Wherein not how we are to act, nor what our behavior should be, whether in private or public, but what our true nature should be at all times.
These character traits we will examine cannot be learned or earned, they can’t be taught or purchased, you cannot study to attain them, and in all honesty, this series can only show you through the Word of God, what type of integrity a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ should have. True Christian character can only be given by God and lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is no more in us to have the character of Christ than is the ability to make ourselves taller, younger or wiser; (another gift from our Lord that is unobtainable without His mercy and grace.) By much prayer and supplication, by humble obedience to the Holy Spirit, by a desire to serve others in great humility for the Glory of God alone will the believer have the mind of Christ, the character of Jesus, the integrity that our Lord portrayed.
We will never completely attain to this in the flesh, no matter how great our desire to do so may be, (Phil. 3:12-14); but when we see Him, we will be like Him. (1st John 3:2) This many part study, by God’s blessings, will help you to “grow in the grace of our Lord”, to always esteem others higher than ourselves, and to “exalt the name of God above the heavens”.
I pray that He will reveal Himself to you in these matters.
Love. Love, first and foremost. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”; “For God so loved the world”; I will not burden you, as it were, though the Word of God is never a burden, with verse after verse that touch’s on the incredible love of our Lord. Open to almost any page of Scripture and you will see the love that God has for His children in Jesus Christ, our Blessed Savior. To truly love others we must first learn how, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to completely and fully love God.
We can show our love to Him in many ways; praise, honor, obedience, thanksgiving, in so many innumerable ways, and He is worthy of so much more than we can ever give Him. From the smallest child to the oldest man, the scholar to the plumber, the businessman to the housewife, even when the words do not come out exactly correct, our Lord understands and loves to hear of our love for Him. But, with our fellowman, in our conversations and actions, we must use wise discernment (Matt. 10:16; 1st Cor. 2:14) A grandmother would not necessarily show the same type of love to a complete stranger she would exhibit toward her grandchildren, nor can a man pour out his heart to his fellow co-workers as he would to his caring and loving wife. For our brothers and sisters in Christ, this love can be greater than for the sibling or relative who is not saved. A commitment to our fellow saint’s care in both temporal and eternal matters can be overwhelming at times, for we will be with them forever in glory. This deep love is an action we speak of, whether it be of thought or words or deeds, and when we are expressing this love to our Lord, it should be exponentially above anyone or anything here on this earth, He must be above all that we cherish, our love for Him must be without measure.
Our love for the unsaved covers two territories, one of great sorrow and at the same time one of great hope, for in our heart of hearts we know, if they die in their sins, there is no more hope, only great sorrow. The desire to reach them with the Gospel should be the driving force in all our interactions with those who are lost, those who do not have “the fear of God before their eyes” (Rom. 3:18), those whom the “god of this world has blinded”. (2nd Cor. 4:4) There is no room for error here, no time to waste on the things and cares of this world, sometimes, not even time to become their friend before trying to reach them with the truth of God’s word, (in this area I have had sad experience.) You must study to show yourself approved, you must care deeply in your heart for them, you must love them for the sake and Glory of Christ, because He loves you so very much. You may be the only Bible that some of these you are speaking to will ever read, “study to show yourself approved” (2nd Tim. 2:15), pray even as you are talking to them that God would show you an opening to glorify His name, so that they might see the wonder of His love, pray that His will would be done, and accept it when it is, for few will listen intently, fewer yet will heed the call. (Matt. 7:13)
Use wise discernment when assisting the lost, don’t just hand them money when they ask for help with groceries, take them to the grocery store; if their vehicle is in need of gas, accompany them to the station and fill it up for them; if they ask for prayers for themselves or for those they love, pray, yet always ask the Lord to lead them to Himself, for the healing of the body is only temporary, and we seek for eternal healing from the great physician for them. Let these individuals know that your love for them is not just in words, but in actions, and always that the name of God will be glorified, seek nothing in return, refuse any offer of repayment, for your Father in heaven will see, and His face will shine upon you.
“Because He first loved us, we love Him.” (1st John 4:19) We must allow the Holy Spirit to shows us how to exhibit this love to them, to let Him work through us in ways that we did not think possible, to love the un-lovely, those that use His name as a curse word, those who will mock you and demean you for your faith, those who will call you an enemy because you have told them the truth. (Gal.4:16)
Over the next several weeks we will touch on many attributes of what the character of a Christian should be, what the child of God must seek after so that our Lord can begin to make us into the image of His Son, (Rom. 8:29) but remember always, all of them must be conditioned with love, a love we do not have in ourselves, but one that He will impart to those who ask so that His name will be exalted above the heavens.