As alluded to in the last post, I began thinking about the character of God. If I am to be holy as He is holy and if I'm to have the character of God then I needed to find out what His character is . . . . so I went hunting.
It was easy at first because I immediately thought of the Fruit of the Spirit.
That certainly fits.
The next thoughts were of all the 'one-anothers' that are listed throughout the New Testament, mostly in Paul's letters to the Church.
They certainly fit also as do the characteristics of Love as described in 1 Corinthians 13.
Wow, this is a very long list and it is not going to be easy when I'm in the midst of a hurting situation, to 'be' whichever characteristic the situation demands. It's going to take practice and grit to choose to respond with these attributes of God.
I know, I know . . . . I have the Spirit of Christ within me. I 'know' I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. But!! And that is a big BUT, I also know what it's like to be betrayed by someone I trusted and just how challenging it is to respond with my spirit rather than react from my flesh. I believe this is the biggest battle our souls will wage.
So, lets get on with the list, like I said, it's a long one, but if you look at each one, you will see God in every one of them. This is the standard.
Patience, kindness, loving, joyful, peaceful, steadfast, gentle, good, patient and self-controlled.
Encouraging, exhorting, supportive, strong, devoted, builds up, accepts, admonishes, cares and serves others. Tolerant, speaks truth in love, forgiveness, comforting, stimulates to good deeds and is hospitable and fellowships with us.
Merciful and compassionate, abundant in loving-kindness, meek and lowly, assertive, just, restful and peaceful, serene and slow to anger. He rejoices with truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. God covers our sins and never fails.
From Philippians 4:8 we have honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, worthy of praise and excellent.
What God is not . . . .
Complaining, does not speak against, not moved by circumstances, has no guile or deception, not passive-aggressive or abusive, does not distance Himself from us. Not arrogant nor does He brag, does not act unbecomingly, does not seek it's own, is not provoked, takes no account of a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness.
Well, like I said, it is a very long list, but if God's plan in our lives is to make us be more like His Son Jesus, then these are the attributes He is looking to build into our lives. This 'list' is what He is looking for when no one is around, when we are hurting bad, when someone cuts us off on the highway, or snubs us at work, treats us with contempt or in any other situation we find ourselves in.
I'm starting to get the point of James 1:2-4 when he says "consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have it's perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete and lacking in nothing".
When I think of testing on a practical level I think of all the tests I've done in my life. What made me successful? I had to practice over and over until I got it right.
Oh, NOW I get it!!! That's why I've had to go around some of these mountains more than once!!! God was letting me practice!
Well, another time I will write what the above attributes look like to me in any given situation. I think I've got enough to think about for today.
God bless you as you walk the narrow road of being changed into the likeness of Christ.