Characteristics God Desires in the Life of a Believer
If you pay any attention to the news, you’ll see there’s no short supply when it comes to leaders who have had serious failures. Whether it’s in government, business, or the Church, it seems as if more and more prominent figures wrestle with major faults- in reality, it’s probably not an increase in the shortcomings, rather an increase in exposing them to the world. Humankind has always dealt with sin and we are remarkably talented when it comes to keeping these sins in the dark. “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23 tells us. Reality: Sin is part of the human experience, but it doesn’t have to rule over us (see Genesis 4:6-7).
The Good News: We follow a god who came to change (and challenge) the ways of the World. I want to direct your attention to a phrase that’s often used to describe prominent individual’s failures. Often when sin is revealed in a leader’s life, it is said that they had serious “character
flaws” or that they “lacked character.” Good, strong character matters and seems to be the mark of a good leader.
When it comes to leading others, working in a team, or living a life reflective of Jesus, character is central to success. We are all born with some degree of character, but much of it also needs to be shaped. In fact, a large part of a YWAM DTS (Discipleship Training School) is learning about how to develop character and characteristics that reveal God’s work in us.
Here are a few specific areas that are extremely important and should be developed throughout the life of a Christian.
“Pride goes before the fall” a proverb accurately states. Guarding against pride is crucial. Humility is certainly an undervalued character trait in our day and age. As C.S. Lewis beautifully states, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” Pride is dangerous as it obstructs our perception of both ourselves and the needs of others. God “emptied” Himself when He became human, Philippians 2 tells us. Christ became a servant and as a human humbled Himself for our sake. As Christ followers, we are saved through faith in the King who was willing to be humiliated. If God was willing to stoop to our level, then we too should be willing to humble ourselves for the sake of Christ.
Proverbs 15 says that “A soft answer turns away wrath…”
This highlights the effectiveness of gentleness when met with adversity. We actually have the power to diffuse situations by how we respond. Gentleness is rarely something one is born with, rather it is something we must choose and develop. Holding your tongue is an art (a lost art even). Gentleness requires humility. Once we stop defending our egos, we will experience greater freedom. Gentleness looks like not having to have the last word in an argument. It looks like pausing before responding harshly. It looks a lot like surrendering our “rights” to be right. Others are drawn to righteousness, but never self-righteousness. Jesus tells us “blessed are the meek” and exemplifies what it is to be gentle while enduring suffering before His crucifixion. We must learn from his powerful display of gentleness and let go of a need to defend ourselves at the expense of others.