Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ


Christian character is the characteristics of a Christian striving to follow Christ’s example.

How Would We Know

I often ask myself self-examination questions like this, “Jim, are you growing in grace? Are you getting closer to Christ? Is the Fruit of the Spirit blossoming more in you now than last week, month, or year? Is spiritual maturity something you recognize happening in you?” These are difficult questions because they require honest, unhurried time with the Lord to mediate and listen to His voice through His Word in order to answer them. They also are difficult because we need another input outside of ourselves because of the treachery and self-deception in our hearts (Jeremiah 17:9). So, what are some signs that we may see in our lives that we are growing in Christ and exhibiting spiritual maturity?

What Makes Us Different

Imagine I am your next door neighbor or co-worker who works closely with you. I am not a Christian. I know nothing at all about Christianity. I have never read the Bible; never attended a church; and never met a Christian until I met you. This is not far-fetched, it is very close to reality. I can tell you there is a generation among us just like it was in the book of Acts. They know nothing about Christianity, Christ, or the Bible. Start reaching out and talk to people about Christianity. Get involved in sharing the Gospel. You will see what the Lord said is true, “The harvest is great” (Luke 10:2). Now back to our story . . .

Being Christ To Other Christians

As we read Paul’s penetrating statement in today’s scripture, two things are present. First is the affirmation – “You were running well.” The Apostle Paul does something else. He asks a soul-searching question of spiritual accountability – “Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” Today’s Nugget explores this passage and our willingness to do two things in our relationships with other Christians: love them without conditions and invest in their spiritual lives.

Two Reasons To Get Out Of Bed

I know today’s theme has obvious answers. We have responsibilities that won’t allow us to simply pull up the covers and snuggle in for a long winter’s day of sleep. In today’s scripture, there are two spiritual truths which will energize and motivate us to get out of bed and into our day with eternal purpose: the love of Christ and our union in Christ. These two truths enable us to start each day, no matter the season, with joy, purpose, and a rejoicing heart.

The Two “H’s” Necessary For Spiritual Growth

Once we experience new birth in Christ, we begin the process of growing in Christ; a growth in grace and knowledge of Him. This process is what theologians call “sanctification”. As it unfolds, we learn this is a cooperative work with the Lord. We may pray and pray and pray, even beg God to help us know and grow in Him but nothing happens without our effort. It has been said concerning spiritual progress and service, “Work as if it all depends on us and trust as if it all depends on God.”

The Tested Christian

A faith untested and untried is a faith which must not be trusted. It will fail every time the storms of life come. It will not stand the crashing waves of tough circumstances. It is of sand, not the solid rock of Christ and His Word, and will be washed away at the first sign of difficulty. And to ensure we have the type of faith which holds during trying times, God tests us. He tries His children with intense and severe tests. He told us so – “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction” (Isaiah 48:10).