In this final installment on the Character of the Christian, I would like to leave you with some words, now, I realize that there have been many previous words in this study, but on these I will not expound much. You will recognize many of the words in the first section below as those that were chapter headings in the Character study, terminologies that I felt were the best expressions in their uses as to what the child of God should endeavor to become, not just what they should be, but what they are to be.
We are never to act like a Christian, for that would mean that we are only pretending, as it were, and specifically only when others are around us, this is not what our normal nature is to be. We are to be obedient servants of the Lord at all times, not just in the presence of others, not in partiality, but in the totality of who we are. Nor should we attempt to fulfill these character traits out of some sort of fear, out of a thought pattern that if we do not adhere completely to all of them at every moment of our lives that God will punish us, or look upon us in a way other than love. There are no rewards for good intentions in heaven, but there are many for those whose desire it is to serve, even when the opportunities are not present.
The motivating factor for all that a Christian does, should be one of love, whether it be from a heart directed in prayer to the Lord, or in service to our fellow man, love is the key to all that we are to be. Without this love that stems from the Holy spirit within us, we are no different than the lost who surround us on a daily basis, the love that we know from the Father they will never know as long as they remain in their sins. Praying for them and our brothers and sisters in Christ, giving words of encouragement and conviction, warning those who do not yet know Christ as Savior, these are but a few of the ways that we are to be in service to our Lord, it is the willing servant that He seeks after to use for His glory.
Gods plan for all His children is for them to be conformed into the image of His Son, and that plan started for you the moment that you called Him Lord, the day that you opened the door of your heart that He had been knocking on for so long to Him.
Please remember here that the fruits of the Spirit are not character traits, though in a minor form, as it were, some of them are included in this list, the fruits of the Spirit are just that, the fruits of the Holy Spirit of God. We are the branches, Christ is the vine, (John 15:5) we cannot produce these fruits, but by His mercies, we can bear them. Think of them as nine wonderful blessing if you like that our Lord is allowing to flow thru us so that others will see Christ in us. We cannot in their entirety fulfill the nature of these fruits, but we are compelled to surrender our will to Him, and in so doing, we will enable the Holy Spirit to work thru us for the glory of God, and these blessings can be just the beginning.
With the Lords divine assistance and our willing submissiveness to Him, we can become people of a Godly character, for the character traits in this series all have one thing in common, they are all a choice. You do not have to have compassion, integrity, purity, or any of the other traits set forth in these last few weeks, in every instance you can make a choice to search out the blessings that come with each character trait or not. Our Lord died for us when we were still His enemies, do you believe that any work that we can do will make us more of a part of the family of God than we were at the moment we heeded His call, that He will love you less or more if you do not strive for these traits that define, in part, a Christian. Of course not, free will is one of the greatest blessings that our Lord has given us, it is our choice to use this gift for Him or not to, a servant serves because he must, a loving servant goes beyond the call of His master, and seeks in all that he does to please his Lord.
Below is a list of words that I believe encompasses the majority of the character traits that a child of God should attempt to attain to, should pray for, should seek to obtain for the glory of God. I am sure that if you have followed this series from its inception that you can think of several more, but in these that have been brought to our attention, I would pray that you would seek the face of God and His guidance. For your convenience, they are listed in alphabetical order:
Affections, Assembling’s, Charity, (Love) Consideration, (For Others) Conversation, Consideration, Examples, Encouragement, Fellowship, Forbearance, Forgiveness, Friendship, Honesty, Honor, Hospitality, Humility, Integrity, Lending, (Pros and Cons) Love, Patience, Perseverance, Prayer, Prudence, Purity, Reconciliation, Salt, Sobriety, Trust, Steadfastness, Submission, Temperance, Truthfulness.
As with almost all things, there are inverses. Please be aware that Satan is not God’s opposite, our Lord has no opposite, Satan was a created being, and his fate was sealed long ago at the cross, but at this moment he is fulfilling what he is allowed to do, bringing railing accusations against the children of God. Man can easily be tempted, and no one is better at bringing that temptation to him than Satan is, though in many areas we do not need his assistance. For each word in the list above, there is an inverse, an opposite action that we can perform just as easily, perhaps at times even more easily, than the ones in the list above. We are emotion-based creatures with a sinful nature, and it is no small task for us to fall back into our old patterns, the battle is daily, and will continue to be so until we arrive home.
We do not need the assistance of the adversary to fulfill even one of the items on the list below, we are quite adept at doing these opposite traits on our own. Personally, I had to do some serious soul searching, as it were, as the list below came into being, for I saw in them not only who I was before Christ, but many that have continued to plague me in my continuing walk with our Lord. The difference is that before I was saved, I saw no real problem with any of them, it was a normal behavior pattern, but now, I detest each and every one of them, and when they rear their ugly head, I am reminded that they are no longer who I am in Christ, they no longer control me, and by His mercies, these times are becoming fewer and farther apart. But I am accountable for the actions and intents of my heart, no one else, when I fall, I know that it is but for a short time, and that I am forgiven, still loved, and still able to be used for His glory.
Read the list below, hate every one of them, let them be disgusting to your eyes, console and pray with and for them that you meet that are in the throes of them, let them be as repulsive to you as they are to the Lord:
Boasting, Cruelty, Discord, Disputing, Envy, A Hardened Heart, Hatred, Haughtiness, Hypocrisy, Jealousy, False Judgements, Lying, Meddling, Mocking, Murmuring, Presumptuous, Quarreling, Railing Accusations, Scoffing, Selfishness, Slander, Strife, Stubbornness, Vanity, Wrath.
I pray that the Lord our God will lead you, That He will make His face to shine upon you, that the love of Christ will abide in your heart, and that your heart will reflect the heart of our Lord to all that you meet. That He will protect you from the evil one, that you will be victorious in Christ in every endeavor that He places on your path on your way home to glory.