Wednesday, November 21

Men to Men ministries entry by my brother, Garry....

Character Counts
What is character? A definition I once heard for character was that, “Character is that which we display even when we think no one is looking.” This is fine from the world's point of view, but the simple truth of the matter is, someone is always looking. God not only sees the deeds we do when we think they are being done in secret, he sees the attitude of our hearts when we do them; whether done in public or in private. Perhaps a better definition from a godly point of view would be, "Character is not forgetting that God is always watching and that everything we do is to bring honor and glory to Him. It is putting into practice the attributes of a holy, loving God."

In the study book, "The Man God Uses," Blackaby lists several godly character qualities he believes should be evident in the life of every Christian man. These character qualities, like so many other godly characteristics we strive to practice are not things that develop over night. They are characters that only the Spirit of God can help us achieve. Since there are several godly characters mentioned in The Man God Uses, instead of glossing over all of them at one time, I would like to look at each one individually over the course of the next several weeks. So, the first character we will look at is the character of “holiness.”

The Character Of Holiness
Character is developed in the life of a Christian as he continues to allow the Holiness of God to fill his life and become part of his own nature. In The Man God Uses, the author describes holiness as, “being set apart and separate from anything that does not please God.” It goes on to say that we cannot make ourselves holy. “We become holy only through the power of Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives.”
Though our holiness will never reach God’s level of holiness, we can learn through scripture about God’s holiness and strive to make the attribute of holiness a part of our own lives. [It is when we become aware of God’s holiness that we see our lack of holiness.] (1) Isaiah noticed this when in a vision he saw God seated on his throne and the Seraphim were calling to one another, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." (Isaiah 6:3) In this vision he saw his own sinfulness and unworthiness and he cried out to God. Because Isaiah had a heart that wanted to serve the Lord God, God was able to shape him and mold him in the likeness of His own holiness. God was able to use Isaiah because of his willingness to surrender himself to God. Because of his desire to become holy as God is holy, Isaiah became a great voice for the Lord his God through out his life.

As stated in the Man God Uses, we can only become holy through the power of Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit. That’s why Paul ended chapter seven of Romans as he did when he said, “Wretched man than that I am, Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” And because of what Christ did for us on the cross, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) We have been set free to live holy lives. Lives that do not have to be enslaved by the sin that is in us as we continue to live in our fleshly bodies. Paul saw that it was only through the redemptive power of Christ that we could live holy lives for God and be victorious over sin.

Living holy lives is like being on a spiritual journey as stated here in Isaiah 35:8 “And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it.” [God is building a highway of holiness that the wicked cannot travel. God desires that our lives be that highway, the road over which others may be drawn. An unholy heart and mind are barriers, roadblocks on that divine highway that keep us from effectively praying and seeking the Lord. If we choose to fill our minds with pornography, violence, immorality, hatred, promiscuity, and self-centeredness, it becomes spiritually impossible to produce fruit of an opposite condition, a holy condition. The condition of our hearts will reflect our actions, and our actions will reflect the condition of our hearts.] (2)

What Is Holy Living Some of the evidences we and others will see in our lives if we are living holy lives are outlined in the following Scripture.

II Corinthians 7:1a points out that if we are living holy lives our lives will be pure, "Purifying our bodies from everything that contaminates body and spirit." And 7:1b says that by living a holy life we are showing a "reverence to God."

I Thessolonians 4:3-5 defines holy living as avoiding sexual immorality, learning to control our own bodies in an honorable way. We are not to live our lives in passion and lust like the heathens. Verse 6 goes on to point out that a person who is living a holy life does no harm to his brother or takes advantage of him.

According to Ephesians 5:1, "Holy living is observing God's holiness and being imitators of Christ's love." Because Christ was the visible image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15), by imitating Christ's holiness, we are observing God's holiness.

Staying on Track So, just as Christ was pure, righteous, gracious, merciful, and loving to name just a few things, we too must practice these things in order to live holy lives. How then do we stay on track and continue living holy lives? First , we continue by spending time in God’s word on a daily basis. Just reading it is not enough. We must apply it to our hearts, memorize it, and let it be the thing we fill our minds with, not the garbage around us. Secondly, by constantly reviewing the Spiritual Check list mentioned at the beginning of this study. Thirdly, remember that there is an enemy out there who wants us to fail, so never take off the armor of God, keep it on at all times. Fourthly and most important of all, we continue by realizing that we cannot be holy on our own. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to fill us and to empower us from within.

God did not tell us we had to be perfect, He knew that as long as we were clothed in human flesh we would never be perfect. He did however, tell us to be holy as He is holy, "Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, 'You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.' (Leviticus 19:2). Therefore if it is something he has commanded us to do we can know first of all that it is not something that will be impossible for us to do and secondly it is something He will help us to do.
Let us continue to strive for holiness as we press on to be all that God has created us to be.


1. The Man God Uses, Henry & Tom Blackaby, 1998 The Way Press, 8th printing 2005
2. The Man God Uses, Henry & Tom Blackaby, 1998 The Way Press, 8th printing 2005

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