Monday, June 19, 2017

Building Christ-like Character

In addition to my previous posts, Soaking In God's Word and Abiding In Christ, I want to focus briefly on building character traits that every person who identities as a Christ follower should exhibit in their daily lives.

As Christians, we are called to be an example to everyone around us. Our families, friends, neighbors, and strangers we encounter whether it's at school, the gas station, grocery store, shopping centers, library etc. To witness God's love as a bright, shining light in this dark, sinful world. 

"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."-Matthew 5:14-16

But before we can be a beacon to others, we have to examine our lives first. As sinful humans by nature, we're constantly waging war with the Holy Spirit. "For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do."-Galatians 5:17

If we truly claim to be born again children of God, then we should desire to do His perfect will, but more than that, actually commit to living it out. If we really love God, our willingness to obey should overpower any resistance our flesh has with His perfect plans. The problem however is that we're not spending enough time with God like we desperately should. Instead we allow ourselves to succumb to the vast and irresistible temptations of our human nature.

Romans 12:2 says, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."

I don't know how this Scripture can get anymore clearer than that. If we're serious about making changes to please God out of reverence, not obligation, we have to renew our minds. Where our mind is, our actions follow. It's that simple.

What are the natural inclinations of the fleshly body? Selfishness, greed, lust, impurity, fornication, pride, idolatry, envy, strife, bitterness, debauchery (Mark 7:20-23, Colossians 3:5).

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."-Galatians 5:22-23

So there you have it. Living out the fruits of the Spirit takes intentionality, effort, and persistence. A seed doesn't plant without being watered and absorbed by sunlight. The best teacher and role model to learn from is Jesus. He not only taught how to live but He also lived it out. As we read more about Him in the Word, we'll have a better understanding of how to live like Him. When we strive to be more like Christ every day, our lives will naturally mirror those characteristics in abundance. (Philippians 3:7-11, 1 John 2:6, 1 John 3:2)

I found this lovely chart that serves as an excellent guide to build and foster character qualities in Christ. This chart has 49 Christ-like attributes. Take one attribute to focus on each month and implement ways to live it out for that month. I think it's best to discuss this in a group. Or with a mentor/accountability partner. It can also be done individually. But by no means should you neglect prayer and faithful devotions in the Word. May we too strive to demonstrate the love and humility Christ lived while we still have time left on earth.

You can view the chart {here}

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