How does God build character? Probably not the way that you and I would choose. Well, God’s ways are not our ways. I’ll tell you one of my favorite verses in Scripture (yeah, right) – “count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations” (or, “various trials”). Saints, I do not do cartwheels when I’m going through a trial. Do you?
However, look at the character that is developed when we joyfully submit that trial to Jesus. James 1:3 informs us that “the testing of your faith produces patience.” There is great value when our faith is tried and yet, despite the pressures from without and within, we remain obedient to our Lord.
Look at the character building process described in Romans 5:3-5: “we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Whatever your trial at this very moment, ask yourself these questions: “What fruit of the Spirit is being developed in my life?” “What attribute of God am I in most need of in this trial?”
You see, we can be confident in our trials. Even in the midst of trouble Jesus is perfecting that which concerns me. One manifestation of a person with “beatitude-like” qualities is character. A guarded heart8 and a guarded mouth produce deeds and words of character.
Study the “Hall of Faith” heroes in Hebrews 11. One word is a common thread in each of these saints – character. Godly character is developed by faith, and it doesn’t happen overnight. The trials and tribulations Paul listed in 2 Corinthians 4:8,9 were actually character builders. Look past the momentary discomforts and towards the prize. Character endures. Character trusts the Creator. Character is being like Jesus.