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"Developing Christian Character"

Building Christian Character

Growing in Christian Character is very important in our walk with God. Peter said:

"But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1:5-8)

From the time a baby is born, the parents are concerned with the child’s growth and maturity. At first, a baby can only drink milk, then gradually solid foods are added until eventually, that child can eat meat.

If an infant is kept on milk past the time that solid foods should have been added to their diet, the child will become anemic and sickly, and a condition which doctors label as failure to thrive can develop. It is the same with the Christian life.

A newborn Christian will be content with milk for a time, but they will begin to thrive only as they progress to solid food and then on to the meat. The problem is that many Christians fail to thrive because they are still only drinking milk after years in the faith.

The apostle Paul addressed the issue of growing in Christian character when he spoke to the Christians in Corinth as “babes in Christ” (1 Cor 3:1-3). And again in Heb 5:12-14, the scriptures confront spiritual immaturity.

According to Peter to escape the corruption of the world, we need to diligently seek Christ to add some character traits to our faith so that we may partake of His divine nature. In other words, we can grow up to be spiritually mature and “look like Jesus” by building on a firm foundation of faith.

A baby who does not have interaction with its Mom during the first 24 months of life fails to come to healthy maturity. A healthy relationship with the Lord builds a strong bond enabling that Christian to mature into a fruitful, productive and happy adult.

This relationship is developed by cultivating an environment conducive to growth, which includes spending time daily with the Lord through quiet time, prayer, reading and studying His Word and worship.

Moses and Joshua set an example for us to follow in that they loved the presences of God. (Exodus 33:7-11) Jesus commanded us in Matt 11:29 saying “learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

The Lord invites us to an abundant life in Isaiah 55 when he says, “Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live.”

A meditation on the excellence of the Word of God is found in Psa 119; “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

As the Holy Spirit, our teacher opens our eyes; the scripture begins to take root in our heart. In Isaiah 28:9-10 we read, "Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breast? For precept must be upon precept, line upon line. Here a little, there a little.”

If we earnestly seek God, we will find him. If we desire to know him, he will send the Holy Spirit to teach us. “...Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jer 29:11-13)

A friend of mine has shared the testimony of how he spent three years sometimes 8-10 hours a day in Bible study. When I talk to him I hear Jesus; I feel the love of the Lord, and I experience the grace that only comes from a close relationship with the Holy Spirit.

Experiencing this love and grace through our friendship has only increased my spiritual hunger to know God more intimately. Prov 27:17 correlates with this experience as it states the fact that, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”

I encourage you to pray and ask God to bring friends into your path that are also desiring to grow in Christian character. May your life abound in the fruit of His Spirit, and your life exhibit the character of Christ.

Patricia Harris 

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