The Character of the New Man
Who may worship in Your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter Your presence on Your holy hill? Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts. Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends. Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the Lord, and keep their promises even when it hurts. Those who lend money without charging interest, and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent. Such people will stand firm forever. (Ps 15 NLT)
When I read this Psalm, I get stirred up to be this kind of person. I also get convicted! What about you?
God has been refining His church. Many, including myself, have been crying out to the Lord, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.” (Ps 139:23-24 NKJV) Holy Spirit has been faithful to answer this prayer, convicting us, causing us to repent, working holiness in us and making us more like Jesus.
God has been faithful to His Word. The challenges, trials and tribulations we have been experiencing have been developing perseverance and perseverance has been developing character. (Ro 5:3-4 NKJV) We will be a bride who has made herself ready! (Rev 19:7)
God has also been showing us that He has given us gifts to be used for His glory and for the equipping of the saints, for the edifying (building up) of the body of Christ and strengthening and encouragement of fellow believers. (1 Peter 4:10-11; Eph 4:11-16) He has been reminding us that we are to keep the unity of the Spirit (Eph 4:3). We are a team!
God cares about our character and lifestyle not just about our gifts and anointing. Gifts of the Spirit are freely given. Character development comes with time and personal effort. God invests time into us, developing us into the character of Jesus. We must partner with God in this life-long process (Phil 1:6)
As John the Baptist declared in Jn 3:30, He must increase, but I must decrease.”, so must we, so that Holy Spirit will be speaking and working in and through us and therefore, Jesus will be glorified and lifted up.
We must take on the character of Jesus so that we can give words of Spirit and life like Jesus did. (Jn 6:63); so that we can be the kind of person described in Psalm 15; so that we can look like we belong to Jesus, separate from the world.
Let’s look at character: what it is, how it is formed, proven and affected
- Character is the inner life of man reflecting either the traits of the sinful nature or the divine nature. (Mt 15:18-20; Eph 4:17-24)
- Character is the sum total of all the negative and positive qualities in a person’s life, demonstrated by one’s thoughts, values, motivations, attitudes, feelings & actions.
- Godly character is formed by our commitment to Christ, a love relationship with Him, desiring to know Him and be like Him and to make Him known. (Jn 17:3; Gal 2:20; Mt 5:13-16)
- Character is produced and displayed when we are under trial. (Ro 5:3-4 NLT)
- Character is proven by our actions. (Phil 2:22 NKJV)
- Character (moral habits) is affected by who we hang around with. (1 Co 15:33)
This is what comes to my mind when I think about character:
- Humility: Serve in humility, like Jesus. (Mt 20:28)
- Holiness (1 Thess 3:11-13; Eph 1:4; Heb 10:10, 14)
- Commitment-to various aspects of life: family, neighbors, employers, the church, our health. (Col 3:18-25; Mt 22:39; Heb 10:25; 1 Co 6:19-20) The chief commitment of our lives is to God Himself. (Mt 22:37-38)
- Perseverance: constancy-the characteristic of a man who is unswerving (not changing or becoming weaker) from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and reverence for God by even the greatest trials and sufferings. (2 Peter 1:5-8)
- Submission: to God and to one another. (Joshua 24:23; Ja 4:7; Eph 5:21; 1 Peter 3:1,5; 1 Peter 2:18; Heb 13:17)
- Integrity: the condition of being without blemish, completeness, sincerity, soundness, uprightness, wholeness, honesty and adherence to a pattern of good works. (Pro 11:3; Ps 25:21; Titus 1-10-qualities of a sound church) WOW! Holy Spirit we need you!
Whose character do you want to have? GOOD NEWS! We are being transformed into the likeness of Jesus! Be encouraged as you read 2 Co 3:18; 1 Jn 3:1-3; Ro 8:29-30; 2 Co 5:17; Phil 2:13.
Let’s look at the character of the new man-the character (fruit of Holy Spirit) according to Col 3:12-15 NLT
Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tender-hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. (Col 3:12-15 NLT)
- Tender-hearted mercy, oiktirmou-compassion, pity
- Kindness, chrestotes-goodness in action, sweetness of disposition, gentleness in dealing with others. The word describes the ability to act for the welfare of those taxing your patience. Holy Spirit removes abrasive qualities from the character of one under His control.
- Humility, tapeinophrosune-Modesty, lowliness, humble mindedness, a sense of moral insignificance & a humble attitude of unselfish concern for the welfare of other. It is a total absence of arrogance, conceit & haughtiness.
- Gentleness, praotes-a disposition that is even-tempered, tranquil, balanced in spirit, unpretentious, & that has passions under control. The word is best translated ‘meekness,’ not as an indication of weakness, but of power & strength under control. The person who possesses this quality pardons injuries, corrects faults, & rules his own spirit well.
- Patience, makrothumia-lenience, forbearance, fortitude, patient endurance, longsuffering. The ability to endure persecution & ill-treatment. It describes a person who has the power to exercise revenge but instead exercises restraint.
- Peace, eirene-a state of rest, quietness, calmness & tranquility. A perfect well-being. It includes harmonious relationships between God & men, men & men, nations, and families.
- Love, agape-an undefeatable benevolence & unconquerable goodwill that always seeks the highest good of the other person, no matter what he does. It is the self-giving love that gives freely without asking anything in return, & does not consider the worth of its object. Agape is a love by choice. It refers to the will rather than the emotion. (1 Co 13:1-14:1; Ro 5:5)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (Gal 5:22 NKJV)
Personally, Holy Spirit has been working and continues to work on my character. It has been a journey, needing to be reminded often of the work He has done, is doing and continues to want to do. I desire to serve and minister in a way that people only see Jesus and give Him the glory! I desire to look and live like the holy woman God has made me in Christ. I desire to be a woman of my word, committed to the people and purposes God has put in my life and on my heart. This certainly takes perseverance and determination to not give up. My computer screen saver has a declaration that says, “I will never give the devil the satisfaction of seeing me quit.” Knowing God’s promises and what He has called me to do, purposing in my heart to seek God first and being obedient to Him, knowing that He is with me, have helped me to persevere through some tough times. I desire to be a woman of integrity-honest and upright. Eph 5:21 is such a beautiful picture of how God wants the body of Christ to be towards one another. Agreeing with this and being obedient brings such joy as it causes me to know that I am not along-I am part of a team!
I encourage you to look up and read the scriptures and allow Holy Spirit to speak to you and make you holy and clean. (Eph 5:26 NLT)
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work. (2 Ti 3:16-17 NLT)
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Rev 2:7 NKJV)