17 Dec Developing Character: (Part 2)
We have very wrong notions about this subject. (Please visit www.fowm.org to read up under our archives of publications for this subject). Humility like meekness is strength under control. (See the message on Brokenness). It is knowing who you are and not letting whatever you think you are affect the correct responses you should give to life’s challenges. Whether it is in obeying God or dealing with issues or people. David’s response to the challenge Goliath gave was a mark of humility as it demonstrated his dependence on God. When I put myself under the Lordship of Christ and humble myself, I will be teachable, and accountable to those who God has put in my life for that purpose. I will not be full of myself and my sense of pride in my achievements or abilities. I will demonstrate a dependence on God and a subjection to His will for my life. If a dead clock can be right twice in 24 hours, then we can learn from everyone else. It’s all our choice!
“Do nothing from factional motives [through contentiousness, strife, selfishness, or for unworthy ends] or prompted by conceit and empty arrogance. Instead, in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself [thinking more highly of one another than you do of yourselves]. Let each of you esteem and look upon and be concerned for not [merely] his own interests, but also each for the interests of others. Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus:[Let Him be your example in humility:] Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [ possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained, But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being.
And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross! Therefore [because He stooped so low] God has highly exalted Him and has freely bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, That in (at) the name of Jesus every knee should (must) bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, And every tongue [frankly and openly] confess and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Therefore, my dear ones, as you have always obeyed [my suggestions], so now, not only [with the enthusiasm you would show] in my presence but much more because I am absent, work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self- distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ). [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight. Do all things without grumbling and fault-finding and complaining [against God] and questioning and doubting [among yourselves], That you may show yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish (faultless, unrebukable) in the midst of a crooked and wicked generation [spiritually perverted and perverse], among whom you are seen as bright lights (stars or beacons shining out clearly) in the [dark] world, Holding out [to it] and offering [to all men] the Word of Life, so that in the day of Christ I may have something of which exultantly to rejoice and glory in that I did not run my race in vain or spend my labour to no purpose.”
Change becomes inevitable if we would fulfil destiny. Many times, we undergo crisis so our inner values can be exposed, challenged and possibly changed. When we refuse these changes, we are simply preparing ourselves for more of such crisis. The earlier we adjust our lives, pass our tests and become better not bitter, the earlier we bring the crisis to an end. Our end product is coming into the image of the Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
If this study exposes anything in you that need changing, do not despair, we have the Holy Spirit as our Helper who has be called alongside to help us. With His help, set up a plan to adjust and prevent yourself from making those mistakes again. Plan to rebuild a new future. Face up to the past, build the future with His help.
Finally, it has been observed that suffering can help build character. The right kind of suffering in the flesh for God’s glory will help develop character.
1 Peter 4:1-9
“So, since Christ suffered in the flesh for us, for you, arm yourselves with the same thought and purpose [patiently to suffer rather than fail to please God]. For whoever has suffered in the flesh [having the mind of Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [has stopped pleasing himself and the world, and pleases God], So that he can no longer spend the rest of his natural life living by [his] human appetites and desires, but [he lives] for what God wills. For the time that is past already suffices for doing what the Gentiles like to do—living [as you have done] in shameless, insolent wantonness, in lustful desires, drunkenness, revelling, drinking bouts and abominable, lawless idolatries. They are astonished and think it very queer that you do not now run hand in hand with them in the same excesses of dissipation, and they abuse [you]. But they will have to give an account to Him who is ready to judge and pass sentence on the living and the dead. For this is why the good news (the Gospel) was preached [in their lifetime] even to the dead, that though judged in fleshly bodies as men are, they might live in the spirit as God does. But the end and culmination of all things has now come near; keep sound minded and self- restrained and alert therefore for [the practice of] prayer. Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others]. Practice hospitality to one another (those of the household of faith). [Be hospitable, be a lover of strangers, with brotherly affection for the unknown guests, the foreigners, the poor, and all others who come your way who are of Christ’s body.] And [in each instance] do it ungrudgingly (cordially and graciously, without complaining but as representing Him).
Rev. Kola Ewuosho