You may know that God requires holiness, but it may not be clear what to expect. I will try to unpack just a small part of this in terms of what fruit we should be exhibiting, how it changes us.
One of the most important attitudes we can have is being teachable. This is because there is no guarantee that the experience we have from the past will help us to explain what God requires either now, or in the future. If God seemingly does something that is outside of our theology or experience we have two options:
- deny that it can be God and reject it.
- change our theology or update our experience.
Now this is not an invitation to jump on every dubious bandwagon that rolls past, we still have to check the spiritual validity of any new thing with reference to:
- what the Bible says
- what other Christians say
- what the Spirit reveals to us
Basically it is being obedient to God’s instruction.
He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.
We can experience God’s gifting in terms of ministry, but without character gifting can be led astray by the Enemy. The major difference between the two is that gifting is given, but character is grown. Growing our character is why we don’t ask God to change the situation we are in, but to change us so we can live in the situation. This is why Paul learnt to be content whatever the circumstances.
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
Therefore if we find our character lacking we do not ask God to fix it, we ask Him to help our next step towards a more godly character.
Character building is a process, so how do we measure our character? Galatians 5:22-23 shows us.
If we exhibit the fruit of the Spirit on a consistent basis, then we know that our character is at least getting better. This might seem difficult, maybe impossible, but God did not say Be holy, because I am holy, (1 Peter1:16, from Lev. 11) to give us some colossal guilt trip, but that because He is the Holy God, we can be changed. So we therefore ‘sow to the Spirit’ so that we can reap spiritual benefits. Don’t be weary of always doing the right thing, because in the very act of doing good, we open ourselves up to a little more of God, and are changed a little more.
Being humble is “forgetting our self, not under-estimating ourselves”. It is the way of receiving God’s support rather than His opposition. James 4:6 says that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. In fact God has any number of ways of keeping us humble, and therefore pleasing to Him and productive in the Kingdom. So what sort of life circumstances can ensure we have big dreams without having big heads?
This is only a very small part of the list:
- Unfair criticism
- Problems that can only be solved by prayer and/or fasting
- Mistakes made by leaders
- People come along who severely try us
- Having a vision only God can fulfill.
These are not problems for problems’ sake, God wants to see which way we will jump. Do we turn to Him in humility and seek His answer, or do we try to sort out things ourselves.
© Paul Wood