An important feature of the Framework to Life and what will be an integral part of the content of the book is character. Character is important because it makes up who we are as beings and what people see on the outside. Most important, it is what God sees in our hearts as we live for Him.
Achieving success as you live for God’s purpose is no easy task and requires certain qualities. Qualities such as strength, courage, and perseverance are easy and quick to remember when you are talking about achieving success. The qualities I am referring to, however, are those of conduct which a lot of people tend forget about during times of struggle or in the heat of the moment. Most of the time life can get so busy that we easily forget about God’s Word and how He wants us to conduct ourselves. The more time we spend away from scripture, the more we separate ourselves from Christ. When I went through the Armor of God series last year, I mentioned that the only weapon we have is God’s Word which the Apostle Paul referred to as the Sword of the Spirit. Just like any sword used for battle, knowledge of God’s Word must be maintained and sharpened consistently. Our mind is what takes the knowledge of God’s Word in, before it is inscribed into the tablets of our hearts. Having consistent knowledge of His Word will keep us sharpened so we do not forget the principle values that we must strive to live by every day.
For this article I am listing a segment of scripture that relates to Godly character and conduct as a reminder for all of us. Everyone knows the fruits of the Spirit which Paul presented in Galatians 5. If you have not read Galatians 5 then I highly recommend you sharpen your sword over Paul’s words. Also read Colossians 3 for extra sharpening of character.
The segment I want to discuss is coming from the Old Testament in the Book of Psalms. Particularly Psalm 15 which is titled “A Psalm of David”. This Psalm is about a person’s character as they dwell with the Lord. As you walk with the Lord throughout your life, do you exhibit the kind of character He wants you to project to the world? By looking at the character traits written in this Psalm, most of us can say, this looks pretty simple. But, think about how you conduct yourself during times of hardships and struggle. Do these character traits suddenly get thrown out the window?
I simplified each character trait from chapter 15 for easy reference and mixed in three different versions: NKJV, NIV, and ESV. When I read scripture I normally go through different translations to get a better understanding of God’s Word. Read through these traits below and ask yourself if this is how you conduct yourself as a child of God. If not then lets get to work. For me personally, I can say I have my weaknesses and I also have work to do.
Look at each character trait listed below and think of a recent time where you might have failed to meet one of the standards listed. Also, think about a time where you feel you exhibited this character. Its good to study God’s Word so we can see where we may fall short and see where our strengths are when it comes to personal conduct.
I was reading Proverbs 8 and what a good reminder of the excellence of wisdom.
This past weekend I had an awesome time of praise and worship at Heavenfest in Morrison, Colorado. It was 2 days of watching Christian musicians from a variety of genres. The crowd was people of all ages praising and worshiping our Lord Jesus Christ all day and all night. The weather was hot but it was worth it. There was one Christian rapper that stood out to me because of the messages that he shared upon the stage. They were messages that needed to be heard by all that were there, especially the younger generation. The rapper goes by the name Propaganda. I found this one particular message that everyone must hear and share.
Sword of the Spirit
Everything starts with the Word of God. You need to understand that God’s Word is truth about salvation. Understanding and living with this in your heart and mind brings out the righteousness from within you. As you invite the Holy Spirit into your life, it encourages you to be faithful, to be strong, and to deploy wisdom of His Word. Multiplying this knowledge can turn into wisdom that helps you make upright decisions toward any situation that comes your way. The Sword of the Spirit is God’s Word, the only combined offensive and defensive weapon that He provides. In Hebrews 4:12, Paul describes God’s Word as sharper than any two-edged sword. Imagine handling the sharpest sword in the universe! To handle a sword of this quality in battle, you have to be wisely trained on how to use and maintain it. This particular sword needs to remain at its sharpest at all times and carefully handled when used. The more you read God’s Word the sharper your mind and spirit become. God’s Word is living truth that lives inside you so you want to handle His Spirit with great care and attention. It needs to be handled in a way where that truth maintains its integrity by not letting it become distorted through disregard. Once you misuse or neglect your only sword, the truth that you learned when you first received it can be forgotten or misleading to others as you try and use it without continuous training. Always stay up to speed in God’s Word and keep your sword sharpened daily.
How is this incorporated into the Framework to Life? As you read God’s Word and welcome His truth into your heart, you develop a relationship with the Father. Having a relationship with Him inspires you to keep building it up through His word. As you are encouraged to soak in His word daily, your whole outlook toward success in life becomes more clear. Your decisions and the choices you make in planning and executing toward your dreams become driven by a spirit that is inspired by the Lord Jesus Christ.
As a believer in Christ and with a dream of fulfilling a purpose, you will encounter physical and spiritual battles. There will be forces that will try and stop you such as fear, regret, discouragement, opinions, and many more. A clear representation of someone that endures life through spiritual and physical battles is seen in the book of Job. As you read through Job you will gain the understanding that God is with you but He wants you to pull through using your own heart and grit. As you become successful and live for the Lord do not be discouraged! God wants you to succeed in life! God wants you to push the limits! He wants to see you shine as you live without fear, and win your battles.
New series starting! I will discuss the Whole Armor of God and how we need to apply it within the framework of our lives. Each week I will go over one piece of armor at a time. To get started I recommend reading Ephesians chapter 6:10-20. It’s short so go ahead and study the whole chapter! 🙂
David’s legacy started with one moment. That one moment not only changed his life but changed the world. When David was young his job was to watch over his father’s flock of sheep. Protecting a flock wasn’t easy back then given the limited tools and weapons they had. According to scripture David protected his flock from the mouth of a lion and from the paws of a bear. Armed with a stone and a sling, he must have had tons and tons of practice to perfect the way he used them, especially against predators like he encountered. He also had a heart for the Lord and a passion to protect. He knew his purpose was to be a protector so he perfected the way he used his sling in every way that led him to that moment when he stood up against Goliath. God groomed David through his own passion by testing him with challenges such as the confrontations with the lion and the bear. God groomed him for that moment of perfection that changed his life. David had a relationship with the Lord and as you read 1 Samuel 17, you can see his passion for the Lord in the moments that led up to his triumph over Goliath.
Perfection is a word that scares a lot of people. Most people say that you can’t be perfect, and I believe it is true but that idea should never excuse someone from applying the kind of effort that strives for perfection. Striving for perfection and fully understanding your purpose results in quality effort in anything you do. David must have applied quality effort into every rock that flew out of his sling. God could have guided that rock himself to strike Goliath’s forehead but I don’t think He wants to work that way. He wants us to perform the work through our passions. He wants to see us put in the effort and strive for perfection as we glorify His name in everything we do just as David did as a young man.
Your character defines who you are as a person, but there is true character and there is acting. True character is what’s in your heart and the only one that can fully see it besides yourself is God. The question to ask yourself as a Christian is, do you consistently project your heart out to the world? Or do you have a spiritual valve in your heart that you open and close depending on your surroundings? Does your character change depending on who you are around? This can be confusing because it makes you wonder who you really are sometimes. I know this can be common with new believers but as they progress, they will eventually realize and reshape their character by re-aligning their values as they freshly read the Word. That’s because it’s that fresh fire inside as they learn about Jesus for the first time and feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. We all felt it in the very beginning, and it is an awesome feeling. But if you don’t maintain the knowledge and don’t live it consistently, that flame begins to diminish over time and world distractions begin to take over the time you use to spend with God, so that feeling goes away. You have to be diligent in the Word to transform your character and to live under righteous principles and values.
The point of all this is that the principles you set for yourself must be consistent daily. Keep that feeling going! You need to consistently feed your mind and heart. Take in the knowledge and live it. If you become wise in the Word, then you have established a strong foundation for your life.
Lets tie in your dream with your character. Lets say you have a dream and you have found your purpose in this world as you become consistent in God’s Word. By welcoming Christ into your life, you have become a temple for the Holy Spirit, and have developed this very special relationship with God. Your faith is strong, you have found your purpose, and the Lord is right there with you every step of the way. This doesn’t mean everything is going to be easy and perfect in your eyes. The Lord will test you. He wants to be sure your faith is strong, not just toward Him, but faith in yourself as well. Sometimes these tests and trials can be hard and devastating and cause us to suffer in many ways. The Lord will allow us to go through this to make us stronger and build us up spiritually. It is up to you to figure that out through knowledge and wisdom by being diligent in feeding yourself with His Word. By reading the Word, you will understand that there is hope because you’re confident in God’s promises. You will understand that God is strengthening your character as you persevere through whatever pain is in your life at that point of time. Paul describes it best to the Romans:
Romans 5:3-5 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.