Constancy of Character-1

     We have been thinking recently about the idea of constancy as a theme of life. The constancy I have in mind is grounded in a good and proper relationship with God. It is exemplified in Paul’s words from Galatians 2:20: ‘I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Let’s consider how we can relate the principle of constancy to that which defines who we really are: our own character.

     One of the dictionary’s definitions of character includes the idea of moral constitution. The Bible teaches that we are freewill moral agents (Ezekiel 18), that is, we decide what we are going to do and how we are going to be. In our sad little world many folks look for excuses about why their personal character has flaws. But the mature view is that we have to decide these things for ourselves. We are who we decide to be.

     The key to success in this endeavor is to use the proper standards and tools to build one’s personal character. As you might expect, I believe that these standards and tools are found in God’s Word. There are many places in the Bible that can help us with this. Ephesians 6:10-18, Colossians 3:1-17, and Galatians 5:16-26 come to mind immediately. However, the most important passage for me in this context is Romans 12.

     Soon after I obeyed the Gospel I asked the man who baptized me (Roger MacKenzie, a fine Christian gentleman who is still working for the Lord) what I could do to remain faithful. He directed me to Romans 12. That passage, he said in so many words, is a wonderful summary of how to live the Christian life. I would say that it is a guide to the formation of a Christian’s constant character.

     There is first the principle of non-conformity, followed closely on by the principle of transformation (Romans 12:1-2). We have to be open to allowing the will of God to inform us as to the right and proper way to live.

     The second principle for a person of constant positive character is to have a realistic self-image (Romans 12:3-5). As Paul said, we should not think too highly of ourselves. Instead we should understand that we sin (Romans 3:23, 6:23) and we need God’s grace and the gospel for redemption (Hebrews 5:8-9). More to follow next week.