1. The humility to accept blame.
2. The grace to deflect praise to others.
3. The integrity to do right at all times.
4. A determination to take care of little things.
5. An attitude of gratitude.
6. An ability to say, “no.”
7. A spirit of generosity.
8. An earnestness to finish the job.
9. The resolve to do your best at what you dislike the most.
10. A tenacity to keep getting up and keep pressing on.
“…he beholdeth not the way of the vineyards.” —Job 24:18
In Job 24:18, the wicked are likened to swift running waters. The wicked are impatient and in a hurry to get what he wants.
And the devil stands by to help him get it by offering a “short-cut.” No matter what your goal is, weather it be happiness… success… making money, Satan has a short-cut to achieve it.
Rather than achieve something God’s way, which is usually the slower way, and the way that requires character and builds character, Satan offers a quicker way to get what you want.
That is what Job implies when he says, “he [the wicked] beholdeth not the way of the vineyards.” What is “the way of the vineyard”? It is the way of hard work that requires plowing, planting, pruning, and patience before reaping a harvest. That is, if you are going to reap a harvest in the vineyard it is going to require WORK and WAITING.
For example, if a person has a certain financial goal, Satan offers a “short-cut” to getting money. That “short-cut” could be gambling. I am asked sometimes by immature Christians, “What’s wrong with gambling or playing the lottery?” It is wrong because it seeks to acquire money contrary to God’s way—“the way of the vineyards.” God’s way is by hard work and wise stewardship (read Prov. 12:11; 13:11; 1 Tim. 5:18).
Yes, “the way of the vineyards” may be slower and require character, but the rewards are much more satisfying and longer lasting!
“Giving all diligence, ADD to your faith VIRTUE…” —2 Peter 1:5
No one is born with Christian character. Character is something that is developed as a person grows in Christian maturity (2 Peter 1:5-10).
A parent who says, “I won’t make my child go to youth group if they don’t like it,” shows an utter lack of maturity and character. It is a measly cop-out from doing the responsible thing and the right thing. Since when is a child’s “likes or dislikes” the deciding factor for what they should do? What if they don’t like going to school? Does that make them exempt from going?
Character is about doing what is right whether you like it or not.
Sometimes you should purposely do something you do not like doing. For example, if you don’t like eating peas, eat some peas anyway—It will build your character! If you don’t like exercising, exercise anyway—It will build your character. If someone rubs you the wrong way, go out of your way to do something nice for them—It will build your character.
Remember, it is all about character! It’s NOT about what you like or don’t like.
A child who complains, “I don’t like youth group,” needs to be challenged—“What don’t you like about it? What can you do to make it better.” Their answers will reveal their level of character. Maybe the problem is not with the youth group, but with the child who is complaining about the youth group. Instead of complaining, a person with character will determine, “I’m going to do my best to make the youth group better.”
So parent, what are you doing to instill character and integrity into your children? They won’t get it automatically. Character is BUILT, not inherited genetically.
Developing Christian Character
Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. —2 Peter 1:5-7
Peter lists seven building blocks of Christian character. Six times in verses five to seven are the words “and to.” These two words tell us the process of growth. Like the order in building a house—What comes first, second, third, etc. (Isa. 28:13, “precept upon precept… line upon line”). They are not automatic, but must be ADDED. If you don’t ADD them to your life, you won’t have them and lack Christian character.
Character is like the foundation of a house—most of it is below the surface. It’s not visible. It’s not the fancy or the frills. Character is what’s below the surface. The strength of the house is not the vinyl siding or the fiber glass shutters they put on the outside. These things may improve the appearance, but the strength lies beneath the exterior surface.
Christian character is the superstructure of the Christian life. It’s not a person’s good looks, talent, or ability that make him/her a good Christian. It is the character that they have built into their life.
How many of these building blocks had you ADDED to your faith?
Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue… —2 Peter 1:5
PRINCIPLE: Everyone rises or falls to their own character level.
A person’s talent or abilities may take them so far, but they will eventually regress to the level of their character. A basketball player’s talents will get him a good salary, but if he doesn’t have the character to match his talent, he’ll lose it in the end. A football player may have a lot of ability, but it takes character for him to be a great football player. Talent alone will never make a man great. Only character can do that. A preacher’s charisma and oratory ability will gain him an audience, but if he doesn’t have character, it will come to naught, and he’ll fall. Sadly, it happens all too often.
Never mistake your talents or abilities for character. Character, virtue, integrity, and principles will take you farther and keep you there, more than talent or ability alone. Therefore, allow God to develop character in your life.
“Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.” —Proverbs 19:1