Summary: Reputation is what men think you are; character is what God knows you are. The grace of God will do very little for us if we resolve to do nothing for ourselves. God calls us to co-operate with him in the perfecting of character
The Quality of our Character
Topic: Reputation is what men think you are; character is what God knows you are.
2 Cor 5:17 NIV
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
Below are examples of the old passing, and the new has come.
Peter the profane fisherman, was transformed where his shadow passing over the sick caused healing.
Mt 26:74 – Acts 5:15
John the vindictive Jew became an apostle of love.
The woman at the well with 5 husbands became a witness for truth.
John 4:17-18, 29
Saul the bloodthirsty persecutor became the tender hearted brother.
Acts 9:1 – 21:13
The cold hearted Philippian jailer became a sympathetic friend.
What had changed in each of the previous saints?
It was their character.
The Danger of Incomplete Character
What becomes of those who reach high on the plane of morality, but do not touch the yet higher plane of spirituality?
a. You might just as well ask me what becomes of a marksman who almost hits the mark, but does not hit it.
b. You might just as well ask me what becomes of an anchor that is let out of a ship, and reaches almost to the bottom, but stops short without touching it.
c. You might as well ask me what becomes of a portrait which is splendidly painted, and is almost like the man that it is designed to represent, and yet is not like him.
Christians of Character live our their convictions
a. Dynamic Faith causes one to stand out in a crowd
b. To refrain from gossip when others about you delight in it.
c. To stand up for the absent person who is being abused.
d. To live honestly within your means and not dishonestly on the means of others.
e. To be a real man, a true woman, by holding fast to your ideals when it causes you to be looked upon as strange and peculiar.
f. To be talked about and remain silent when a word would justify you in the eyes of others, but which you cannot speak without injury to another.
g. To refuse to do a thing which is wrong, though others do it.
h. To live according to your own convictions.
The Evolution of Christian Character
H. W. Beecher gave the following quotation on character:
"No man ever suddenly cleared up forty acres of land. A man may begin such a work suddenly. No man ever began to do a thing without making up his mind to do it. No man ever began to be a Christian without a volition; and no volition was ever anything but a flash—an instantaneous thing. But the volition is the beginning. The evolution of Christian character is gradual."
How to Build Strong Character: Humble yourself
Convicted for possession of drugs, lead singer of rock band Stone Temple Pilots, Scott Weiland, talked to Rolling Stone about how being in jail impacted his life:
Weiland keeps repeating the word humility.
"It’s not me thinking less of myself," he says. "It’s me thinking of myself less. A lot of my ways of thinking have backfired on me.
My stubbornness. My pride. My arrogance. The difficult thing is that those defects of character become assets in my business, the rock and roll world.
"It’s great being a rock star," he crows. "But you know what? Being a rock star doesn’t give you the license to view yourself as more important than anybody else. And if I am to become a better man, a man who has some compassion and humility instead of just expecting people to understand me, that doesn’t make me less of a rock star."
How to Build Strong Character: Give Jesus your heart
We are told that, years ago, an Arab sultan’s champion wrestler Ismail Yousarf, came to the United States to see whether any man in America could put him on his back. The Turk never lost a fall, it is said, and those who saw him in exercise claimed that his equal never lived. His boast of strength brought up the old and always interesting question whether any one race or nationality can produce the strongest men in the world. That involves as important differences in climate, food, and habits as in size and physical appearance. However it may be of physical strength, we know that spiritual strength is equally within the reach of all nationalities.
Whoever gives Christ the right of way in his heart is nerved with the same divine power that made him spotless and pure and victorious amid all the world’s sin and defilement.
We can do all things if we have his strength (Phil 4:13).