Character not Comfort

In the past week during Spiritual Emphasis Days, learners of my school had three days of adventure on an African safari.  The themes were:

  1. When life is unfair, God is good.
  2. When life changes, God is good.
  3. When life is good, God is good.

The message strikes a chord with us because “a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” (Proverbs 25: 11).  God is good all the time.  All the time God is good.

However, the harder challenge may not be to question God’s goodness, but to praise Him joyfully or to treat others gracefully when life is upside down.  We need “God sighting” – a Biblical perspective!

The apostle Paul exhorted us to “be joyful always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances, for it is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18).  In Purpose Driven Church, Rick Warren says that we can joyfully praise God in all circumstances when we realize that His will is to perfect us, not to pamper us.  God is far more concerned with our character than he is with our comfort.  Sadly, no offence to educators, character is not built in classroom, but in the circumstances of life.  Character development always involves a choice.  When we make the right choice, our character grows more like Christ.

The fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – is a perfect picture of Christ who embodies all nine qualities.  How does God produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives?  By putting us in the exact opposite circumstances so we have a choice to make.  When we make the right choice, our character grows more like Christ.

The apostle James’ “God sighting” is as such: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1: 2-4).  The apostle Paul echoes that “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5: 3-4).

Making right choices in unfavorable circumstances, whether it is uncomfortable, unpopular or difficult, cultivates Christlike characters.  What choices do we make today? Let us choose AWANA…

to serve

to start small

to work at everything with all my heart as working for the Lord not for men, &

to end well

A Worker Approved Not Ashamed

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