It’s a matter of character

Published 3:15 pm Saturday, January 21, 2017

Larry Stover

Stover lives in Valley Grande and is pastor at Praise Park Ministries Church of the Nazarene

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It might sound revolutionary to some, but I challenge the people of Dallas County to work on the one area of their life that they fully control, that is “their character.”

The outside influences that we all have, put all kinds of pressures on us with some promoting a compromise of our integrity as an easy option.

This is especially true in the Christian community but it is very important to anyone who lives by traditional moral and ethical decisions.

If we are going to have a positive impact on our community and friends; if our church is going to influence our neighborhoods, then our character must be such that people will believe in us and can trust us to have their best interest at heart.

One of the building blocks of strong Christian character is found in 1 Timothy 4:12. It reads, “set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

The first truth that I find in this verse is that we are to set an example to other believers first and then to non-believers second.  Other Christians need to look at us and say, think and observe that “we walk with God.”

That becomes the foundation of ongoing Christian character development.

The elements of that character growth involves our speech, life, love, faith and purity. 

Imagine if those five virtues were prevalent among the Christian community of Dallas County.

Our attitudes would be reflective of our character. People’s behavior and conduct would be all about reflecting Jesus Christ toward other individuals. The goal would be to have a Christ-like attitude no matter what the circumstances of any situation that we might be involved with.

An outflow of unconditional love would be evident in our relationship with others. It involves not only loving fellow Christians, but also everyone we meet.

Benevolence toward others with a positive spirit about us would demonstrate the Biblical principle of “loving others as God loves us.”

Another element of building strong Christian character would include learning to be diplomatic in our speech.

I remember as a child growing up in the church it was occasionally said that “the average altar is not long enough to sanctify the tongue of a gossiper!” Good Christian character involves having Christ-like tactfulness.

Christians today need an outpouring of God’s wisdom to guide their thoughts and speech.

These characteristics also allude to humility in the life of the believer.

It involves learning to be submissive to the ideas and decisions of others. No one wins all the time.

Could we work on being more merciful, compassionate, and kind toward other people along the way?

For some it might mean learning to be more patient, even when annoyed or enduring some situations in order to be Christ-like in character.

My last observation would be that character building has at the core of it, purity of heart and life. It takes time to be holy, and to avoid the things that hinder our spiritual growth. 

Christian purity involves having wholesome thoughts, pure motives and Christ-like actions. Purity definitely involves a lifestyle far unlike the liberal and relative philosophies of today.

It really is revolutionary to develop Biblical principles of Christian character.

The Christian faith and the church always impact their world when Speech, life, love, faith and purity are the foundation of their nature.

Their lives will always be “Simply Beautiful.”