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Building Christian Character
by David Hamilton, former pastor

Building Christian character involves tasks common to all character building, but also tasks unique to Christian character building. Among common tasks are: assessment; goal setting; mastery of meanings; action; and acceptance of consequences. Not common to both are, among others: the basis on which we build; motivation; role models; source of strength; and the outworking of specific character traits. These reflect the uniqueness of Christian character building.

Building Christian character requires reliance on a basis that is nothing less than the absolute moral values of God's Word. It requires a willingness to accept honesty as God sets forth honesty in His Word, believe that the definition will never change, and refuse to toy with the definition. There is no room for moral relativism in building Christian character.
   

Building Christian character is an activity motivated by a desire to pursue holiness, and to be conformed to God's standards. It chooses the smile of the immortal God over the smiles of mortals, and works to win that smile. It selects for its role models great men and women of God, living or dead, rather than leaders in such fields as education, entertainment, or government.

Serious study of God's Word is essential in order to seek out the absolute meanings of various character traits as God reveals them, and to understand them in their proper context. We need to marinate our minds and hearts in God's truth. We must employ prayer, also, seeking God's strength for the work of building. We labor in vain if we labor without God, so we pray fervently.

Building Christian character with these and other tools will result in actions that differ from those of the non-Christian. The character trait of trustworthiness will be as absolute, as unconditional, as it is in God's Word. When we vow to love, honor, and obey until death comes between us, we cannot readily seek divorce. The generosity Christ described in His story of the Good Samaritan will be the standard for our own generosity. Tax deductibility will not determine our charitable giving. God will.

Finally, we must realize that building Christian character is neither a substitute for the work of salvation, nor a means of earning salvation. It is an application of God's moral absolutes to our lives, and it is vital for the true Christian, but it can do nothing to save us from sin.
 

 

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