Sometimes we wonder if we know what character looks like. At other times, we wonder if character even matters.
Ted Turner famously denigrated the ten commandments a number of years ago. He decided they were outmoded in America. Maybe he was thinking about things like “Thou Shalt Not commit adultery.” With as much intellectual property as he owned, he certainly didn’t think “Thou shalt not steal” needed to be forgotten.
That’s the way it is when we decide we know better than God. Without an objective standard–The Ten commandments is the best standard in the world, we are left to trying to decide what’s important to me.
What does the Bible say about this?
Simon Peter wrote to the church about faith and commitment (2 Peter 1:3-11). He called believers to remain strong in their faith. To do so, he encouraged their character development.
Without giving us an exhaustive look at character–it would take volumes to do s0–he called on Christians to mature in their faith and in their character.
He encouraged them to “make every effort” to grow in character and to supplement their faith with those areas that would move them forward in their relationship with God and with others.
This is what he encouraged.
Supplement your faith with virtue. Virtue was a common idea among the pagans of the day of Peter and Paul. It had to do with moral courage, a character trait in very short supply in our day of “going along to get along.”
Supplement virtue with knowledge. We all need the kind of knowledge of which Simon spoke–the kind that refers to discerning God’s will or purpose. We certainly need to know facts–particularly facts about Christ, but we really need to be renewed in our minds so that we might “prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
Supplement knowledge with self-control. Self-control is the last of the qualities of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). It referred to self-discipline in all areas.
Supplement self-control with steadfastness. Only the person who perseveres in adversity will be a person of real character.
Supplement steadfastness with godliness. Only a God-like character can stand the test of time.
Supplement godliness with brotherly affection. This is the word “philadelphia” which describes the kind of concern we should have for one another, especially those who make up the household of God.
Supplement brotherly affection with love. This is the Greek word “agape” which describes a god-like devotion for the eternal good of every person.
Do these things and you will exhibit sterling character which will bless everyone around you. These character traits show the power of God to change lives and to build the church in unity. They will “keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:8).
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