God is concerned with the heart qualities of every leader, not merely their gifting. D. L. Moody once said, “If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself.” Character development comes by the power of Christ within us and it is only revealed by the power of Christ in us and a process of time. Promises are only inherited through faith and patience working together in our lives (Heb. 6:12). We are called to be a part of the plan of God’s kingdom in the earth and the testing of our character is linked to our ability to fulfill our destiny in this world. We are part of the hope of Christ’s calling, a testimony of His inheritance in the earth, and one piece in the revealing of His power at work in the world.
Ephesians 1: 18-19 …the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power…
God’s purpose for mankind far exceeds what each man is simply called to do. Man was created in the image and likeness of God. We were created to be perfect, as God is perfect. That perfection is not just an individual testimony, but it is being part of something corporate. It is one of being a part of the body of Christ that reveals the character, nature, way, power, and authority of Christ in heaven and upon this earth. Our aim in life is not to fulfill some great commission of personal ministry. Our goal is to see Christ formed in us and in the lives of those we lead. Our goal is to come to become a perfect man, which is a corporate expression of Christ in the earth. There is no perfection without the process of God’s grace in our lives (Rom. 5:1-5).
Hebrews 2:10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
As the sons of God we are destined to reveal God’s glory in this world. We are being made perfect through sufferings. It is through the sufferings of our lives that we manifest the true character of Christ within us. This is the power of God’s kingdom to the world. This is the key to His will being done and His kingdom coming into our lives.
What is character? Character is the seat of one’s moral being. Character is the inner life of a man and it is manifested through the outer expressions of that man. Character is the combination of qualities that distinguish any person from another. The true character of our lives is displayed in our actions while we are under the pressures of life. Within us are attributes of both the character of Christ and the character of our own carnal nature. Our character is manifested in our thoughts, values, motivations, attitudes, feelings, and actions. The Greek word for the testing of our character is the word GS1382 dokimh/ dokimeœ and it means trial, proof by trial, 2 Cor. 8:2; the state or disposition of that which has been tried and approved, approved character or temper, Rom. 5:4; 2 Cor. 2:9; Phil. 2:22; proof, document, or evidence.
True character is only truly revealed when we are under pressure. Character is not what we will be; it is what we are. It is easy to say that our character is a certain way, but our true character is manifested when we face pressures in life. Character includes your thoughts, motives, and attitudes. Our character affects what others see, but our character is deeper than that which can be acted out on the surface. Only the ‘heat’ of pressure can reveal the true inner self. It is when we go through the pressures of life that the true treasures of life are revealed. It is through the testing of our character that the true works of our lives are revealed. Precious stones are created in the deepest pressures and hottest environments of the earth. They are created in the depths of the earth and then they are discovered in the common ground of the earth’s strata above the places of their creation. Pearls are the result of wounds in the soft part within an oyster. When the irritation of a foreign material is lodged in the soft tissue of the oyster the oyster releases minerals and enzymes to produce a pearl. A pearl is a symbol of love created through what could be a bitter wound of the heart. God wants us to be covenant keepers in life. We maintain the God-joined relationships in our lives through the proving of the character of Christ within us. We learn how to endure the pressures that oppose the character of Christ within us. When we face pressures in life, it is not a sign that the devil is having victory over us. The pressures of life are the very things that reveal the hidden truth within us. Christ in us is the hope of glory! If Christ is in us, then the pressures of life should manifest the testimony of Christ in us to the world around us.
Matthew 7:6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.”
A dog is a symbol of an un-covenanted person. A swine is a symbol of that which is unclean or unholy. Again, it testifies of one who does not understand the covenants of God. God wants for us to be people of covenant who become a testimony of His true treasure with a value of what makes for true love. Do we value the treasures of relationship more than the treasures of being right? Do we value the testimonies of love more than our need to hold on to some judgmental attitude of law?
Our character will be exhibited in how we seek and respond to God. It will also be revealed in how we seek and respond to people. Our willingness to remain faithful to God and faithful to one another reveals the character of our lives. This is the overcoming power for covenants of marriage, covenants of leadership, and every covenant in life.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson