Character

Have you ever wondered if your behavior caused another to stumble. It doesn’t mean that you have to have bad behavior, but behavior that does not glorify God, or praises the name of Jesus when you have opportunity. There is a certain character that develops in the believer, and that character is set apart in all circumstances. Let me give you an example of the Apostle Paul, when he wrote the Church at Corinth: “We give no opportunity for stumbling in anyone, so that the ministry will not be blamed. But as God’s ministers, we commend ourselves in everything: by great endurance, by afflictions, by hardship, by difficulties, by beatings, by imprisonments, by riots, by labors, by sleepless nights, by times of hunger, by purity, by knowledge, by patience, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the message of truth, by the power of God; through weapons of righteousness on the right hand and the left, through glory and dishonor, through slander and good report; as deceivers yet true; as unknown yet recognized; as dying and look – we live; as being disciplined yet not killed; as grieving yet always rejoicing; as poor yet enriching many; as having nothing yet possessing everything.” 2 Corinthians 3-10 This morning, I slowly read all these character attributes of the believer, and wonder what my character is? Can I endure through times of affliction, hardships, and difficulties. I know I have never been beaten because of my faith, but could I be and not try to defend myself? Did Paul ever defend himself? Did he fight to the finish? Was his character that of the weak or the strong? Are we not told that when we are weak, then we are strong? Do we use weapons of the earth, or the weapons of faith and righteousness? If we are dishonored, will we still honor Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith? Will we be called deceivers, but know in our hearts that He who lives in us is true? Are we continuing to die on the outside but live on the inside. Are we disciplined in the ways of faith, not warfare? Will we enrich others at the expense of ourselves? Will we think of ourselves as rich, even if we have nothing? All questions that deserve an answer within each of us. I don’t know if any of us will ever find ourselves in a position that brings hardship and beatings and imprisonments because of the faith, but let’s not look to the things that can hardly happen to us, and think to ourselves that we would always be strong, while we break all the rest of the attributes that we face daily. If we say we are ready to give our lives for the cause of Christ, but will not give a coat to one in the cold, what does that say about our character? If we compromise on our faith by “wanting to fit in”, but then keep those of the faith at arms length, what does that say about our character? If we will willingly give to each other, but pass the stranger in need along the street, what does that say about our character? When I write this, I’m not thinking of what I can tell you, but what the Lord puts on my heart. This might be just for me, but I kind of doubt that. But it does hit home to me, and reminds me that oftentimes, I will fail to be the character of the Christian, because there are so many who want to take advantage of a kind and compassionate person, and I don’t want to be taken advantage of. I use the excuse that the other person just wants to get something for nothing, but am I the one who determines the quality of my character? Is not the character of the Christian one that is molded directly into the heart of Jesus. Isn’t he/she the light of Christ to the lost, to the poor, to the hungry? Aren’t we to be without judgment of whether the other person is worthy of our benevolence? What does that say about our character? I think I need to spend some time on my knees before the Lord today, and everyday, until I get those things that may not be the character I want to portray out of me and replaced with the character of Christ. Let’s pray for each other that we will develop and have the character of the believer, not the character of the world. Now might be a good time to start that! Pastor Andy

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