Our personality may not change but our character can and should change throughout our life. God uses painful situations to build our character. As I shared in previous posts, in the beginning of my journey I was very weak, broken, and spiritually immature. God was rebuilding me piece by piece. He knew my thoughts, struggles and my heart. God formed us from the dust in His image. We were given life as God’s beloved children. Unfortunately, we rejected this heritage for something worthless and beneath us; a cheap imitation which the world declares as good for us. Satan is the author of this way of thinking. His oldest lie (in Genesis. 3:5) promised Adam and Eve that if they would follow him, they would “be as gods”.
What does it mean that we’re made in God’s image? Does it mean physical likeness? As if God has a body in flesh? No! Jesus tells us in (Luke 24:39) that God our Heavenly Father is Spirit. Spirit does not have flesh and bone. We must understand that we’re the creatures and we will never be the Creator. To be made in the image of God means that we’re made in His likeness.
God is interested in our character. God doesn’t want us to become gods. But He wants us to have His attitude and his character. We do have some of His attributes. For example, God can love, and we can love. God hates evil. And like Him, we can hate it too. Since we’re made in His image we’re able to have compassion, mercy, grace, and relationships just like Him, as He has with us through Christ Jesus. However, God is all knowing, and we are not. God is present everywhere, but we are not.
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance produces character; and character produces hope.”
How sad it is that some consider themselves godly individuals, going to their religious places and practicing their rituals, but do not display any of God’s character qualities that He has gifted to them. Once I explained to someone why I go to church. I said, “I don’t go to church because I’m a godly person, and it doesn’t make me one. I go because I need to know God more and I need to know myself as His child. Living in a broken world, I need God’s wisdom and discernment. That is why I go to church.”
If anyone calls themselves godly, they must know the character of godliness. Godly people are not only kind, patient, forgiving, loving and gentle, they have other qualities which distinguish them as God’s mature children. Godly people humbly acknowledge their faults. They are not in denial when they are wrong. They ask for help and do not point a finger at others. Godly people are not puffed up with pride. They encourage others to do good and are trustworthy and loyal to them, never rejoicing in someone else’s misery or mistakes. Godly people don’t pat their own shoulder, waiting for another person to validate how good they are. They simply do good and go on with their lives.
Godly people don’t bring glory to themselves but bring glory to God by living in obedience to God’s commands. Godly people lead lives of humility, they don’t flaunt their good deeds for all to see.
They love and pray for those who are lost or living in destruction. Godly people don’t try to control everyone else’s beliefs or lives, but they try to live their own life in the light of God, allowing others to witness God’s work in them. Godly people are confident, they trust God and are not insecure. They don’t let others to define their identity because they find their identity and security in God. Godly people value God’s opinion, not the world’s opinion.
Godly people fall short in their ways and stumble just like everyone else. But they don’t fall, because Christ is holding them in the palm of his hand. They quickly recognize their faults, repent and ask God for forgiveness. Above all, Godly people love God, love others and are faithful in prayer.
God doesn’t look at our outward appearance or how we perform. He looks inward, seeing our thoughts and motives. He cleans us from inside-out, not from outside-in.
In Matthew 23:25-26 Says: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”
God was building my character. I was getting stronger, seeing everything with such clarity. I asked myself, “How did I ever live my life not knowing the whole truth? In spite of all the struggles, I am now in a place of contentment and peace, a place where everything makes so much sense!”
Rick Warren said, “Contentment is not based on our circumstances, it is based on our relationship with our God.”
For me, having a peaceful and blameless life required me to hand all my old behaviors, habits and wishes to God. He gently peeled them layer by layer from my hand. Removing those old ways of living for myself was painful. But God was readily replacing them with strength, joy, and many other good things that I had never dreamed possible. What an amazing exchange, right?! He reminded me that He will never leave me nor forsake me.
I leave you now with this last thought: God’s presence with us is both a promise and a protection. He is merciful and full of grace. As our character changes, the old ways will grow dim and we will enter into more and more of His glory. Have a peaceful and restful week. See you next time in same place right here.