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by Lenora McWhorter
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Character is our distinct traits or patterns of behavior The thoughts and intentions of the heart shapes a personís life. Character includes moral strength, self-discipline and fortitude. Jesus is our pattern for holy living. He bore our sins and made it possible for us to become new creations by taking on His nature, which is reflected in our character. To be a person of character we must submit ourselves to Godís code of conduct and live up to His standards. A proper understanding of what God has done for us will help to shape our view of how we see ourselves. We have worth because of who we are in Christ. God breathed a part of Himself into us so we could be like Him and have His character. God gives us the Holy Spirit to empower us to live by His value system.

Then shall thy understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.

KNOWLEDGE is having facts and living what we know. Knowing God and His Word is the greatest knowledge and that is the chief duty of man. God is knowable and has revealed Himself to us through His Son. True knowledge is a Spiritual gift and is connected to faith. It gives direction, conviction and assurance to faith. Knowledge is necessary for teaching and for Christian growth toward a mature faith. Knowledge is acquired progressively and growth for the Christians is on-going. As we grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, we become more fruitful as His witnesses.

Trust in the lord with all thine heart, lean not to thine own understanding.

FAITH is confidence that God will keep His promise. It is the foundation for all that we do and say. Faith is a way of life for the believers, it is Christianity in action We are admonished to walk by faith since it is the basis for all we believe. Faith develops when we live as if we believe God will honor His Word. Our beliefs shapes our behavior and our conduct When faith becomes full grown character is formed. Our faith is at its greatest point when we are facing adversities. You have patience to endure and courage to trust when you have deep faith. God honors our faith when we accept His promises as facts and act on them. Faith comes alive at the point where we apply GodĎs Word to any situation.. It brings the unseen into plain view, and is manifested by our works as it shapes our character.

Wisdom is the principle thing therefore get wisdom; and with thy getting, get understanding.

UNDERSTANDING is the ability to comprehend, to think, to learn. God gives us His Word to help us understand His ways, His will and His purposes. Your understanding of Godís love for mankind is vital to the way you live your life. The only way to develop character is to renew our minds to Godís truth. Change begins in the mind and manifest itself in our behavior. God declared His love through His Son Jesus and have laid down some simple laws for man to follow. All we have to do to receive Godís manifold blessings is to follow His laws. To misunderstand God and His word is to deny ourselves what God has in store for us.

For wisdom is better than rubies and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.

WISDOM is knowledge applied. To know and understand God is the key to wisdom. Wisdomís starting point is God and His revealed Word. To be wise is to respect and reverence God. Wisdom is the foundation on which all of life is built. When we have wisdom we have light to guide our steps. The more a person fears God, the more he will hate evil. When we make God our lifeís partner He leads us step by step. To seek Godly wisdom will make the wise person wiser and will guide us toward right living. The wise person fears God, trust Him and seek to obey His will. Godly wisdom shapes our values and our values shapes the decisions we make.

The righteous shall never be removed but the wicked shall not inherit the earth.

RIGHTEOUSNESS is right living and being in a right relationship with Jesus. This should be the ultimate goal for every Christian. Godly lives are the greatest testimony the world ever need to see. Righteousness leave a fragrance that lives on after we are gone. Happy is the man who is deeply rooted and walks daily with the Lord, he have potential for double blessings. We are Godís work of art and His living epistles, our lives are testimonies that we are followers of Christ. As we hunger and thirst after righteousness and live Godly lives we reap the blessings God has promised. The mark of a Christian is that he will go the second mile and turn the other cheek. He pursues peace and make every effort to do good for the glory of GodĒ The Spirit produces character traits when we live in the fear of God and follow in the path of righteousness

A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight.

HONESTY is fairness and straightforwardness of conduct. It is a virtue of great worth. When we make a decision to live untainted lives we become people of high character. An honest person is blameless, upright and sincere. Honesty is more valuable than wealth, and will not compromise good for evil. When one is honest he hates pride and every evil work. He is swift to apologize and willing to forgive, will acknowledge mistakes and be quick to confess. It is better to be poor and honest than to be rich and dishonest. The character of an honest person is revealed when he is under pressure. An honest person is willing to be the example he want to see in others. He is not blinded by deceit or arrogance.

There is he that scattereth, and yet increases, and there is he that withholdeth more than is fitting, but it tendeth to poverty.

GENEROSITY is when one gives lavishly and unselfishly. It begins when we give ourselves to God. Jesus gave the disciples a principle to guide their actions as they ministered to others. They were to give as they had received. That same principle can be found throughout the New Testament. Godís source of power, guidance, strength, comfort, peace and joy flows to us in abundance. He gives grace generously without measure. When we walk in the light of the Lord, we recognize that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Knowing God affects the choices we make, we learn to give up self-interest and think of others first. Generous giving sets in motion the flow of Goodís favor.

CHARACTER AND SPEECH: Proverbs 15:1 & 4
A soft answer turneth away wrath but grievous words stir up anger. A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but preverseness therein is a breach to the spirit.

SPEECH is to speak or to communicate our thoughts and feelings. The mouth speaks out of the overflow of the heart. Our words are powerful and can create life or death around us. Kind words are like honey, they make people happy. Harsh words pierce like a sword and cause pain. A soft word soothes and turns away wrath. It can change an enemy to a friend. Harsh words stings and can turn a friend to an enemy. Therefore, we are to put quality into every conversation and think before speaking as we strive for excellence in our words. The right words spoken at the right time is worth more than gold.The words we speak is a snapshot of who we are. When character speaks he speaks words of wisdom and gives good council.

When a manís ways please the Lord He makes even His enemies to be at peace with him.

GODLINESS is an attitude and style of life that reflects Godly character. A Godly person See God in everything, serve Him in every way. It helps us to maintain a spiritual sweetness that exudes kindness and service to others. It is impossible to live godly without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Living a Godly life in a ungodly world is the calling of every Christian. We are called to be salt and light and help others to know that God is the answer to every problem. Living for the Lord means our life has direction and we know where we are going because we follow in the footsteps of Christ.

Better is it to be of a humble spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud.

HUMILITY is an attitude of the heart where one shows reverence for God and respect for others. Christ humbled Himself, can we dare not do the same. A humble person value other people, invest in them and expect nothing in return. Your own burdens grow lighter when you share the cares of another. At the end of the day when we look back we will have to say, ďIt was all of God and none of me.Ē It is me-nothing, God-everything. To admit our weaknesses actually shows how strong we are. So lay aside the spirit of self-centeredness and pride, because pride is like a theft it steals the glory that is rightly due to God. Jesusí concept of greatness is by being humble. This principle builds character and will transform every area of our lives.

A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish

TRUTH is that which is reliable and can be trusted. Godís truth is the basis for all other truth. Godís truth is reflected in His Word and in His attributes. We are told to fear the Lord and serve Him in faithfulness and truth. As we walk in the light of Christís love, we walk in the truth. Knowing the truth will set us free because Jesus is the source of all truth. He is the perfect standard of what is right and He is the reality of all God has promised. The person who walks in truth is reliable, sincere and dependable. A truthful person is a person of nobility and character.

A wise man is strong, yea, a man of knowledge increases strength,

STRENGTH is to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. The ability comes from God, He is our source in all things. Life doesnít just happen, God is constantly at work in our lives, molding, making, leading, shaping, directing and strengthening us. Though we are imperfect and fragile, subject to mistakes and failures, God covers us with His grace. Christians are called to battle the forces of evil in the strength of the Holy Spirit. We prepare for battle by putting on the whole armor of God. We trust Godís goodness, persevere, persist and never give up. When we go daily in the strength of the Lord, our problems wont crush us when we have the confident assurance that God is with us.

By long forebearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone
PERSEVERANCE is maintaining Christian faith through the trying time of life. It is to exercise self-control and wait before the Lord. By persevering we accept every circumstance as being from the hand of God and is designed to strengthen us. Suffering produces perseverance and keep us from shallowness. Oftentimes we have to press our way against the odds. If the sun set on your problems, refused to be discouraged because Godís mercy is new every morning. Perseverance is learned when there are trials in our lives. There can be no victories without battles, there can be no peaks without valleys. If you want the blessings you must be prepared to fight the battle. When hardship, difficulties and trials come, God uses them to grow our faith and to teach us endurance.

He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be an abomination.

OBEDIENCE is to hear Godís word and act accordingly. It is to walk a straight path, to find Godís will and do it. Favor with God is reserved for those who choose to obey Him. God rewards obedience and punishes disobedience. Developing Christian character starts with a commitment to obey God even when we canĎt see our way. We demonstrate our gratitude to God for His goodness toward us when we obey His Word. Obedience is total surrender to God. When we choose to disobey God we forfeit our blessings. Out of a grateful heart and complete trust in Godís faithfulness, we give ourselves completely to obey His Word as an act of gratitude.

Every Word of God is pure; he is a shield unto those who put their trust in him.

GODíS WORD is the revelation of His will to us, the guidelines for our lives. The Psalmist asked a question for us. ďHow can we maintain Christian character and stay pure in an impure environment? We all wonder where can we find the strength and wisdom in the midst of an evil society? The Bible is our road map to keep us on the right path as we travel through this life. It points out safe routes for us to take and obstacles to avoid. It build strong character traits by giving us examples to follow. Christ is our model, He was morally pure and was in no way contaminated by the culture of the day. God has given us His Word to show us the way. If we ignore the road map we are likely to wander aimlessly through life. Standards to live by are clearly set forth in the Scriptures Nobody reaches spiritual maturity without the written Word of God.

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