designed humanity to function with feelings as indicator lights to help know what’s going on . . . then decide what to do. In this healthier place, feelings can be deeply appreciated – and even enjoyed.
Think of world heroes – people who did what needed to be done, despite their own personal feelings. They often saved situations. The satisfaction of accomplishing good, despite feelings, is something many people never experience.
Heroes change things despite how they feel.
- How do you track your personal development and accomplishments?
- Does your tool assess where you are and lay a plan/path for next steps?
- Is your tool simple to use, easy to remember, and free?
- Do you spend a few moments each day to identify your Agenda?
- What Character do you need to work on to be more like Jesus?
- Have you examined your Motives as you think, speak, and do?
- Why not be a hero with noble character, regardless of your feelings?
Remember the good news. You have absolute control over your Agenda, Character, and Motives. You can change. God will help you. Phil. 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
Because you need encouragement, and hope each day, why not enjoy these articles/episodes from our recent “Faith Series?”
- Ever Run Out Of Heroes?
- Faith Jump
- Fresh Faith For You
- Grow Up In Faith – 4 Tips
- Faith and Family
- Who Can You Trust These Days?
- True Story Of Faith
Visit our website for devotional materials, articles, podcasts, and resources to help grow your faith in God. Pursue noble character and have an Alive and Active Life.