Our FOCUS today…
The word is SELDOM used in BIBLE
We don’t see it very often in NEWSPAPERS or hear it on TV
Yet we know what it means, and we immediately recognise its ABSENCE
ATTRIBUTES that make up a PERSON of CHARACTER…
Honesty Kindness Faithfulness Humility Compassion Courage Patience Self-Control Discipline These things (among many others) ultimately determine your CAPACITY in life
CHARACTER is what I want EVERYBODY (that I do life with) ………to HAVE.
But it’s not something I’m always willing to… pay the price to GAIN for MYSELF
CHARACTER is something we ALL VALUE…
Especially in our Children
OFTEN – other people’s LACK of CHARACTER bothers us a whole lot more than OUR OWN lack of CHARACTER
Let’s SUPPOSE we want to become MEN & WOMEN of CHARACTER…
Where in SOCIETY is there a FOCUS on developing CHARACTER?
Which SEMINAR we attend / Which WEBSITES we visit / What CLASSES we attend / or what BOOKS we read.
If you want to LOOK BETTER…
There are 100’s of places to go for BETTER = Body / Clothes / Hair / Skin / Face / Feet
There = WHOLE INDUSTRIES (built around) looking… BETTER on OUTSIDE
If you & I want to develop = A SKILL… Learn a SPORT / Take up PHOTOGRAPHY / Learn how to COOK or work on your PUBLIC SPEAKING (It’s all out there)
But where do you go to become a… PERSON of CHARACTER???
WHY is there NO ATTENTION given… to CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT?
It’s not that we DON’T THINK it’s IMPORTANT… Because we constantly complain about it (in someone ELSE’s life).
Here’s WHY There is NO INDUSTRY… NONE of us = GO
None of us = SIGN UP / Get Online / Line Up
There’s NO MONEY to be made in helping us become… BETTER MEMBERS of SOCIETY (in CHARACTER).
Yet = You & I know… that this is a HUGE PROBLEM!
Here’s the PROBLEM…
We’ve PRIORITISED TWO Things OVER CHARACTER
ACHIEVEMENT & FULFILMENT
THAT MEANS… WHO YOU ARE isn’t as important WHAT YOU DO
We live in a SOCIETY that rewards ACCOMPLISHMENT. If we are given the OPTION ….. We opt for ACHIEVEMENT… over CHARACTER. When this happens – a BRAND NEW ETHIC surfaces in SOCIETY & in our FAMILIES…
What is RIGHT Is DEFINED by PROGRESS.
CHARACTER takes a BACK SEAT & consequently…
We’re surrounded by BROKEN People / BROKEN Workplaces / and BROKEN Relationships
A WISE PERSON once said about CHARACTER …… “Is what we do when no one is looking – Involves doing what is RIGHT”
An IMPORTANT FACT as we move AHEAD…
No matter how wonderful your CHARACTER is… It will never be WONDERFUL ENOUGH to earn God’s APPROVAL (our Righteous Acts are like – Filthy Rags)
As IMPORTANT as CHARACTER is… It is not a way to EARN Salvation / It can’t be EARNED (It’s a Gift).
Hard Work cannot EARN it – neither can GOOD… BEHAVIOUR or STIRLING CHARACTER
CHARACTER is the WILL to do WHAT’s RIGHT… (as God defines right) regardless of the COST
TODAY – We’re going to talk about how God SEES… CHARACTER – and how He goes about developing CHARACTER in us (to GUIDE US in our PRIVATE LIFE)
In the Old Testament Character was two Dimensional ..Moses & the Tablets …Thou /shalt nots…) Acting OUT what God wanted them = BE.
When we get to New Testament He gave us (THROUGH the person of Jesus Christ) a living, breathing MODEL of CHARACTER as He defines… CHARACTER
Romans 8:29 (KJV)
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
He wants us to BECOME & BEHAVE like JESUS. Conformed (Not EXTERNALLY) INTERNALLY into the SAME MOULD / IMAGE of His Son JC
If you = ASK… “God – what do you want my CHARACTER to LOOK LIKE?”
He wouldn’t send you to a LIST.
He’d send you to the PERSON of Jesus Christ – I want your CHARACTER to reflect the CHARACTER of my Son Jesus Christ
The Temptation for YOU & I would be to say…
If I had enough TIME / IF I Committed Enough / If I Rededicate THEN I could become what it is what God wants me to BECOME…
UNTIL we look at CHRIST It’s Not A BETTER VERSION of YOU!!!
God’s APPROACH… “I want your CHARACTER to reflect the CHARACTER of my SON Jesus Christ”
The CHARACTER of CHRIST is not something that is MANUFACTURED by us (Try Harder / Do Better / Rededicate)… It is something that is produced THROUGH US
You can… MANUFACTURE a BETTER YOU…
You cannot MANUFACTURE the CHARACTER of Jesus Christ… because the CHARACTER of JESUS must come from CHRIST Himself
John 15:5 (NKJV)
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
What am I supposed to do to become a PERSON of CHARACTER??? REMAIN / ABIDE You’re the BRANCH / I’m the VINE…
If you learn to FOCUS on ABIDING (Not on Becoming)… Every now & then – You’ll look out to END of your BRANCH = FRUIT.
You’ll Say – WOW, I never knew I was capable of that (He’ll Say… You’re Not) – You just focus on ABIDING… Let ME do = PRODUCING
Our TEMPTATION is to COPY the VINE…
He’s not asking us to IMITATE HIM = He’s asking us to learn to ABIDE IN HIM… So His LIFE & CHARACTER can be PRODUCED through us.
We focus on ABIDING = He focuses on CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
John 15:1-4 NKJV
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away;(a) and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”
Unless you’re really DEDICATED = NO!!!
Unless you’re really COMMITTED from Heart = NO!!!
If you want to be like my SON = Learn to ABIDE / REMAIN
Learn to ALLOW ME to LIVE THROUGH YOU
To be PATIENT THROUGH YOU FORGIVE THROUGH YOU / LOVE / SELF-CONTROL Over-come TEMPTATION…
Not Manufactured / He PRODUCES it THROUGH YOU
The Word REMAIN (or ABIDE)… Very COMMON Greek Word Means = To Remain / Stay / Move in With / Live With A HIGHLY RELATIONAL Word
Jesus = Saying…
STAY CLOSE Don’t think in terms of IMITATING me
STAY CLOSE & if you stay close LONG ENOUGH… There will be FRUIT that will start to POP OUT – SURPRISE YOU…
Not because you’re TRYING = CHANGE… But because = LEARNT… ABIDE
It’s about STAYING CLOSE / It’s about REMAINING in… CONSTANT CONTACT / PURE Relationship &… Allowing Christ to live HIS LIFE… THROUGH YOU
I CAN BRIDGE THE GAP you have been trying to fill ALL YOUR LIFE. You focus on staying CLOSE… REMAINING & ABIDING in me – Then WATCH what He DOES
3 Practical Things in terms of ABIDING…
1. Think and Act Relationally – Not Religiously
Religion is = God’s out there SOMEWHERE & I’m down here trying to PLEASE HIM
Relationship is this… I’m going to stay CLOSE (ABIDE)
God gave His SON’s LIFE to make it RELATIONAL & not RELIGIOUS. We try & UNDO what God made a HUGE sacrifice for. RELATIONAL is about = VINE & BRANCH
2. Focus on Abiding – Not Imitation
It’s not about IMITATION = ABIDING / Relationship
3. Adopt the attitude that says… I can’t but He can through me
• I CAN’T be PATIENT for 1 more day… But YOU CAN through me
• I CAN’T deal with ANOTHER DAY in how I FEEL… But YOU CAN through me
• I CAN’T deal with the TEMPTATION… But YOU CAN through me
• I CAN’T deal with INTERNET… But YOU CAN through me
I can’t BUT You can
When you ADOPT that ATTITUDE… Something happens in your HEART
I am = BRANCH / You = VINE (I can’t / JESUS CAN) It’s No longer I who lives but CHRIST (HE CAN)
When YOU & I are willing to WAVE a WHITE FLAG & say… I can’t & I’m making myself available to be LOVED THROUGH ME / be PATIENT through me (FRUIT)
Abiding in Christ = Vine & Branch…
As you ABIDE = He will honour your EFFORT & FAITH
Maybe the ONLY THING that will help prevent what is about to become PUBLIC in your life = REMAINING in HIM
I can’t = But YOU CAN through me
CHARACTER is the WILL to do WHAT’s RIGHT… (as God defines right) regardless of the COST
God’s WHOLE PLAN is for YOU & I = ABIDE
It’s not about being a BETTER YOU (Being like His SON)… And the ONLY WAY we can be LIKE HIM is for HIS LIFE… to FLOW through US
That’s God’s PLAN for your CHARACTER
The MODEL is JESUS = The METHOD is ABIDING
It’s not about TRYING HARDER = Abiding… I can’t = But YOU CAN THROUGH ME
Lets us please PRAY…
Thank you for the TRUTH of your WORD
It seems like this Subject is so much easier to TALK ABOUT than it is TO DO.
Grant us the DISCIPLINE & MOTIVATION to be People of Character.
Set us FREE from those areas where we are TEMPTED.
Take this SIMPLE TRUTH & ENGRAIN IT in our hearts & transform our lives – Help us EVERY DAY to REMAIN IN YOU
As we come into a time of COMMUNION… We are THANKFUL you are the VINE and We are BRANCH
As we REMAIN in you – we are filled with the HOPE / LIFE / JOY / MISSION of a living resurrected JESUS CHRIST – the HOPE of WORLD.
AT THE CROSS = Mans WORST met God’s BEST (HOPE)
Remind us NOW that you GAVE IT ALL = That Jesus held nothing back
Thank you for the BREAD-BISCUIT… BROKEN = Represents your BROKEN BODY
Thank you for CUP… Represents YOUR BLOOD poured out for the SINS of many And in that SPIRIT…
Humble our hearts as we come to you now – in Prayer & Consideration AMEN
Author:- Pastor Steve Fitzallen Door of Hope Christian Church
(adapted by Richard Bejah RGB Blog)
“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.”