Written by Mike Sproul on May 16, 2018
Christian character is formed by our commitment to Christ. When we surrender to Christ and allow Him to grow and enrich us, the Spirit will flow through us. Our spiritual discipline, motives, obedience, and persevering faith will be the keys! All it takes is for our love with Christ to show. You should seek His presence, grow in your discipleship and be persistent in your prayers and thus in doing so, you will be building your Character.
When we say that we are followers of Christ, do our actions show that we are indeed followers of Christ? Are we being pretenders of faith, acting one way on Sundays and another on the other days of the week? This is extremely destructive to the Church and the reputation of our Lord! According to D.L. Moody “Character is what you are in the dark.”
It is extremely important that when we say that we are followers of Christ that our character and behavior reflect Him and if we are in a position of leadership, this is even more important. As a Christian, we are to demonstrate character and integrity in how we act and treat people around us. 2 Peter 1:1-11 tells us that growth as a Christian is essential. Growth begins with faith and turns into love for others. To continue to grow we need to know God, follow Him and remember His teachings. We must remain faithful and continue to grow as a Christian.
In 1 Samuel 25, there is a story of a little-known OT personality with great character; a woman named Abigail. David was running from Saul. Jealousy and paranoia drove Saul to pursue and kill David, while popularity and integrity followed David who, although he had many opportunities to kill Saul, chose out of character and respect to let him go. David and his men were doing a security service to the sheep ranchers, saving others sheep from poachers and rustlers. David protected what was not his, then, one of the ranchers who was very rich and had power and authority over the others convinced the ranchers not to pay David and his men. His name was Nabal, which means “a fool!”. It is sad that he was a descendant of Caleb, one of two people to survive the Exodus and enter into the Promise Land due to his honor and trustworthiness.
Nabal decided to cheat David, he thought what could David possibly do to me and then decided to cheat him. David gathered his men together and decided to confront Nabal, David was consumed with anger and was about to kill him. This was a just response in their culture and time but on David’s way to confront Nabal, Abigail intervened. She was a woman who had great character and discernment. Abigail was the wife of Nabal, who owed David and his men money for protecting his sheep and servants from harm. She was able to turn the payback of the evil her husband into good.
David was going to repay Nabal’s evil for more evil, even though David let Saul go in the previous chapter for a much more grievous sin. Nabal, for some reason, really angered David. Abigail’s intervention soothed that anger. Thus, David was able to grow stronger in his character development by doing good, even in his anger, and even though he was wronged and cheated. David could have murdered Nabal, suffered the consequence for it, and perhaps even forsaking his future kingship. Abigail saved the day for him and provided a prime example for David, as well as for us today.
We have a choice to act in evil or goodness; to act upon our sinful motives or with what God calls us to, which is far better than we can see in the moment. Let us choose being even better. Who we are will determine what we do. The result will be character. Our growth in Him will make us who we are, which will be the character we present to God and others.
Character is influenced and developed by our choices. Daniel “resolved not to defile himself” in Babylon (Daniel 1:8), and that godly choice was important in forming integrity in the young man’s life. Character, in turn, influences our choices. “The integrity of the upright guides them” (Proverbs 11:3a). Character will help us weather the storms of life and keep us from sin (Proverbs 10:9a).
It is the Lord’s purpose to develop character within us. “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart” (Proverbs 17:3). Godly character is the result of the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification. Character in the believer is a consistent manifestation of Jesus in his life. It is the purity of heart that God gives becoming purity in action. God sometimes uses trials to strengthen character: “we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4). The Lord is pleased when His children grow in character. “You test the heart and are pleased with integrity” (1 Chronicles 29:17; see also Psalm 15:1-2).
We can develop character by controlling our thoughts (Philippians 4:8), practicing Christian virtues (2 Peter 1:5-6), guarding our hearts (Proverbs 4:23; Matthew 15:18-20), and keeping good company (1 Corinthians 15:33). Men and women of character will set a good example for others to follow, and their godly reputation will be evident to all (Titus 2:7-8)