Building blocks of Christian character

Published 8:27 pm Saturday, February 4, 2017

By Larry Stover

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

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People who decide to get serious about their relationship with Jesus Christ will inevitably begin to focus on the building blocks of their Christian character.

It involves being a strong positive example to everyone we meet as well as possessing attitudes and actions that reflect the change that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ makes in our lives. Second Peter chapter one examines the need of building on the faith that establishes us in Christ.  Christ’s “divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life.”

That chapter gives us eight pieces of the foundation that can and will develop the kind of Christiana character that is essential for impacting your family and friends for the Kingdom of God. “Faith” is the foundation block of 2 Peter chapter 1. Our relationship with Jesus Christ is based on our faith and God’s forgiving grace. Ephesians 2:8-9 set the stage, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” God’s Word makes this message clear. “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” It adds, “The Just will live by faith.”

We add to our faith “Goodness or virtue.” In Proverbs we note that “a woman of virtue is worth far more than rubies.” A virtuous Christian is someone whose spiritual qualities reflect the assets of strong positive Christian character. We add to virtue “knowledge.” Every believers in 2017 needs a fresh desire for knowledge about the Bible and the marks of a follower of Christ.

Hearing a sermon on Sunday is not enough. Bible studies and personal devotions are essential in today’s world. In addition to Knowledge, we add “self-control.” One on the disheartening attitudes of people today is this “get over it attitude.”

Why is it that fewer and fewer people want to take responsibility for their behavior? Self-control is one of those Christian virtues that is essential for developing durable Christian character. Next on the list is “perseverance.” It reminds me continually that all of us go through tough times.

I am also reminded that “tough times never last but tough people do.”  For the Christian on this journey of life, we build a stronger relationship with Jesus Christ and others with qualities such as persistence, determination, stamina and pure grit. The sixth block is Godliness. For Christians to be most effective today in reaching others for Christ and pleasing God, there needs to be a spirit of holiness, righteousness and purity that only comes as we reflect Jesus Christ in our daily lives. We add to our Godliness, “brotherly kindness.” The question has been asked for many decades, “Why can’t we just get along?” The problem is that we are trying to establish and maintain relationships based on human ideals. Even the best of the best values fall short unless they are grounded in the principles of God.    

The last virtue is “agape or self-less love.” This unconditional love is the zenith of Christian character. It is always others oriented.

In the formative years of the church, a common observation of the believers was “behold how they love each other.”

That spirit among Christians can turn the world around.

Second Peter 1:8 sums up the passage on Character building with these words, “if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

It will also make our live “Simply Beautiful.”