Essence of Christian Character
Essence of Christian Character | March 27, 2010 | Order Info
Scripture: Matthew 6:33, John 15:8, Romans 3:20-26, 14:17, 1 Timothy 6:11, 1 John 2:15.
News throughout America has been saturated this past week in the plethora of issues related to the House vote on the Health Care Reform Bill. There has been plenty of arm-twisting, protests, derogatory name calling, phone calls to undecided people as well as plenty of pro vs. con talk-show banter.
Late this past Sunday, the House passed the much talked about Bill. What that means next is unknown to most citizens. Those familiar with the contents of the Bill have suggested that when the citizens see how it works they will like it.
Rather than coming up with ways to fix everyone when they become ill, this quarter we have been exploring elements that have the potential of keeping us well. Just picture a church, home, or school where each member is known for their love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control, righteousness and truth! When connected to the Holy Spirit these character traits create another prescription for good health.
In our final lesson of the quarter this week, additional traits of character mentioned throughout Scripture were added to the list: respect, reverence, hope, virtue, knowledge, and love. Imagine a world where people do not envy others, are not self-centered, aren’t rude, don’t fly off the handle in anger, don’t keep score of the sins of others but trust God always.
Shouldn’t followers of Jesus exhibit the majority of these character traits? The Bible tells us that God is looking for a people who desire to be “transformed into his likeness” (2 Corinthians 3:18). All at once? No. Having every fruit of the Spirit by age 18? Probably not. Reflecting the character of Jesus is a work of our life-time here on earth. According to one author “character formed according to the divine likeness is the only treasure that we can take from this world to the next”. 1
Author Gavin Anthony paints this word picture for us in his book the Refiner’s Fire: “It’s the time just before the Second Coming. All heaven has assembled at the command of the Father, and the whole universe watches on.
Jesus stands next to the Father, surrounded by a multitude of angels. Way off in the distance Satan is about to hear the words he has feared the most. The Father turns to the Son and points…Look, there is a community of people who reflect My character. Now is the time to bring them home.” 2
We are not to become discouraged if we don’t feel we measure up. Nor are we to see the fruits of the Spirit as a check list we must strive to obtain on our own. It is only as we allow the Holy Spirit to work within us that we can overcome our natural tendencies.
When we see how it works, no doubt we will like it.