Character is Whats Left When You Leave


1 Samuel 16:7

"...The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

While I was recently on a technology imposed computer vacation, I evaluated many things about myself. I truly think this is important for every Christian to do often. The world has a tendency to affect every portion of our thoughts and actions if we don't keep them in check and in line with what the Lord wants for us. One of the things I evaluated was my own character. What exactly is character? Character is defined basically as a destinguishing mark or impression. So if you apply that to yourself, what kind of mark do you leave behind? That my friend is your character.

The greatest understanding of character comes from the bible. The first occurrence I found was in Genesis. The first two humans on earth had only one promise to keep and they messed it up. Not only did they mess up, they lied about it and then blamed each other. Although they failed, Adam and Eve spent the rest of their lives trying to make it up. Character is cumulative. You aren't born with character, you die with it, it's something you create over a lifetime of difficult circumstances. All people fall short of the Glory of God and sin. Can you admit that sin? Are you able to accept responsibility for the mistakes that you make or do you place the blame on others? All of these things matter to God; He made that very clear in Genesis and through out the bible.

Our characters as Christians are constantly tested. When Moses led God's people out of Egypt the Israelites were constantly tested in order to shape their character. The Desert of Sin was an immense and hostile environment. There was no water and no food, and very little faith in the people even though they had witnessed such greatness as the parting of the Red Sea. They told Moses he should have let them suffer in Egypt rather than die slowly in the desert. As always, God provided for their needs in spite of their doubts and grumblings. If you can't recognize yourself in the Israelites you aren't looking very deep. How many times does God save us just for us to turn around and complain again?

It is in the testing that our true characters are defined. In 2 Chronicles, Hezekiah was a man that did "what was good and right and faithful before the Lord" during his lifetime he was struck ill and nearly died. This wasn't punishment, but testing. Sometimes in order for us to see the flaws in our own character, the Lord has to humble even his most faithful servants.

I didn't really come to any conclusions about my character except to understand that I am still building it. Every day I live is another opportunity to turn to the Lord with complete faith and trust, even when I don't understand what's going on. One thing I do know is that when my casket is closed, my character will remain on earth as a testimony to my life, whether good or bad. Then, when I face my Lord at the judgment seat I will not be able to prepare a defense against the people that have hurt me or the injustices that I endured but I will be accountable for every way in which I reacted to them. That's definitely something to think about.

God Bless and Happy Character Building!

Romans 5:3

We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

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