As I pondered this, I came across a short essay that made it all as practical as putting on our shoes or rolling up our sleeves. Pat Goggins wrote:
I describe Character as the only thing that goes in the casket with you. It’s the only thing you take with you to the hereafter. . . .
Character is returning extra change at the grocery store. Character is keeping appointments and being on time, honoring your commitments and honoring your word. Character is choosing the harder right instead of the easier wrong. Character is setting priorities that honor God, family, country, and then career.
Character in marriage is working through the tough times. . . . Character is being committed to the well-being of your family and friends, associates, and others, even if it is personally costly; and yes, Character is setting a good example.
A married person of Character acts married all the time. A person of Character is self-disciplined and self-controlled. Character implies the courage to stand for what is right, if necessary, all alone to oppose what is wrong and to make the effort to discern the difference. Character is being truthful in all things while being sensitive to the fact that sometimes the truth hurts and need not be spoken.
Do you want to be a person like that? I’m sure you do, and so do I. That’s the way we should be whenever we enter a room, go to a meeting, compete in a game, hug our spouses, tuck our children into bed, get on an airplane, check into a hotel, make a purchase, or react to adversity.
That’s what God desires for us too. He wants us to be trees that never topple, giants that never fall, people who bear enduring fruit. The Bible says:
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
And whose hope is the LORD.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.” (Jer. 17:7–8)
The ninefold fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 is a gift of God, but don’t forget: it also represents nine decisions on your part. Those decisions will affect you every day; they will transform you into a person of character who fulfills your God-given potential and inspires others to do the same.
It’s amazing to meet people like that.
It’s beyond amazing to be one.
David Jeremiah, A Life beyond Amazing: 9 Decisions That Will Transform Your Life Today (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2017).
Check out our Bible Study on the Fruit of the Spirit based on David Jeremiah’s book, A Life Beyond Amazing.
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