1. Character development is not the first topic of evangelism. Proselytization of prospective converts calls attention to more familiar topics such as baptism, forgiveness of sin, the love of God, the Kingdom of God, the resurrection, the second advent, and any number of other biblically appropriate, introductory topics. Against this background, discussion of character development may be deferred until after baptism. If that was the case in your conversion experience, then it is fitting that you begin self-study, examining the role of suffering in the develo
“…Be… holy for I am holy” (1 Pet 1:16). “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day. The night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4, NKJV). “Each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it. …It will be revealed by fire… [that] will test each one’s work, of what sort it is” (1 Cor 3:13, NKJV). And when testing is over, Christ returns with His “…reward… to give everyone according to his [or her] work” (Rev 22:12, NKJV). “In My Father’s house are many mansions.
“…God is good to Israel… [that] are pure in heart” (Pss 73:1 & Matt 5:8, NKJV). “…Keep justice, …do righteousness, for My salvation is about to come…. Blessed is the man who does this, ….who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, [Isa 58:13], and keeps his hand from doing any evil” (Isa 56:1-2, NKJV). If ever you feel—“…I have cleansed my heart in vain…; all day long I have been plagued, and chastened every morning; …[then go] into the sanctuary of God…” (Pss 73:13-14 & 17). “…The Lord is a God of judgment!
“…There will be a time of anguish greater than any since nations first came into existence….” (Dan 12:1, NLT). “Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. …But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life” (Rev 2:10, NLT). “Many will be purified, cleansed, and refined by these trials…” (Dan 12:10, NLT). “I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold…” (Zech 13:9, NLT).
“Who can live and not see death or who can escape the power of the grave” (Pss 89:48, TNIV)? “How frail is humanity! How short is life, how full of trouble” (Job 14:1, NLT)! But don’t be depressed by the previous sentences, because in God’s house there “…are many mansions… [and Christ ascended and is preparing] a place for you” (John 14:2, NKJV). Thus, in our limited time on earth, everyone is constructing a building, called character, either through obedience or disobedience (Matt 7:21-27).
“…Scripture… corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right” (2 Tim 3:16, NLT). “The word of God… exposes our innermost thoughts and desires” (Heb 4:12, NLT); and “…is a lamp unto [our] feet, and a light to [our] path” (Pss 119:105). These processes are on-going activities in the soul, where the principles of Christ—righteousness, holiness, justice and goodness (Luke 1:74-75; Isa 35:8 & 63:18; Pss 96:9; 82:3; 2 Chron 6:41; Pss 31:19 & 107:9)—must be firmly planted.