Posts Tagged ‘character’


2 Corinthians 3:1-6 NIV [1] Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? [2] You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. [3] You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. [4] Such confidence we have through Christ before God. [5] Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. [6] He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

 You yourselves, are the document that you ask for. Let the results speak for themselves. Paul is saying, that the Spirit of God had written the law of God on the fleshly part of their hearts.

Because Paul did not want to allow the false teachers to accuse him of being proud, he began his defense by posing two questions rather than making any overt claims.

Some false teachers had started carrying forged letters of recommendation to authenticate their authority. In no uncertain terms, Paul stated that he needed no such letters. The believers to whom Paul and his companions had preached were enough of a recommendation. Paul did use letters of introduction, however, many times. He wrote them on behalf of Phoebe (Romans 16:1, 2) and Timothy (1 Corinthians 16:10, 11). These letters helped Paul’s trusted companions and friends find a welcome in various churches.

Paul is almost shaming them, in this chapter, that it is necessary for him to prove himself to them. He says, do I have to brag on my own accomplishments, or have someone else who you respect recommend me? They had accepted the message that he brought to them originally, why have they begun to doubt?

Paul’s point was that he did not need secondhand testimony when the Corinthians had firsthand proof of his sincere and godly character, as well as the truth of his message that regenerated them.

He is saying to them, look around and see all the people who received Christ as their Savior under my ministering. Let the Christian converts there be my recommendation. All men can look and see the Christians in the church at Corinth. That should speak to all men who I am.

No human being can take credit for this process of conversion. It is the work of God’s Spirit. We do not become believers by following some manual or using some technique. Our conversion is a result of God’s implanting his Spirit in our heart, giving us new power to live for him.

Does not your heart washed in the blood of the Lamb and filled with the Spirit, not witness for me? Paul is saying that the place they are now in, with Christ, is the result of him ministering Christ to them. He says the Christ within you is because you listened to the message Christ had given Paul for them.

God was writing His law on the hearts of those people He transformed. The false teachers claimed external adherence to the Mosaic Law as the basis of salvation, but the transformed lives of the Corinthians proved that salvation was an internal change produced by God in the heart.

3:4, 5 Paul was not boasting; he gave God the credit for all his accomplishments. While the false teachers boasted of their own power and success, Paul expressed his humility before God. No one can claim to be adequate without God’s help. No one is competent to carry out the responsibilities of God’s calling in his or her own strength. Without the Holy Spirit’s enabling, our natural talent can carry us only so far. As Christ’s witnesses, we need the character and special strength that only God gives.


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 24:30 I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment

Your actions and assets reveal your character and wisdom. You cannot deceive anyone. If you are lazy, it shows clearly in various ways. If you are foolish, it is obvious to those around you. Solomon could identify a slothful or ignorant man by his fields. It does not matter what men think or say about themselves; their actions and assets tell the truth.

Solomon, in his effort to train his son and the nation for success, warned against folly and slothfulness. Both are self-destructive traits that will take a man down. In this proverb, he showed his son that he could discern the sleep habits of a man by viewing his field or vineyard (Pr 24:30-34). You cannot hide bad habits in the privacy of your bedroom!

Lazy men and fools think highly of themselves. In fact, arrogance is their ruin (Pr 12:15; 26:12,16). The sluggard believes he works harder than other men, and the fool believes he is wiser than other men. Their self-confidence and self-promotion are deceitful and destructive. They always have excuses as to why they have done so poorly in life. But all you have to do is look at their actions and assets to see their laziness or foolishness.

Solomon saw a field and vineyard overgrown with thorns, covered with nettles, and with its protective wall broken down (Pr 24:31). When he considered the neglected condition of these income-producing assets, he gained valuable insight into the life of the owner (Pr 24:32). The owner loved to sleep in his bed in the morning (Pr 24:33). Solomon knew without any doubts that poverty and pain were coming soon for that man (Pr 24:34).

Most men want to be known as hardworking and wise. They believe these things about themselves, and they are quick to tell others, if there are any doubts (Pr 20:6). But actions speak much louder than words (Pr 20:11). And actions can be verified by the condition and prosperity of your estate (Pr 24:30-34). You cannot hide your faults and failures; they are very visible to those simply observing your assets, friends, relationships, and career.

A diligent man rises to the top (Pr 22:29), gets promoted (Pr 12:24), and becomes rich (Pr 10:4). A man that loves pleasure or spending will be poor (Pr 21:17,20). A man that pursues get-rich-quick schemes will be poor (Pr 28:19,22). A man that loves sleep will be poor (Pr 20:13). A man that talks about business a lot will be poor (Pr 14:23). Those that believe testimonials will be poor (Pr 14:15; 19:2). Optimists will get punished (Pr 22:3).

Gracious persons are praised and have many friends (Pr 11:16; 18:24; 22:11). A strong man does not lose money (Pr 11:16). An odious woman is despised (Pr 21:19; 27:15; 30:21-23). Shameful children prove no training (Pr 29:15,17). A good reputation reflects wise priorities (Pr 22:1). Faithful employees prove wise management (Pr 29:21). A virtuous woman cannot be hid (Pr 12:4), but neither can an obnoxious one (Pr 27:15-16).

Fools defend themselves by saying, “You don’t know my heart,” as if there were something noble in them others cannot see (Pr 10:20). Hah! The heart is easy to know – just look at a person’s actions and results. A diligent and wise man will be rich and successful. A faithful and gracious man will have loving relationships. A fool or sluggard will not get close to these things! He destroys himself by folly (Pr 13:15; 15:19; 22:5).

Fools also defend themselves by saying, “You don’t know the acts of God in my life,” as if circumstances caused their failure. Some use poor parents or race as an excuse, which means little to nothing (Pr 14:35; 17:2). All men face obstacles, but fools and sluggards avoid dealing with them (Pr 20:4; 22:13; 26:13). There is only one Job in the history of the world, in spite of fools and sluggards claiming a repeat of his trials in their lives.

If a man or woman has few friends, it is not the fault of others. It is their fault (Pr 11:16; 18:24). If a man has no estate, it is not the fault of others. It is his fault (Pr 11:16; 21:20). If a man is married to an odious woman, it is not her fault. It is his fault (Pr 11:16,22; 30:21-23; 31:30). Neither fools nor sluggards deceived Solomon. He identified the cause-and-effect of riches or poverty, friends or enemies, success or failure.

Reader, what is your character? It has nothing to do with what you think or say about yourself. That is the most deceitful and stupid measure of all, and others do not believe it (Pr 14:12; 16:25; 21:2; Jer 17:9). Actions speak louder than words, and so do results. You are known by your assets, friends, relationships, and/or career. What would Solomon know about your heart and habits by observing your life? You can change the picture!

Your character and wisdom are known by the cleanliness and orderliness of your house; the neatness and accuracy of your checkbook; the clutter in your drawers, closets, basement, or car trunk; the mechanical repair of your car; your career progression; your bodyweight and fitness; your handshake; what is at the back of the bottom shelf of your refrigerator; your credit rating; the size of your savings account; and other such things.

Your character and wisdom are known by the character of your children; the esteem you receive from others; your number of friends; the happiness and helpfulness of your spouse; your reputation in various circles; the opinions of your parents; the opinions of your children; your demand as a counselor; the respect and thankfulness of neighbors and business associates; the number of requests for leadership roles; and other such things.

Your spiritual condition is also known by your assets and results. Do you bear the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23)? How many souls have been converted through your efforts (Jas 5:19-20)? Do your children fear the Lord (Ps 34:11; Eph 6:4)? Are you able to teach, or are you still crawling with elementary knowledge (Titus 2:3-5; Heb 5:12-14)? Do others see Jesus Christ in you more than last year (Eph 4:13)? Are you glorious in overlooking the faults of others (Pr 19:11)? Or do you complain and fight as habits (Phil 2:14-16)?

A slothful or foolish man in financial matters will be poor. A slothful or foolish man in spiritual matters will be ignorant and fruitless. But both situations can be changed by grabbing something that should be done and doing it and doing it well! Right now! Do not delay another hour. Do something good and productive right now. You can change your life situation by God’s blessing on your diligent and wise efforts. Go for it!


Under Gods Command

(Suffering)

Romans 5:3-4 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our suffering, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope. 

For first-century Christians, suffering was the rule rather than the exception. Paul tells us that in the future we will become, but until then we must overcome. This means we will experience difficulties that help us grow. We rejoice in suffering not because we like pain or deny its tragedy, but because we know God is using life’s difficulties and Satan’s attacks to build our character. The problems that we run into will develop our perseverance—which in turn will strengthen our character, deepen our trust in God, and give us greater confidence about the future.

Lets Bring it Home: You probably find your patience tested in some way every day. Thank God for those opportunities to grow, and deal with them in his strength

(see also James 1:2–4; 1 Peter 1:6, 7).