“Wow? Her reaction shocked me! That’s completely out of character!”
For “character” to have a good connotation, we think of integrity, honesty, courage and loyalty. The negative take on it, “He’s such a character!” suggests free spirited, undisciplined and entertaining attributes. The latter may not actually be all bad, but the first definition is certainly what we as Christians should strive for. When you and I accept Christ, which is to make Him lord of our lives, all His virtues do not automatically take up residence. Yes, drastic changes happen, but we still must fight our sinful nature. Galatians 5:22 summarizes some of those characteristics that we embody as believers. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness."
Just as an actor researches his character before portrayal, we must be diligent to know who we are as Jesus’ sons and daughters. I am not talking about putting on an act. Christ’s character actually dwells in us with the presence of the Holy Spirit. Jesus made this promise in John 14:15-17. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”
So, in a line up, are we recognizably different than our old selves? Do we personify the fruit of the spirit? How much love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and faithfulness do we show? We most often recognize our shortcomings after the fact. Our goal should be to feel the ugly head of our old selves rearing, and stop it in its tracks! Put off the old, put on the new. It’s work but it’s possible, and even probable over time.
So, let’s get our acts together and be men and women of character. Let’s be patient with each other as we journey to become more like Him and less like our old selves. He created us for just this purpose.
As a side note, I may have had to ask for forgiveness during the writing of this piece. I rushed to answer the telephone, kicked the storm door and split my toe, completely annihilating the toenail! I verbally expressed my pain, exemplifying how quickly feelings can affect my character. Ah, teaching moment! I’m forgiven, thanks be to God! Have a blessed day !