“Christian Character, The Lord Tests Our Hearts”, Gospel Study with Christian Quotes (Sanctification, Spirit of God, Transformed Hearts)

We long to be defined as people of Character. In a world that is fraught with perplexing challenges, the heart needs to be reminded that in the Bible character is an unchanging excellence that God defines not one of the world nor our circumstances. Surely we strive and fall short, we fall and rise back up. But in keeping our gaze upon the Lord, we walk in His Promises and commit to obey them.

Character is defined as strength of moral fiber. A.W. Tozer described character as “the excellence of moral beings.” As the excellence of gold is its purity and the excellence of art is its beauty, so the excellence of man is his character. Persons of character are noted for their honesty, ethics, and charity. Descriptions such as “man of principle” and “woman of integrity” are assertions of character. A lack of character is moral deficiency, and persons lacking character tend to behave dishonestly, unethically, and uncharitably.

A person’s character is the sum of his or her disposition, thoughts, intentions, desires, and actions. It is good to remember that character is gauged by general tendencies, not on the basis of a few isolated actions. We must look at the whole life. For example, King David was a man of good character (1 Samuel 13:14) although he sinned on occasion (2 Samuel 11). And although King Ahab may have acted nobly once (1 Kings 22:35), he was still a man of overall bad character (1 Kings 16:33). Several people in the Bible are described as having noble character: Ruth (Ruth 3:11), Hanani (Nehemiah 7:2), David (Psalm 78:72), and Job (Job 2:3). These individuals’ lives were distinguished by persistent moral virtue.

Character is influenced and developed by our choices. Daniel “resolved not to defile himself” in Babylon (Daniel 1:8), and that godly choice was an important step in formulating an unassailable integrity in the young man’s life. Character, in turn, influences our choices. “The integrity of the upright guides them” (Proverbs 11:3a). Character will help us weather the storms of life and keep us from sin (Proverbs 10:9a).

It is the Lord’s purpose to develop character within us. “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart” (Proverbs 17:3). Godly character is the result of the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification. The Lord is pleased when His children grow in character. “You test the heart and are pleased with integrity” (1 Chronicles 29:17; see also Psalm 15:1-2).

We can develop character by controlling our thoughts (Philippians 4:8), practicing Christian virtues (2 Peter 1:5-6), guarding our hearts (Proverbs 4:23Matthew 15:18-20), and keeping good company (1 Corinthians 15:33). Men and women of character will set a good example for others to follow, and their godly reputation will be evident to all (Titus 2:7-8). (Source: http://www.Got Questions.org)

Christian Quotes on Character:

  • Nothing so clearly discovers a spiritual man as his treatment of an erring brother. —Augustine
  • The expression of Christian character is not good doing, but God-likeness. If the Spirit of God has transformed you within, you will exhibit Divine characteristics in your life, not good human characteristics . God’s life in us expresses itself as God’s life, not as human life trying to be godly.Oswald Chambers
  • What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what kind of a person you are. —-C.S. Lewis
  • The test of Christian character should be that a man is a joy-bearing agent to the world. —Henry Ward Beecher
  • Meekness is one of the brightest graces which can adorn the Christian character. —J.C. Ryle
  • Greatness lies, not in being strong, but in the right using of strength; and strength is not used rightly when it serves only to carry a man above his fellows for his own solitary glory. He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own. —Henry Ward Beecher
  •  The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. —Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Doctrine is useless if it is not accompanied by a holy life. It is worse than useless; it does positive harm. Something of ‘the image of Christ’ must be seen and observed by others in our private life, and habits, and character, and doings. —J.C. Ryle
  • A great many of those who ‘debunk’ traditional values have in the background values of their own which they believe to be immune from the debunking process. —C.S. Lewis
  • As the excellence of steel is strength, and the excellence of art is beauty, so the excellence of mankind is moral character. —A. J. Tozer
  • This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections.—Augustine

“Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord,” Exodus 14:13 Reflection and Commentary. (Trust God, Challenging Times)

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I discovered this post as I looked back on 2018. The message of God’s leading and peace in His Promise was a sweet reminder for all days…

Early this morning my heart dove into Exodus 13 and 14. When I came to these words and the promise that followed I felt like reading it over and over. Each time it was more stirring. I grasped the message of how we are to respond in a time of trail not only in Old Testament times but today, here and now. The application of God’s teaching was vivid.

These were the words of Prophet Moses as he answered fear of the children of Israel (Exodus 14:13) when they cried out in fear to the Lord.

“Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today.”

They could not see where they were being led. Behind them was a great danger. In front of them was no tangible evidence of anything but a fearsome wilderness.

Surely we can each relate in both large and small ways to this dilemma in our own life experiences. Aren’t we constantly faced with moments both in daily life and in our larger life choices when we are called to “step out boldly” with trust in God and in His Promises to us? I can relate to many instances when I have felt that there was only a fearsome wilderness of the unknown before me. I had no tangible evidence of outcome either of prayer or promise. I had no evidence of support. More frightening, (to my mortal heart) I did not have a prophet near lead me and quell my fears. I did have Faith in Jesus Christ with direct access to His Altar. I have The Promises of God that light my way with the potency of the Pillar of Fire. This is precisely when this scripture can speak to our hearts.

It is life-altering to find that God is with us, more- that He leads us forward faithfully.

In the commentary by David Guzik, I found an insightful outline of Exodus 14:13-14 that explained the commands so that we can clearly see a way of “walking through a challenge” using The Lord’s Wisdom. I formed a summation in this way.

Pause Fear: “Aware, Beware” Our only help is God.

Stand Still: “Attend, Bend” Allow all time for all strength to shift to God/ Let Peace reveal His Plan.

Draw back in Prayer: “Go to God” Listen, Trust, Seek Him. Seek His Counsel at His Holy Altar. Recognize His Infinite Ability. This is the source of Godly Courage.

Believe to His Promise: “Believe, Receive” Salvation is yours. The Lord will fight for you.

Step forward with The Eternal View: “Act, Walk the Holy Fact” The present and the eternal both are raised to God, His ability and power are omniscient.

Moses, known to be more humble than any other man in the Old Testament (Num. 12:3), brought the Jews out of slavery in Egypt and led them to the Holy Land that God had promised them. When we apply the courage of responding with these convictions it necessarily humbles the parts of ourselves that have been conditioned to respond ‘from the gut’; to lash out with first response, react from panic, protect ourselves and create barriers, forge ahead using falsely formed planning and most especially the mode of anxiety-driven responses that can be everything but productive, even harmful. The firm command from Moses gave them resolve to move beyond fear and act with courage.

Further in the next passage (Exodus 14:15-18) when Moses cries out to God in desperate prayer, God’s answer “Why do you cry out to me?” The Lord prompts Moses that it is time now for action. Moses had encouraged the faith of the people by showing confidence and great courage – now it was time to act.
( Reflection; LWillows)

Commentary on Exodus 14:13-14 by David Guzik

Exodus 14:13-14 Moses responds with great courage. Commentary Study from David Guzik David Guzik, Bible Commentaries; Blue Letter Bible/Exodus

And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”

a. Do not be afraid: At this point, Moses had no idea how God would help them in the situation. All he knew was God certainly would help. In a sense, Moses knew he was in such a bad situation that God had to come through.

i. When we see that our only help is God, we are more likely to trust Him. Sometimes it is the little things – the things we think we can do in our own strength – that get us down, not the big things that we know only God can do.

b. Stand still: Moses told the people of Israel to stop. This is often the Lord’s direction to the believer in a time of crisis. Despair will cast you down, keeping you from standing. Fear will tell you to retreat. Impatience will tell you to do something now. Presumption will tell you to jump into the Red Sea before it is parted. Yet as God told Israel He often tells us to simply stand still and hold your peace as He reveals His plan.

c. See the salvation of the Lord: Moses didn’t know what God would do. Yet he knew what the result would be. He knew that God would save His people and that the enemies of the Lord would be destroyed. He could say to Israel, “the Lord will fight for you.”

i. “Salvation is used here in its literal sense of saving life, or of victory instead of defeat in war. As the Old Testament moves on, ‘salvation’ will gain a more spiritual and less material sense (Psalm 51:12), although the Hebrew was not conscious of any sharp contrast between the two.” (Cole)

d. You shall see them no more forever: The idea behind this implies much more than at first look. Moses perhaps spoke in terms of eternity as well as their present time.

© David Guzik

“An invitation to Love and Honor with God in our Hearts”, from L.Willows (Loving Jesus, Humility, Trusting God)

We have all been challenged, each in our own unique ways to be led to a new understanding of the word respect in our spiritual and life journeys. Respect is a very weighty word. It’s influence is felt in our lives, relationships and in our world. We need be respectful when we honor one another in loving relationships.

Romans 12:20 —“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”

Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

According to Vine’s Greek Dictionary the word respect (Noun and Verb) [Verb] apoblepo means “to look away from all else at one object” (apo, “from”), hence, “to look steadfastly”. It is translated “he had respect” in Heb 11:26, AV (RV, “looked”). As a verb, it is epiblepo to look upon” (epi), and is translated “have respect” in James 2:3. From this definition I begin to see that respect is a steadfast gazing upon one thing while attention to the rest is diminished. Surely there are deeper interpretations and commentaries. For a Christian the One Thing is Jesus. It will always be the Gospel and the Law of God in all situations.

Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

1 Peter 5:5 “Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

So regardless of what situation we are walking through, if we want to honor God in our hearts by fixing our gaze upon Him, we need to respect Jesus by looking with steadfastness. That means to be steady and unwavering in our obedience to His Word and trusting in the Promises of God.

If our gaze slips, and in this complex world if does- as soon as our hearts realize that we have lost sight of Him and are not living by the Law of His Promises, we need to get back into the Sight of Him. We reset our gaze and allow what was diminishing our view or viewpoint to become distant. The best way to do that is prayer, confession, repentance and deeply honest longing to restore relationship with God.

John 16:33 ” I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Being seated with God at the Throne because of right relationship is the goal of every Christian. It is the result of a that relationship. It is the cumulative effect of ongoing sanctification as His Beloveds. This is were we find the value of respect. When we live in this way, we become honorable people. It is not an honor that is filled by the world or by worldly means. It is honor that comes from knowing and being filled by the love of Jesus Christ. His Justice is eternal and true. He bestows Kingdom honor, a way of walking with Him, for Him and because of Him that is a cause that precedes all others. One’s heart is altered by the Love of Christ.

While we may face trials and challenges in this life, the invitation to love and honor God is extended to each of us in every moment and throughout our lives. We have the chance to embody Godly Respect by how we speak, how we carry ourselves, how we interact with others and how we express God’s love in our communities. We are not the arbiters of justice or judgement. Only God has that power. We can only gaze at God with all of our hearts and saturate ourselves with His word and His Promises walking forward.

Romans 13:1 “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”

When we trust Him, we respect him. We give God our complete gaze. The eyes of our hearts are fully upon Him. The clamor of the world weakens in it’s ability to distract or sway the heart and mind. This is true discipleship. Jesus said “Follow me”. This is how we follow.

John 3:16-17 ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

I respectfully gaze at that with my heart. I give my heart to that right now and allow everything else to fall aside. The Lord, my Shepherd draws me forward lovingly. He draws each of you as well. Let’s follow Him.

© 2020 Linda Willows