Character Building

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

To help me gather a better understanding of the book of Colossians that we have been going over, I have been trying do some studying in it. I have been re-reading thinking about the chapters little by little and reading a commentary called Be Complete written by Warren Wiersbe. I have found some of Wiersbe’s “Be” series books to be a good and practical help to me.

Today I was reading about Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1:9-12. Specifically, what I want to write about today are verses 11-12: “strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.”

I have heard several times that God is extremely interested in developing the character of His people. Wisdom, conduct and even service are of little value in our lives as Christ followers apart from personal character. In the above passage, Paul mentions four signs or characteristics that we are to be maturing in our walks with the Lord. They are all what we would call character development.

The first is, steadfastness or longsuffering. It means self-restraint and has to do with how we relate to people. It has been jokingly said that the Christian life would be great, if it weren’t for people. How do we get along with our fellow Christians, our spouses and the world of people around us? How do we deal with people who oppose us? The perfect example of this of course, is Jesus himself. Look at His dealings with Peter and the other disciples. How often they “just didn’t get it.” Yet Jesus never gave up. While we won’t handle this as well a Jesus, it is something we need to working toward.

The second is patience. While longsuffering has to do with people, patience has to do with circumstances. Patience is described as “endurance when circumstances are difficult.” Patience is a character trait that we Christ followers need above all else. We are to rejoice patiently in our tribulations as scripture says. One of our problems as Christ followers is that we tend to quit when things get too difficult.

Third, joyfulness. Is it possible to endure difficult times and people with joy? It is possible but not apart from the Holy Spirit. The good thing about joy is that it is not bound by circumstances or people in our lives. A joyful spirit cannot be worked up by our flesh. Joy can only come from the Holy Spirit working in us.

Fourth, thankfulness. We Christians should be thankful. Scripture says be thankful in ALL things. Is that even possible? I think it all depends on our walk with our Lord. We can confess our trust in the Lord in our circumstances come into our lives or we can go the other way and become complaining and bitter. It is a choice we make.

Longsuffering, patience, joy, thankfulness. Paul prayed that the Colossians would grow in all these things. These character traits do not come naturally to us. They are traits that can only flow our of our inner spirit. They are fruit of the Spirit of God in our lives (Gal 5:22-23) The really great news in this is that we already possess all we need to grow in these. Colossians 2:10 is a great verse that we need to memorize and live. “and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;” As pastor Brandon says, we make it so hard. I wonder at times what would happen if we actually prayed prayers for one another like are found in Colossians 1:9-12 and other places in scripture. By allowing the Spirit to changes us internally, we as a body will grow in our love and service to one another and to the world around us.

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