Scripture: (Rom 5:1-4 NIV) Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
I want to begin today by
looking at some characters in the Bible, and I want you to discover what you
think about each one.
Solomon, Samson, Jezebel, Rahab.
Now for some New Testament
Cornelius, Paul, John The Baptist, Mary Magdalene.
As we think about each of
these people the picture of them in our minds is representative of their
personal character. So what is “Character?”
It is your reputation; it involves your personal integrity, honor and standing.
There are many different stages in developing your character. Having studied acting I would like to show you some techniques that an actor would use to develop a character that they want to portray. In doing this we can then take these techniques and see how they might be used to help us improve our own personal character as we reach towards the high calling of Christ likeness.
Stages of Character
Deciding on character traits: the first thing that you have to know about being a character is what makes up the character. So what are some common character traits? There are the obvious like age and size and social status but in order to really become the character you have to go deeper. What are your dreams and aspirations? Would you rather be given a gift or would you rather spend some quality time with the one you love? What do you spend your money on? How honest are you really? What hurts you more, loosing money or loosing a friend? Your character traits tell a lot more about you then your weight or age or how you talk. Although how you talk and what you talk about becomes the next stage in development.
Verbalization: The Bible
tells us that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Do you want to
know someone, listen to them talk. Do they talk more about themselves then
anyone else? Do they complain more then give thanks? Do they tell a lot of off
color jokes? Are they serious or light hearted? How much do they talk about
spiritual things? I know a lot of people that go to church but never talk about
the things of God out side of church. If you want to know where you are in
relationship with God monitor your talk for just one day. But of course we
cannot just be talking the talk we need to walk the walk. And so the next stage
and the one that most likely puts the flesh on a character is walking into
Walking into the character: In acting this is where you start walking and talking like the person you are trying to portray. What is His posture like? Is he holing His head up proud or is he self-conscious in his gate? Is he in a hurry or walking slowly without any clear purpose? Is there a spring in his step or does he drag his feet in dejection? Often the way you walk is all that many people will see of you. Can you judge the character of a person by their walk? Have you ever just watched people walk and noticed the differences? All of this is real fun information but what does it have to do with developing Christ like character?
Well the fist thing I want us to notice by looking at the Biblical characters above is that we have a definite opinion of each person’s character. King David may be one of him being a man after God’s own heart. Peter may be one of a rough and tough fisherman who became a pillar of the early church. John the Baptist, wow, what a character he was. How about Mary Magdalene? Wasn’t she a prostitute? You know once people get an opinion of your character it is harder to change their opinion of you then it is to change your character. How hard is it to change someone’s opinion of you? That question might be better asked like this: How hard is it to change you own opinion of yourself? The Bible teaches us that we need to get a completely new mental picture of ourselves. We need to spiritually crucify our flesh and let the spirit of Jesus Christ come alive within us stronger every day. We need to make ourselves living sacrifices, temples of the Holy Spirit. In that way we can become vessels of honor living lives of integrity and strong Christian character.
How can we allow God to change us into the
character of Christ?
To tie all of this together lets go back to our text and look at the wood translated “character.” The King James Version uses the word “experience.” The New American Standard Bible uses “proven character.” The original Greek word is “dokime.” It means to be tested and approved. It is one thing to say you are a Christian but truth comes down to your walk through that valley of the shadow of death. It is when we get out of our comfort zone that we discover how much we are really trusting in God. Jesus is able to carry your heaviest burden. I do not know what you are going through today but what ever it is God is still on the throne and as soon as you are ready to turn it over to Him He will see you through this. Hay, we have all blown it a time or two but that does not mean that God can no longer use you. Do you want to have a stronger character then you do right now? Do you want to be remembered as a person of integrity? Do you want to experience life without guilt and shame? It starts with surrender. Open yourself up and let the Holy Spirit minister true lasting peace right now. Let Jesus Christ enter into the deepest recesses of your soul. Open your mind and let God cleans you of all iniquity. You are Born Again when you accept the forgiveness of God that He paid the price for on the cross. You are a new creation in Christ. Jesus now, right now dwells within you and as you lean to develop more and more of His character traits in you life you yourself will be transformed into his likeness and image even Christ Jesus the Lord.
Look to Jesus (discover His character
Tell another about your discovery
Go and sin not more (walk the walk)