Character Reproduction

“…but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5 ESV

character 13

Wouldn’t life be great if all we had to do is swallow a pill that would give us the character we desire? No effort required. No work involved. No experience of failure. No frustration to manage. Just immediate, character gratification.

We marvel at the highly discipline athlete. We celebrate the person who sacrifices immediate gratification for long term success. In many cases, we wish we had the same fortitude. Yet, the fact is we all have the opportunity to forgo the temporary pleasure for long term character growth.

The reality is also true; godly character takes time and pain to build. Through suffering we lean more on God. As we hang onto Christ, character is being produced. As we witness the character being produced, our hope in Christ becomes real.

Yes, God is reproducing himself in you. He has adopted you and gave you his personal DNA via the Holy Spirit. As we abide in Christ and rest in him, he works from the inside-out to mold and shape us into his model child. Through the circumstances we find ourselves in, through the people we associate with, and through the challenges & opportunities we face each day, God’s Spirit works to mold and shape the new you.

Some denominations identify a saint as someone who is unique and climbed the ladder of spiritual success. Yet the Bible calls everyone who is a believer a saint. In fact, the Bible calls us all saints in the plural and never in a singular fashion. For the saints of the Bible is another identification for the Body of Christ, the Church.

So maybe it is time that the Church, His saints, set aside immediate gratification and take seriously His objective to prepare His adopted children for more than physical comforts in this life. Maybe for some of us it’s time to get serious with allowing God to complete His work in us.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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Fiat Character

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 3:3-5

 character 6

Wouldn’t it be great if our character could be molded and built overnight? Rather than having to discipline our thoughts, attitudes, and habits over years of practice, why couldn’t we take a pill and have instant Godly character?  We know that is not reality.  So if someone offers you such a “pill” or shortcut, beware. Only God’s love and grace is there for us to experience the downside of character building.

When God created man and women, He did so after his image and likeness (Gn. 1:26).  Of all of God’s creation, only humanity has the ability to reason, imagine, and create.  These characteristics are patterned after God’s likeness. Yet man also, because of the sin virus, is blacken with spiritual cancer. He needs healing. That healing comes to us via Jesus Christ. He sends the Holy Spirit into our lives to heal and restore our hearts and minds. Our participation involves building our Will through the choices we make. It requires obedience. Most often it requires obedience through the tough difficult times of life. Even Jesus learned through what he suffered (Hebrews 5:8).

Paul writes that the purpose of life is for us to grow into the image of Jesus Christ (Eph. 4:24). When the Bible speaks about image it doesn’t mean that everyone looks like Him. What it means is that we resemble His character and spirit. That character and spirit comes through the trials and tests that life presents. It doesn’t come via a pill. It doesn’t come by taking a class. It doesn’t come by joining a church. It only comes when we allow His Spirit to lead us, transform us, and walk with us through the challenges of life.

So forget about fiat character. Instead, learn to walk with the Triune God as He restores creation back to His original intent. That includes you, me, and all of creation.

Perseverance.  Endurance. Faithfulness. They may not be glorious words in a self-esteemed society, yet they are the marathon characteristics of a “little Christ” in today’s world.

 

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Learn. Integrate. Grow.

 

Rules, Principles, or Character

 

 

“…by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness…” 2 Peter 1:4-6 ESV

 

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After you acknowledge Jesus is Lord, what comes next?

The Bible outlines our journey into three phases: justification, sanctification, and glorification. Justification is about Christ’s gift to humanity restoring our relationship with God. Glorification is packaged in the resurrection when our physical body is merged into a glorious state like our Lord’s. Sanctification is the time in between where we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ in preparation for eternity while tasting Kingdom reality now.

Sanctification is the now time. Most disciples of his start this journey first focusing on “the rules found in the Bible.” The problem though soon hits them that life is not black and white. External, fixed rules are like the ABCs of grammar. You need to know them before you can really start communicating with others. But they don’t take you very far.

Then after becoming frustrated with rules, you realize you need greater flexibility. Therefore, you begin to exert more emphasis on living with principles. However, over time you learn that principles are like words. Words better express what you want communicated than just knowing the ABCs. Yet words unless formed into meaningful sentences, only expressed a tiny portion of what you want known. There has to be something better.

Enter character development. When you take sentences and make paragraphs, paragraphs into chapters, and chapters into books, you have developed from the basic ABCs into creating work of art. You add you personality and experiences into the equation and share something you consider of value with others. The same goes with godly character.

When you allow God’s Spirit to enter you and lead you, you begin to set aside the rules and principles for a transformed life of virtue. Virtue is holiness in action. It doesn’t come overnight. It requires walking with our heavenly Triune God in all matters of life. It is the Spirit writing his love into our hearts. He leads us to express mercy and justice from God’s point of reference. It is more than head knowledge. It is eternal wisdom and understanding with godly attributes placed into action. The result is a life that flourishes for all.

So the next time to think life is black and white with rules and principles, think again. Instead, ask the Triune God what would He have you do at a moment like this? You may be pleasantly surprised.

 

We are rooting for you!

Yours in Christ,

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
* Great Business Emulates a Good God
* Be Radical…Follow Christ!
* Simply The Messenger
* Unequally Married

Learn. Integrate. Grow.