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Character Counts - A Devotion

Character Counts
Character Counts
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Romans 5:2-5 (NLT)
Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Blood counts are done on our son almost weekly in his battle against cancer. With all the chemotherapy that he has had and treatment that he has endured, the Resurrection Power of God is consistently demonstrated on this lab report. How? Chemotherapy lowers your blood count killing precious cells and although our son’s “counts” drop with each cycle – they “miraculously” recover. It has become quite a testimony. Our son has received high doses of chemotherapy not once or twice but on four separate occasions and has not required a single blood product including plasma which is unheard of. That’s not all. Although he may be a little tired after treatment, he is not overcome by weakness and fatigue. He has attended college throughout his battle pursing a degree in chemical engineering with only minimal gaps produced by human protocol not an inability to perform. On top of that, his nausea is minimal and easily overcome by occasionally taking medicine. Why do I boast about this? Because without even trying, our son’s body is demonstrating the Glory of God without his assistance. Our son decided from day one to trust the Lord for his complete healing of this disease. He has entrusted his body and spirit to Jesus Christ, but some may say he’s foolish. Yes, there are naysayers who believe that God gave our kid this horrible burden to bear and I say that is foolishness. As God heals and delivers him of it by faith, God is producing character that counts in our son. He stands in a place of undeserved privilege granted by Jesus Christ. He is confident of God’s Glory being manifested in his life so he is waiting for it.

My son is not superhuman although some might think so by his blood counts and lab reports. He just a young adult who resembles a teenager stuck in a man’s body who has faults just like everyone else. He makes bad choices, messes up and wastes time just like the rest of us. He has problems like us, too. The difference between him and most people is that he has learned to trust the Lord in this process. He is learning to be patient by waiting, and waiting, and waiting. We do a lot of that. He is developing strength of character. Character strengthens our confident hope. Hope will never lead to disappointment as we discover just how much God loves us. His Spirit testifies that to our heart and mind so we will “put on” our new nature to be like God as His Sons and Daughters. Do you have character that counts today?

Job 2:1-3 (NLT)
One day the members of the heavenly court came again to present themselves before the LORD, and the Accuser, Satan, came with them. “Where have you come from?” the LORD asked Satan.
Satan answered the LORD, “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.” Then the LORD asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil. And he has maintained his integrity, even though you urged me to harm him without cause.”

There is someone watching you. He follows you everywhere that you go and knows everything that you do. He records every word that you speak to use against you in God’s Heavenly Court. He is your enemy. He has come to steal, kill and destroy your life. The enemy relentlessly is looking for an opportunity to trip you up and mess you up if allowed to do so. Consider poor Job who was noted by God to be “a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.” Godly character in a mere man not only had the enemy’s attention but God’s as well. Job maintained his integrity throughout his first round of trials and troubles. Not satan wanted another crack at him, God offered up Job to the devil because the Lord knew that Job would overcome every situation because of his righteous character. Yet today, we expect God to end the suffering on this earth because of our account. We want Him to change His Mind and accept our Will rather than looking past the “light and momentary” struggles of today to see His Glory manifested in our life. We stop thinking that God is good, faithful and true because we are inconvenienced, uncomfortable or discontent. God is Sovereign. He doesn’t change because He does not have to. His Word, Will and Way are flawless. We chose this pathway in the dark and the Lord is desperately trying to lead us with the Light of His Love. We must understand that character counts and there is no excuse for our sinful nature to remain in control any longer.

Job 2:9 (NLT) \
His wife said to him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.”

Poor Job! Between his wife and three friends, it is a wonder that he made it through this ordeal at all. His wife obviously had a different outlook. She challenged her husband to “curse God and die.” Before you are too harsh on this woman, think about your attitude and actions when all hell breaks loose in your life. This is no different than those who ask “how could you love a God who would give your son cancer?” God didn’t give my son cancer or allow him to have it either. God is healing our son, delivering him and setting him free of this wretched disease. He is making all things new. His Word is working in his young life. His Will is the pathway of choice by our son. His Way is the only way that we will see the Glory of God manifested in this boy’s story. And no I will never pray, “God, ‘if it is your Will’ please heal our son?!” It is God’s Will to heal our son. His Son took stripes on his back to give this gift to him. The Lord is ready to heal us. He is our Healer. It’s all in the Word. But I must do what the Word says, in order to have the promises it provides. If Job had listened to his wife, things might not have turned out so well for this man. The Lord blessed Job more in the second half of his life than before the trials that he faced. He received double for his trouble. He lived a long and prosperous life. (Job 42:12-17)

2 Peter 1:3-4 (NLT)
By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

We have everything we need to live a godly life. Just knowing Jesus Christ is enough to produce every precious promise made to you by God. His Promises are noted to be great and precious because they are perfect. We are always willing to forgo the effort and settle for less thanks to our human nature. But as we commit our life to becoming God like, it changes how we prosper. The promises of God not only bless us but allow us to share in His Divine Nature escaping the corruption of this world once and for all. If hope is for this life, than it is worthless. (I Corinthians 15:19) Like Job, the second part of his life was better than before. Our life in Christ produces fulfillment not in this life, but when we meet Him face-to-face. Only those who have the Character of Christ written on their heart identifying them as Sons or Daughters of God will make safe passage to the next part of life. Character is definitely part of the process.

2 Peter 1:5-7 (NLT)
In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.

Just to be perfectly clear, we cannot earn the Promises of God. They are not for sale. His Promises are the inheritance of His Children who He loves with all His Heart. They are not a reward for something that we do or do not do. When we “put on” God’s Character we become His Children. There are many who call themselves “believers” but do not believe at all. There are many who call themselves “Christians” but will never follow Jesus Christ. They have bought the lie of the enemy and ignore the Truth. They will attempt to gain access to the Kingdom other ways except through the “Gate” who is Jesus Christ. If we want God’s Promises, we must respond to them by maintaining our integrity and pursing righteousness at all times and at all costs. Character counts to God although He is no respecter of persons.

2 Peter 1:8-10 (NLT)
The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins. So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away.

Righteousness produces prosperity in God. The more we strive to remain in good standing with the Lord, the more His Promises will manifest in our life. We are positioned correctly as we maintain the same attitudes and actions of Jesus Christ surrendering out whole life to God. Jesus radiates the Character of God. (Hebrews 1:3) As we follow His Example, we also radiate the Character of God as His Glory fills our life to overflowing. We have joy in the midst of great sorry. We will have peace in the chaos of each storm because our heart is secure and destine for His Glorious Hope that He has provided those who choose to live a life of integrity as His Precious Child.

Ephesians 4:21-24 (NLT)
Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

We must “throw off” our sinful nature and former way of life. Righteousness is against our sinful nature. We are born into sin so innately it becomes our life choice. Jesus Christ introduces us to this thing called a new nature and righteousness with God. It is not a new concept but new to us. So we must put effort into “throwing off” our old nature to “put on” our new nature in Christ. The problem is that one must go for the other to be put in its place. Salvation is for the remission of sin. Grace covers the void and penalty left by such violations against God. Grace has not ever been and will not ever be an excuse to continuing sinning. That is the lie of the enemy. God has given us His Spirit to renew our mind. (Colossians 3:10-11) We must learn to turn every thought, idea and notion over for the Spirit of God to filter them through the Word, Will and Way of God for our life. Our old sinful nature was reminiscent of the enemy who once ruled our life (John 8:43-45), but our new nature is filled with the tendencies, desires and instincts of God. When faced with a problem or trouble hits their life, true believers will cling to His Word, adhere to His Will, and move closer to His Way no matter what the watching world has to say about it. Character counts and moves the heart of God closer to His People who strive for righteousness throwing off sin to be that New Creation in Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:16-17 (NLT)
So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

You have been given a brand new life in Jesus Christ. What are you doing with it today? Does your character count toward righteousness demonstrating the freedom found by walking in His Will, Word and Way? I know life is hard believe me. But we can no longer evaluate this life by measures of fate and irony, but cling to God’s Word, Will and Way until our hope is renewed. Hope sees past today’s trouble, tomorrow’s turmoil and looks into forever with the Lord. Faith grows and as the Promises of God reach us we find that nothing else will satisfy our soul. As we begin to successfully shrug off old practices of compromise, sin and shortcomings to fully embrace righteousness, obedience and integrity with God our testimony changes and we become ministers of the Light of His Love to others. (2 Corinthians 3:6) His Name is now written on our hearts and undeniable. (2 Corinthians 3:2-3) The original word “character” is derived from “engraved mark”. As our attitude and actions align with Jesus Christ, it will produce the Character of God in our life. Did you know that your character is a testament of our life? The Word of God says that “they have defeated him (the enemy of our souls) by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.” See my friend, character does count!

Revelation 21:3-7 (NLT)
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.