– Is “Character Building” something a Christian should look into?
– Is it important to grow in moral character?
– What does it mean to be a Christian?
The word “Character” is not really mentioned in the Scriptures, but if you do a word study of “Glory” and “Name”, you will find that these words sometimes refer to Character, especially the word Glory. This is very interesting!
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 (KJV)2 Corinthians 3:18 (KJV)
Reading 2 Corinthians, we understand we are to grow in character (glory), in a Christ-like manner.
In God’s image (character) we were created but sin entered into mankind through the fall of Adam. Paul writes how the spirit and flesh are in constant battle with each other. (Gal 5:16-17)
Know this, what Jesus came to accomplish, that the plan of Salvation was a twofold mission:
1. Reveal GOD’S CHARACTER – to men
2. Restore GOD’S CHARACTER – in men
What is the most important work for a Christian?
Many would answer; “Soul-winning.” Or “Sharing our faith,” that’s the most important work.
But is that really the most important work?
Question: Can we be successful soul-winners if we are not Christ-like in character? Can we?
Isn’t that which makes us effective soul-winners mostly if we are being patient, unselfish, loving and lovable Christians?
How does Paul put it? “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels but have no love, I am a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.” (1 Cor 13:1)
Please know, that we might be able to argue someone into the corner on all fundamental requirements in the Bible, but please know that, that which truly brings people into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, is not so much convincing the mind as it is capturing the heart. Yes, the mind needs to be convinced regarding the truth but the heart has to be captured by Him, who is the Truth. Amen?
Only then, is the will, the governing power, the power of choice, conquered by the Lord of Love, and that leads to genuine conversion, with the help and assistance of the Holy Spirit.
To bring someone into that kind of an experience, we need to be able to do more than just pray, baptize and convince them that we have the truth.
We have to let Him, Jesus who is the Truth, to love them through us.
(Personally I often ask God to help me see other people through His eyes of loving kindness.)
That’s precisely why there is an even more important work than soul-winning. Precisely because it is an essential prerequisite to effective soul-winning.
Character building is the most important work ever entrusted to human beings; and never before was its diligent study so important as now.
Why is character so important, especially today?
There is basicly two main reasons:
1. Jesus is coming back soon
Jesus warns us not to be asleep, not to be like the five foolish Virgins. Remember that the door to the Ark was shut by God, seven days before the Flood!
What I want to bring up here, is that it takes time to develop a Christ-like character. It’s nothing that happens overnight. To built a relationship with the Lord is a lifelong task. Be aware our Lord Jesus knows you Before He returns!
2. This generation is corrupted like never before
Like the days of Noah and of Sodom and Gomorrah; morality and ethics have drastically changed in less than 50 or less years. Just look how we raise up our children nowadays! For example, many of us has been exposed to sin like porngraphy and we don’t have the same respect for God and His commandments like previous generations.
The successful accomplishment of both of those tasks depends upon the very same thing, and what is that? Answer; the development of a Christ-like character. Why? Because we can be neither effective witnesses for the King nor fit citizens for the Kingdom, unless we have a Christ-like character. Basically we have two legs that are equally important to each other; Effective Witnesses & Fit Citizens, we can’t walk or function as a church without the other.
Why is it so important to start asap to do a study of Character Building, to understand it’s importance, how to implement it into our daily lives (and to cut off distractions)? Because the King is coming soon and because it takes time – it takes time to develop a Christ-like character!
How can I change and become more Christ-like, you might ask? Well, let me tell you a secret and mystery to many, as well as a misunderstanding. I believe the Sanctification process is an area many Christians are not fully familiar with, and how it works. You might know that the Holy Spirit is Power. Unfortunately some Christians see the Holy Spirit merely as a power that shows up when they pray or worship. As a sign they are still saved and under God’s Grace. Or they ask the Spirit, who gives you gifts, to receive power like speaking in tongues, prophecy, teaching.
I believe this is a shallow understanding why God is sending us His Spirit.
You see, Spirit is an attribute.
There are different kinds of spirits, like spirit of anger, of unforgiveness, of impatience etc.
The Holy Spirit compared to other spirits, is God’s character. And God wants to dwell in us, in our hearts, where are thoughts originate from, to help us grow in character and become more like Him, more Holy, and in His image (compared to the image, mark, imprint of the Beast).
Jesus told us to send us a Helper (and a Comforter and a Teacher).
The Holy Spirit will light up every hidden area in our lives, where we still act or think wrong (unrighteous), or to remind us when we speak unjustly.
Why? Most importantly so we can become more Christ-like.
That is the main reason we have God’s Spirit and His Character living in us. Second it’s to empower us to be effective witnesses.
We need to have a cooperation with the Holy Spirit to become more Holy and Christ-like. When we start to Walk with Jesus (the Way) we will start to know the Truth to the point of experiencing its liberating, sanctifying power (Life). [John 14:16]
Three steps involvedLet me just give you three steps involved. They’re very important. To know the truth to the point of experiencing its liberating, sanctifying power in the life you must;
1: grasp it with the intellect and give intellectual assent to the truth. (For example believe everything in the Bible and that Jesus is who he was said to be)
2: we must embrace this truth with the affections. In other words, we must come to love the truth, to appreciate the truth, to value the truth, to count it the most precious thing in our lives; to recognize, that it is the pearl of great price.
Right here is where we have to have supernatural help. And that is why we need to have the Holy Spirit by being “Born Again” in the Spirit. Remember, “Spiritual Things … are Spiritually Discerned” (1 Cor 2:13, 14) and God is Spirit.
This is found in 1 Corinthians 2:13-14: “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”
Paul is warning us here; “…the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are,” what? “spiritually discerned.”
Now, the natural man is all of us. That’s human nature without Divine help, that’s the natural man, that’s our condition; and please notice, to the natural man the things of God are foolishness. Why?
Because they are only spiritually discerned. Now that word, “discerned”, in the Greek is an interesting term, it not only means “rightly understood” but it, more particularly, means “rightly valued,” “rightly appreciated.”
Understand this, it takes the power of the Holy Spirit, not only to make it possible for us, to understand with the intellect the truth; but it takes the power of the Holy Spirit for us, to rightly value the truth, and appreciate it with our hearts, and choose to apply it to our lives.
Without the help of the Holy Spirit, we cannot possibly experience the liberating, sanctifying power of the truth.
The third step that we must take, if we are going to know the truth to the point of experiencing its liberating, sanctifying power in our lives, we must submit to the truth with the will.
3. We must submit our will.
We must yield to the truth, we must obey the truth. We must choose to live our lives in harmony with the claims of Him, who is the Truth. When take that decision, when we do that, my dear friends, but, not until then, when we do that, we will experience its liberating, sanctifying power in the life.
And then we can bear much fruit through a Christ-like character!
“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge (personal relationship) of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that [pertain] to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption [that is] in the world through lust.
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. (Taking steps into Christ-like character!)
For if these things are yours and abound, [you] will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:2-8 (NKJV)