Character can be defined as one’s ethical quality, or as Lincoln once described, “Reputation is the shadow. Character is the tree.” In examining this illustration further – how far does our own shadow stretch? Is it expansive & serve as a refreshing refuge for many, or is it a narrow shade offering little in provision, or protection? Thankfully, character can be developed. Three components operate to distinguish believers from the crowd & shape us into the uncommon likeness of Jesus (Romans 8:29):
Uncommon Traits: Why would anyone aspire to be uncommon? After all, being different increases one’s exposure to rejection & ridicule. Yet, this is why Godly people are described as noble, courageous & rare (Proverbs 31:10 & 1 Timothy 3:1). For even though nonbelievers can possess many of the character traits the Bible highlights, no one can fully discover, develop, and/or deploy them apart from Christ. This is because these traits are a reflection of Jesus Himself & are developed in us so that we can better serve Christ, share Christ & glorify Christ. Consider – does our character safely blend in, or courageously stand out?
Uncommon Training: What Gold’s Gym is to the body, God’s gym is to the spirit. Therefore, dedication, discipline & discomforts are necessary in order to acquire the benefits we desire – whether physical, or spiritual. For ultimately, in order for anything to be proven genuine, including character, it must first be refined (Psalm 66:10). In God’s gym He is our coach & will encourage us as He refines us. But are we committed to do our part? Our time with God & trusting Him are vital elements to our development.
Uncommon Targets: What good is Godly character if it isn’t used? Like carefully crafted arrows, we are aimed with precision to impact specific targets that ultimately serve to expand God’s Kingdom (Psalm 127:4). As arrows, we cannot fly on our own. In vain, we may still try, but this only leaves us exposed to be picked up & used by the enemy. Let us examine our targets – who’s kingdom do they seek to expand?
Application: “Willing Weapons” – Isaiah 49:2
Character is a powerful weapon in promoting good, or evil, that can be passed down for generations. However, only when we willingly place ourselves in God’s hands will we be shaped, sharpened & sent with divine purpose. Are their any targets, or priorities we desire more than Christ? Let us boldly pursue the uncommon & be identified as the arrows of His quiver.