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Developing Christ’s Character

By Richard Goff
May 24, 2014

God’s desire for us is that we live a life holy and pleasing unto Him. What is a Holy Life? Holiness is hating what God hates, loving what He loves and measuring everything in the world by the standard of His Word. The endeavor of our life should be to shun every known sin and to keep every known commandment. A Holy person will have a heavy desire to do God’s will, to strive to be like our Lord Jesus Christ. He will not only live the life of faith in Him and draw from Him all His daily peace and strength, but also labor to have that mind that was in Him! (Philippians 2:5)

Our aim should always be to forbear with and forgive others – to be unselfish – to walk in love – to be lowly minded and humble, to follow after meekness, long-suffering, gentleness, patience, kindness, and to control the tongue. To live a life of charity and loving kindness, always endeavoring to observe the golden rule of doing unto others as we would have them do unto us.

The Apostle James was very concerned about professing Christians whose lives have presumably been changed by the Holy Spirit of God, but from whose mouths come bitter, angry words. “But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who have been made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth comes both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water?” James 3:8-11

To bless is to speak well of someone. Unfortunately Christians do not always speak well of or speak well to other believers. In fact, we may even curse them. James is using the word curse to include words that cause other people harm, whether we wish them to or not. This would involve any destructive words, such as angry, critical, cutting, accusing, belittling or gossiping words. They cause harm! It grieves God when we participate in gossip, slander, backbiting, tale bearing and rumor mongering either as the one who does it or the one who listens to it.

A Holy Person’s motivating aim, passion and desire is to please God, both by what he does and by what he avoids doing. In other words we must strive to practice good works and cut out all evil works. Our goal is to be conformed into the image of our Lord Jesus Christ. We must lay to heart the saying of the Apostle John. “He that abides in Christ, ought himself also so to walk even as he walked.” I John 2:6

We must hate all sin, especially lying, slandering, backbiting, cheating, dishonesty and unfair dealings even in the least things. These are Satan’s favorite tools for destroying love and unity in personal lives, families and churches. Let us all strive to follow after humility. To desire lowliness of mind, as we esteem others better than ourselves. Examine your own life by the holy standard of God’s Word! Don’t worry about what others are doing; God is going to hold you and me accountable for our own words, thoughts and actions, not those of others. May we all strive to be the best husbands, wives, parents, children, neighbors, friends, workers we can possibly be. Especially in how we speak to and treat each other.

Brethren, those who claim to be a part of the church of Jesus Christ, must be changing and developing Christ like character and must be growing in their faith and love. We must get back to the spiritual basics. Get our eyes off the petty disagreements and non-essentials in life and focus our attention upon Jesus- the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). It is in His presence we will find fullness of joy and peace as Psalm 16:11 tells us. He is to be the vine that gives us our strength and development in Godliness and Holy Living. The following verses in Colossians 2:6-7 make it very clear what our responsibility is and where our efforts should be concentrated as we live on this earth. “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith.”

In Psalm 37: 1-9,34,39-40 we hear our Father in Heaven speaking to each of us words of great promise and encouragement. Vs. 1-9: “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.” Vs. 34: “Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shall see it.” Vs. 39,40: “But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.”

It is imperative that we begin to trust in the Lord with all our Hearts and claim these promises! Not simply talk about it but put our Faith into action! The Apostle Peter talks about Faith being put into action in II Peter 1:5 where he says, “We are to give all diligence, and add to our faith.” He then lists many attributes of Godly character that must be developed in our lives through our faith or it is not real. We should be making every effort to supplement our faith with Christian graces like virtue, patience and brotherly kindness. The ideal of Christian character which Peter depicts for us has Faith as its root and love as the fruit. In between are the qualities of Godly Character and Integrity which must abound in our lives if we are to be fruitful in our Christian walk and be constantly growing in our knowledge of our Savior. Great statesman Henry Clay said that “Of all the properties which belong to honorable men, not one is as highly prized as that of Character.” The Godly character we exhibit is displayed in everything we do especially in how we treat others! The following poems offer an interesting perspective on how our Faith and Character are on display in our everyday actions.

WALK IN LOVE
To walk in love with saints above
Will be a wondrous glory.
To work below with saints we know –
WELL, THAT’S ANOTHER STORY!

NO SENSE IN PRETENSE
You tell what you are by the friends you seek,
By the manner in which you speak.
By the way you employ your leisure time,
By the use you make of dollar and dime.
You tell what you are by the things you wear,
By the spirit in which you burdens bear,
By the kind of thing at which you laugh,
By records you play on the phonograph.
You tell what you are by the way you walk,
By the things of which you delight to talk,
By the manner in which you bear defeat,
By so simple a thing as how you eat.
By the books you choose from the well-filled shelf;
In these ways and more, you tell on yourself.
So there’s really no particle of sense
In any effort at pretense.
-Author Unknown

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