In recent weeks, we have considered our life metaphors. We learned that the Bible reveals 3 metaphors, which indicate God’s perspective regarding life. They are:
- Life is a test
- Life is a trust
- Life is a temporary assignment.
In his best-selling publication, The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren said that when we understand life is a test, we will realise that there is no situation we face and no incident that occurs, which is insignificant.
So, what is the purpose of tests?
Deuteronomy 8:2 provides a clue:
And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.
And Rick Warren further elaborates on the purpose of tests. He says:
Character is both developed and revealed by tests
And so, in this post, we’re going to take a look at character.
People are drawn to individuals with charisma, to people who are successful. But often, if you were to scratch below the surface of that man or woman, what you find there may not be so attractive.
On the other hand, you may know of some individuals who are ordinary on the outside yet they have such a beautiful character, others are drawn to them.
No one wants to be around people who constantly murmur and complain and see life only from a negative viewpoint. When last have you attended a function and seen people gathered around an individual who had a mournful face, who bleated on and on and on about their troubles and the only thing they had going for them was a “woe is me” attitude? It’s just not gonna happen is it?
We want to surround ourselves with people who are fun, who are positive, who makes us feel good about ourselves and who have something to offer us that will help us on, in our journey in life.
Jesus was clearly like this. Crowds followed him. Women were devoted to and freely ministered to him. His disciples fought over who would sit next to him in heaven and people left their livelihoods and loved ones in order to follow him.
How about you and me? Are you someone that others like to be around? Whom others will turn to during times of need? Are you positive, complimentary and encouraging? Or are you cynical, sarcastic, given to making cruel or cutting jibes?
Recent party political campaigns in America have brought a well-known business mogul to our attention, in the person of Donald Trump. Unfortunately, media footage has presented an unflattering and at times a quite damning picture of this candidate.
Now whilst this man may have reached the pinnacle of success as far as his business interests is concerned, his treatment of fellow-candidates and media representatives reveals an unattractive character. You could not accuse him of being a “people-person”! And even if you agreed with his policies would you want to work under his administration? Would you relish the thought of having to endure a close working relationship with him?
One of the things the Queen of Sheba noted when she came to visit Solomon was how happy the servants were that worked for him. Now that must have been a striking and unusual feature of palace life for her to notice and remark upon it. I mean, how many people notice servants? Generally, important individuals see the staff who serve them as a non-entity, as part of an inconsequential background and the only time servants get noticed is when they do something wrong.
No doubt, there was something special about the atmosphere Solomon had created around him and amongst his servants. He was rich. He was successful. He was celebrated. People flocked to hear his wisdom. Yet he did not allow these facts to inflate his ego and cause him to peer down at his subordinates with disdain. He knew how to treat others, whether rich or poor, great or small. I believe he must have had a wonderful character.
I’m not saying that everyone will celebrate you. We know the religious leaders of Christ’s day were not enamoured of him. But at the end of the day there is someone to whom we are indebted, someone who owns us body and soul (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). And so our desire should be to please Him, to seek to tailor our character and conduct to His ideals.
As purpose-driven believers and/or dream achievers the tests we face in life can either hone or harden our character. It’s not always the rich and famous who display arrogance, or pride, or a vicious tongue. Jesus said that from the abundance of our heart, the mouth will speak (Luke 6:45). In other words, the thoughts we treasure or accumulate in our hearts defines our character and if that treasure, that storehouse, is ugly then our character will be ugly and much as you may want to hide it, or put on an act, your true nature will reveal itself through the words you speak.
Negative words may not necessarily be directed towards others. They can very well be aimed at ourselves. How many times have we beaten ourselves up with the vocabulary of failure, fear and despair? Studies show that from childhood we can unconsciously absorb the negative or nasty thoughts, attitudes and behaviour of others toward ourselves. God’s Word is full of His life-giving thoughts and opinions regarding us, yet somehow we place more importance upon what others think and say about us (particularly those who dislike and disrespect us).
If we are honest, we may believe, we may even convince ourselves that we are “nice” but God does not have to dig too far below the surface for us to discover that truly we are not! As the Bible says, our own righteousness is like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).
Thank God, he was generous-hearted and wise in imputing His righteousness to us. Our heavenly father’s desire is that we conform to the image of his Son Jesus. I think you will agree with me that character-wise you can’t get a better role model than our Lord Jesus Christ.
So, my lovely followers and readers, in all your aspirations, pursuits, endeavours and successes, remember this—what you build with your gift, you can destroy with your character!
PS: I’d love to hear your responses to this post. Please let me know in the comment box below.