In Southern California this is a rare and rich find! The reason for the great price was because its foundation was cracked. It did not seem to be a big deal; after all, it could just be filled in with some kind of cement, I thought. But, a builder friend of mine explained to me how essential it was to have the foundation completely intact.
So, reluctantly, with a lot of pouting and moping, I had to pass up this great deal. I then realized how this is like character. We desire to go and find the easy way out of the hard and time-consuming things of life to get to the point of our day or quest. This happens even in ministry. Even if it cuts the corners off Character, we strive to shortcut our way though spiritual growth and serving God.
A few months later, I drove by that house and talked to the new owner who was quite beside himself in frustration. It seems he was having a lot of problems with water leaking into his house all of the time, even when it was not raining. It will cost him more to fix the house's foundation then it would be to tear it down and rebuild. He ended up with a very raw deal that I almost got my family into.
I realized through this that skipping character for convenience may seem OK at the time, but it will catch up with you. So, let us look at God's Word and find out what character really is and why it is important. In 1 Samuel 25, there is a story of a little known OT personality with great character; a woman named Abigail. This was during the time that David was running from Saul. Passionate jealousy and paranoia drove Saul to pursue and kill David, while popularity and integrity followed David who, although he had many opportunities to kill Saul, chose out of character and respect to let him go.
Saul lived in a palace of stone and pride, and David in a cave of dampness and humility, hanging out with the outcasts of the land and his mighty men. During this time, David and his men were doing a security service to the sheep ranchers, saving others sheep from poachers and rustlers. David fulfilled way beyond his duty by protecting what was not his.
Then, one of the ranchers who was very rich and had power and authority over the others convinced the ranchers not to pay David and his men. His name was Nabal, which means "a fool! What parent would give their child such a name? It probably did not mean that then, but over the years, the meaning changed due to Nabal's actions.
What a legacy to leave behind to be so self-willed and prideful that the meaning of your name changes to describe whom you are--in this case, a fool. How sad and ironic that he came from the house of Caleb who was one of the great men of integrity of the Bible, one of two people to survive the Exodus and venture into the Promise land due to his honor and trustworthiness. Nabal came from this house and family lineage, which was founded upon this great integrity and character, faith and strength, which somehow escaped Nabal.
When Nabal decided to cheat David, he ventured upon a dark path of greed that he thought could be lit from his pride. He thought, what could David do , and then decided to cheat him. David, who had just about had it with Nabal's deceit, saddled up his men and all drew their swords to kill him. Maybe David was not being what he should be, but Nabal "dug his own grave.enter
She was a woman who had great character and discernment. She was the wife of Nabal, who owed David financial compensation for saving his sheep and servants from harm.
She was able to turn the payback of the evil of her husband into good. Abigail was the complete opposite of her husband! David was going to repay Nabal's evil for more evil, even though David let Saul go in the previous chapter for a much more grievous sin. Yet, Nabal, for some reason, really pushed David's buttons and exasperated his anger. Abigail's intervention soothed that anger. Thus, David was able to grow stronger in his character development by doing good, even in his anger, and even though he was wronged and cheated.
David could have murdered Nabal, suffered consequence for it, and perhaps even forsaking his future kingship. The levelheaded action of Abigail saved the day for him and provided a prime example for David, as well as for us today. We have a choice to act in evil or goodness; to act with our sinful motives or with what God calls us to, which is far better that we can see in the moment.
Let us choose being even better. Who we are will determine what we do. The result will be character. Our growth in Him will make us who we are, which will be the character we present to God and others. This action of Abigail is a prime example for us that character from the Word and the example of our living Lord is the ultimate force we have for good outside of the Spirit Himself.
Character lays the foundation of what is right and what is truth in action Prov. In the gospel and letters of John, who was directly inspired by God, we are told clearly and without equivocation how we are to behave as a follower of Christ. From the Gospel's example of Christ Himself to the deep comfort of our relationship in Him in John 15, if a person's behavior contradicts what the Word says, he is a just a pretender. In his Epistles, John says if we declare Christ as Lord, have a relationship with Him, but still walk in the darkness of disobedience, how can we be Christian?
For example, claiming Jesus as Lord, and then rejecting His deity, would be a direct contradiction 1 John 2: Inspired by the Spirit, John tells us that we would be liars. If we decide to love our Lord and hate our fellow Christian, this would also be a direct contradiction, a lie. The three "black lies" of John's Epistle are the moral, doctrinal, and social problems John faced during his ministry. He realized that if they are not followed in truth and obedience, they are in opposition of the Christian faith.
Therefore, the Christian would be a liar! We may claim that we are a Christian because we grew up in or go to a church, we made a decision at a crusade, or because our parents are Christian, but when we continue in sin, deny who Christ is, or continue in behavior contrary to Scripture, we are, as John calls it, a liar.
- Business Hours.
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- A Way of Being.
- Flagship Marketing: Concepts and places (Routledge Advances in Management and Business Studies)?
Only by what Christ has done for us and by allowing our relationship in Him produce the characters of holiness, faith and love in us, can we prove the claim we have in God and not be liars. Character comes out from a life that is hurried, stressed, overwhelmed, and yet where promises are made and deadlines are met.
What is Christian Character?
It is a computation of who we are in those stressed moments. Character is not just something we put into our lives, but it is what comes out of our lives in those hurried times. It is beyond a system of values or virtue we learn from our parents, or even at church. Character is who you are to God Himself and those around you. It is the real you! The church and parents must teach it, but they cannot insure its function. That is the responsibility of our choice, a determination we make ourselves, a stand in stress that we continue to uphold. The pastor must preach it, the parents sculpt it, the church encourage and model it through the precepts of the Word!
We as a community of Christians show the world the way of God's truth by modeling His character. What comes from the Christian and the church will be the image of God the community will see, the model of character they perceive God to be. It shows to a deprived society, one that is confused, and searching for spiritual truth wherever they can find it, that truth in you! Character is aligning our lives so our behaviors are Christ-like. It is the fruit that the vine of our abiding in Christ will produce. Thus, we look to the life of our Lord as our prime example.
We seek not so much what Jesus would do, but what would Jesus have me do! This alignment is what produces "the fruit of the Spirit," that we find in Paul's letter to the Galatians: Obviously, we cannot re-enact His character with any kind of perfection. However, we can try our best by the power He gives us. The fact that our Lord was also fully human and lived a life of perfection should give us hope and encouragement of what is possible. These all work together to allow us to shine for His glory. Just like the facets of a diamond, with only one or a few you will not see its depth, splendor, and beauty.
Let us be diamonds that shine; that are cut to His purpose and call and not rough and hidden. Remember, real genuine Christian character is shaped when you surrender to the Lordship of Christ. We are to allow His piercing and continual work to grow and enrich you, so that the Holy Spirit can flow. We are called to have lifestyle, character, outlook on life, and behavior that is about living honorably!
Who and how we are make up the things we bring with us into eternity that will echo and resound, so let our actions be worthy of His praise. In this way, we can be the windows through which people can see Christ. Building and developing character is not something we just learn from a book or hear from a sermon. It does not come upon us in the night, or sneak up in the day. Some of you think 35 is ancient, but in that culture age was more highly regarded than in ours.
But Paul also wrote it for Timothy. As James 3 tells us, the tongue can be an instrument for great evil or great good, depending upon whether it is under the control of the flesh or of the Spirit. Instead a godly person will use words to build up others and show them grace: So often, even in Christian homes, family members rip into one another with rotten words and never confess their sinful speech and ask forgiveness.
Several years ago Marla and I were at a pastoral couples conference. We had just checked into our room when we could hear through the door into the adjoining room a couple exchanging barbed attacks on each other. This was a pastor and his wife, but they sounded like the kind of destructive speech you hear on the worst TV sitcoms!
The man was disqualified for ministry because he was not using godly speech toward his wife. Walking with the Lord Jesus means bringing your speech under His lordship and judging yourself when you sin with your words. In modern parlance, your lifestyle. This points to your behavior which should testify to your commitment to Jesus Christ.
Honesty, integrity, how you spend your time and money, your priorities, your attitude toward possessions, your personal appearance, the way you maintain your home, the way you treat people—all of these factors should add up to show that Christ is Lord of your life.
This focuses on your relationships.
What is Christian Character?
Biblical love is not a gushy feeling, but rather a self-sacrificing, caring commitment which shows itself in seeking the highest good of the one loved. Paul spells out the qualities of love in 1 Corinthians Each of us should frequently evaluate our conduct toward others, especially in our homes, by that list. This could point to faithfulness or reliability, a fruit of the Spirit.
Or, it could point to the faith we are to have toward God. We call ourselves believers, and yet all too often we are not believing believers! But in order to carry on any significant ministry, we must be men and women of faith. We have leaned upon God in our own trials and have proved Him to be faithful. So we can ask and trust God to work in the lives of those to whom we minister. This means moral purity, not just outwardly, but in the thought life. Sexual immorality always begins in the mind. As soon as a wrong thought pops into your mind, you confess it and turn from it.
A survey of American pastors revealed that 20 percent view pornographic material at least once a month Leadership [Winter, ], p. I believe that a man who yields to viewing pornography at least once a month should not be in leadership until he gains victory. Purity in thought and deed is essential for ministry. Thus your walk with Christ is the necessary basis of any work you do for Christ. Since the Lord wants every member of His body to function in serving Him, pay attention to your walk.
But you do need to be growing in each area, bringing every aspect of your life into submission to the lordship of Christ. Then, as you relate to others, you slop over what you have of Christ to them; you are ministering. It requires attention and work as well:. Note the importance of the ministry of the Word in the church assembly: Paul exhorts Timothy not to neglect his gift 4: There is much more that could be said, but I want to point out five things concerning spiritual gifts:.
You have not been left out. God has gifted you to serve Him. Normally, believers receive a spiritual gift at conversion. Of course God can bestow other gifts subsequent to salvation as He deems necessary to equip a person for a specific ministry. So they laid hands on Timothy, prayed for him, and he received the gift of teaching for his task see 2 Tim.
God does not normally reveal your gift supernaturally. As you grow in Christ and get involved in serving Him, other believers begin to confirm your gift. Even though Timothy received his gift in a rather dramatic fashion, he had to work at developing it. Note the words Paul uses to exhort Timothy to exercise and develop his gift 4: The fire was dying out.
The spiritual muscle can atrophy from non-use. You must make a commitment to fulfill the ministry God has given you: As you do certain things, you will narrow down your field of interest and ability until you discover your area of gift. Then concentrate primarily on your area of gift, while remembering that every Christian is responsible to serve in most areas. But you focus in your area of gift. You work hard to develop your ministry skills in that area.
A common mistake many pastors make, especially as a church grows, is neglecting the ministry of the Word. They start doing everything else, or often become more like the manager of a company, and the teaching ministry suffers.
- The Forgotten Locket (Hourglass Door Trilogy).
- Sermons From James - Three Kinds Of Faith ();
- Ephesians - Executable Outline - Study Resources.
- The Cop and the... Vol. 1.
- Revelation in Seven Weeks: A Bible Study.
- Roy Gingrich’s Commentaries in Outline Form ( vols.) - Logos Bible Software;
As I emphasized already, giftedness must be accompanied by godliness. Timothy was a timid fellow. Perhaps he was threatened by the older Ephesian elders. Maybe he felt inadequate ministering in the shadow of a man like Paul. Maybe he was afraid of people. It refers to an order passed down a military chain of command.
Perhaps this especially applies to the gift of teaching. It confronts sin and selfishness.
Roy Gingrich’s Commentaries in Outline Form (100 vols.)
Hugh Latimer, who later was martyred by Bloody Mary used to say to himself before he preached at the royal court: Be careful what thou sayest. But Latimer, Latimer, remember thou art also about to speak before the King of kings and Lord of lords. Take heed thou dost not displease Him. But it also applies to every spiritual gift when the person is growing in godliness.
We should never do it with arrogance or confidence in ourselves. But the point is, God wants to use you to impart something of Christ to others. Paul obviously is not talking about being saved by works. We are saved by grace through faith apart from works Eph. But there is also a future aspect to salvation. Those who are saved will persevere and they will influence others to be saved as well. This may apply more to those with gifts of teaching or evangelism, but it also applies to someone with the gift of helps or giving or showing mercy.
As you grow in godliness and exercise your gift faithfully as unto the Lord, He will use you in the eternal salvation of lost people.
Related The Walk of a Christian (The Bible in Outline Form)
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