View Devotion

 

Good Character 

Theme:

God does not create good character; he directs it 

Summary:

God directs the character of the righteous to his purpose 

A person's character is established early and often flows steadily through thestream of a lifetime. The events of a life may fill volumes, but the underlying character can fit ona four or five word tombstone. Troy is honest, passionate and intelligent. On balance, he issometimes impulsive and stubborn. His integrity is almost automatic; if one does not want tohear the truth, they should probably ask someone else. He is also sensitive and caring and avoidsbeing rude or hurtful. A Christian since twelve, Troy only began to seriously investigate God andthe Bible two years ago, after he completed graduate school and got married. He resisted familyencouragement to make a more active commitment earlier, because "there were too many thingshe simply did not understand".

Sometimes God takes hold of a person's life in a defining moment. God has grippedTroy's heart in such a moment. Troy awoke suddenly at 2:30 am, from a dream or vision unlikeany he had ever experienced. "He was in a room praying, when suddenly a torrent of words hedid not understand gushed forth from his mouth. He repeated the unknown words over andover. Then, their meaning became absolutely clear to him: "God is beautiful!, "God isbeautiful!". He awoke with a confident knowledge that God is real and near and that things hedoes not understand, do not really matter. All skepticism about God and his personalrelationship, have vanished and not returned. He began to seek God daily in scripture, prayer andmeditation, with an honest, open heart.

There is a consistency of character among people that God uses. David, "a man afterGod's own heart", was honest, passionate and impulsive. Peter, "the rock", was impulsive,passionate and honest. Paul was passionate, honest, and consistent. Moses, Noah, Abraham andthe other patriarchs and prophets were men of honor and integrity when they encountered God. They became men of honor and integrity, with direction. God can redirect a heart that honestlyand passionately believes a lie. A heart that responds only to convenience and self interest, has nodirection to redirect. Paul [Saul] pursued and persecuted Christians in the honest, passionateconviction that he was doing God's Work. He was redirected on the road to Damascus (Acts9:3-22). Pilate was not concerned with truth or honor. His truth was politics and power andhis question, "what is truth?", was without honor (John 18:38).

When God shines the light of Christ on the heart of a man seeking truth, the heart and lifechange. God can have a greater influence in the heart of a passionate athiest, than on adispassionate, intellectual agnostic. The honest heart does not always believe honest or correctthings, but it believes something and seeks truth. God could change behavior by force, if he onlydesired appropriate actions. He wants a person's heart and captures it by revealing truth tohonest men. "When the man of God, looks into the Word of God and sees the Son of God, he ischanged into the image of God, by the power of God, for the glory of God" [Warren Wiersbe].

God created man in his own image (Gen. 1:27), and there is a spark of God's identity inthe individual identity of every person. He has also indellibly stamped the inner knowledge ofGod's eternal power and Godhead, on every person's heart (Rom 1:20). God loves every personand desires a personal, eternal relationship with each one. We will not truly understand 'why',until we pass beyond this world.

Troy's search for God is now an examination of 'what God is doing', rather than askeptics search for the truth or reality of God. The truth is still the truth, but the heart of the oneasking the questions has changes. Troy now sees truths that were once hidden. God is usingTroy's honesty and passion for his purpose.  

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