Jesus Christ
Growth in Character


When Christ lives in us, He begins to change us to be more like him. These are changes in our 'being' which result in changes in how we live, i.e. what we 'do.' Who we 'are' then is foundational to what we 'do.' It's for this reason Jesus focused who He was (John 5:19-30) to explain what He did.

As we grow in Christ, we grow also in character.

Character is an aspect of who we are on the inside. This is the essence of integrity.
Character is revealed by what we are and do when no one is looking.
Character is revealed by we are and do when we are under pressure
Character is what we are and do as our 'default' tendency in certain situations.

Christ in us shapes and changes our character in many ways including:

  • Traits the scriptures call the Fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22).

  • These radically affect the way we relate to "one another," profoundly impacting the most challenging aspect of being human.

These outcomes or expressions of the Holy Spirit are expressed in our lives and relationships in countless ways, always reflecting the character of Christ, such as:

Humility - there are two common problems with the way people see themselves:

It is common for people to over-estimate their strengths, character qualities and abilities. The result is that they judge others on their behaviour and themselves on their intentions. Pride ensues.

Many others have little confidence in themselves and view themselves as of little worth. The result is negative self-talk, sometimes depression (anger turned inward) or even self-hatred.

Humility is neither. It is rather the desire to see oneself as Christ sees us. How does Christ see us?

He sees you as made in His Father's image. 
He sees you as of inestimable worth (He died for you).
He sees your wounds and shortcomings. He is committed to making you whole.

Humility is to celebrate and enjoy who you are and look forward to who you are becoming in Christ.

As such you can love, value and encourage others along the way, without any need to compare yourself to them either positively or negatively.

As such you can repent when you see your own sin or weakness and rejoice in God's immeasurable love and grace.

A Generous Spirit - is a result, in part, of whether in Christ you view yourself, and therefore act as though you are, rich or poor...

Seeing yourself rightly in Christ in turn results in generosity of time and goods...

Carol and I have friends who have reached, in their late 50's, one of their life goals - that of giving away one million US dollars. Our friends are a traditional family - he has worked in sales, moving in the latter years of his career into management, she has been a stay-at-home mom raising their three children and volunteering in their church and community. Why do they give? Because people are in need, yes. Because they are compassionate, yes. But ultimately because Christ has come to live in them and they are becoming like Him.

Moral purity - involves many things including, even what we think, and is an area of great challenge for most of us. Most people believe their sexual drives are stronger than average. I struggle here as most of us do. If you identify, please consider these aids for sexual purity.

Growing in Christ-like character is a life-long process aided by many spiritual disciplines including growing in worship, confession, a regular quiet time and reflection on the scriptures.

(Christians emphasize the "inside-out" nature of character as a spring which brings life (Mark 7:1-23). But it's not only Christians who recognize the foundational nature of character. Here are some quotes...)