REFINING OUR CHRISTIAN CHARACTER (1)

JNewPhase Full Gospel Church

Davidville, #08, Dr. Dan Iya St. Opposite Unity Bank, Mararaba

NEWPHASE FOCUS CARE GROUP FELLOWSHIP

TOPIC:- REFINING OUR CHRISTIAN CHARACTER (1)

 Introduction: James 1: 18 – 27

The issue of Character Development and refinement is very important in the life of any believer. God begat us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.”

The Believer’s character should exemplify Jesus in meekness/ love/humility, etc.; and not in pride/backbiting/calumny/strife/gossip /fighting/wickedness, etc. as in the manner of the children of the world.

In other words, it’s not just who we are in Christ that matters but also what we say and do.  “By their fruits you shall know them.”  True religion is evidenced by conduct.  God’s Word is our mirror by which we see ourselves: what we are and what we ought to be.

TWO CATEGORIES OF CHRISTIANS (JAMES 1:22; Mat. 7: 24-27)

a) The Hearers only – that is, hearing without practicing what they hear.

b) The Hearers and Doers – that is, those that hear and practice what they hear.  If we are truly in Christ, our lives must show it.  Therefore Character refinement is a vital quality a believer should possess.  That is, he should be different from the world around him in cultivating divine habits. These are the wise in the eyes of the Lord. “Let your light so shine that men may see your good works that they may glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Mat. 5:16)

DEFINITION OF CHARACTER (Let the members attempt at defining character their own ways respectively first)

Character is the quality that forms the pattern of an individual’s behaviors that make up his personality. It is simply the lifestyle of an individual.

Refinement is from the word “Refine”. To refine means to:

  • remove impurities: to produce a purer form of something by removing the impurities from it.
  • make something more effective: to improve something through small changes that make it more effective or more polished.
  • make or become more elegant: to make somebody or something more cultured or elegant by eliminating less acceptable habits and tastes, or become more cultured in this way.

Character Refinement therefore is the progressive yielding of the Believer to the Holy Spirit by obeying the word of God in a deliberate choice for a lifestyle that leads to an eventual display of the fruit of the Spirit in such an individual’s life. (Gal. 5: 22-26).

Prov. 27:21; Prov. 25:4 – There are traits in our characters, either by inheritance or by environmental influence, that are exhibited in ungodly behavior in us before we became Christians. These are like the dross in the silver that needs to be removed before it can be turned into a vessel.

What mannerisms can you identify as dross in human behaviour that need to be expunged for the believer to be able to demonstrate a true Christian character?

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J NewPhase Full Gospel Church

Davidville, #08, Dr. Dan Iya St. Opposite Unity Bank, Mararaba

NEWPHASE FOCUS CARE GROUP FELLOWSHIP

TOPIC:- REFINING OUR CHRISTIAN CHARACTER (2)

Character Refinement is the progressive yielding of the Believer to the Holy Spirit by obeying the word of God in a deliberate choice for a lifestyle that leads to an eventual display of the fruit of the Spirit in such an individual’s life. (Gal. 5:16, 22-26).

WHY REFINE OUR CHARACTER?

1.       Your character shows people who you are. Your character also tells God who you actually are. Your true relationship determines who he sees you to be (2Cor. 6:14-18).

2.      Your character is the foundation of your future (Ps. 11:3). Like a building your future depends on your character. (Luke 6:47-49).

3.      Your character is the stabilizer of your destiny (1 Peter 3:13). It ensures that life challenges do not destroy you nor tamper with God’s plan for your life (Gen. 49:3-4). (Compare the life of Joseph to that of Samson).

4.      Your character is your visa to the promise land that flows with milk and honey. (Deut. 8: 6-18; Ps. 1:1-3; Ps. 112:1-3).

5.      Your character is your true beauty. (1 Pt. 3:3-4). Ungodly character makes you ugly. When you are not attractive you miss a lot of favour and lose opportunities in life.

6.      Your character is your true clothing. Your clothing is primarily to cover nakedness. Nakedness is the image of sin (Gen 3: 8-10). Your character prevents sin and shame. The way you dress is the way you are addressed. Your character determines how people rate you.

7.      Your character delivers you from a life of hypocrisy. You can hide from man but not from God (Luke 12:1; Prov. 15:3; Jam.1: 22; 2Chr. 16:9; Heb. 4:13).

J NewPhase Full Gospel Church

Davidville, #08, Dr. Dan Iya St. Opposite Unity Bank, Mararaba

NEWPHASE FOCUS CARE GROUP FELLOWSHIP

TOPIC:- REFINING OUR CHRISTIAN CHARACTER (3)

WHY REFINE OUR CHARACTER? (2)

A) So As Not to Be Self-Deceivers (Jam.1: 22)

When you hear the Word and yet it does not reflect in your life, then you are a self-deceiver (a hypocrite). We must walk in the light of the Word.

B) Because We Are Supposed to Be Followers of God (Eph. 5:1)

“Be ye followers (imitators) of God as dear children.”

          That is, constantly look at Him and walk in His footsteps.

C) We Are The Light of The World (Mt. 5:13-16)

                   “A city set on the hill cannot be hidden”

It means, let your light be seen by men through your character and good works.

D) It Helps In Fulfilling The Great Commission (Mt.28:19-20)

                   “Go ye unto all the world and make disciples; …”

When your behaviour is in accordance with the word of God, you will be bold to tell others about Jesus.

E) We Are Epistles to The World (2 Corinthians 3:1-3)

The world is watching us.  Therefore we must ensure that we walk in the light so that people will not read or misinterpret us. 

F) It Opens You Up To God’s Blessings (Ps. 1:1-3; Ps. 122:1-3)

Good Christian Character opens you up to God’s blessing. A well developed Christian Character is therefore a stepping stone to receiving His blessings.

J NewPhase Full Gospel Church

Davidville, #08, Dr. Dan Iya St. Opposite Unity Bank, Mararaba

NEWPHASE FOCUS CARE GROUP FELLOWSHIP

TOPIC:- REFINING OUR CHRISTIAN CHARACTER (4)

ATTRIBUTES OF TRUE CHRISTIAN CHARACTER

1) HONESTY (what does it mean?)

–        being faithful in all areas of life

–        living an upright life

–        being straight forward in life (not wayward)

–        being faithful to God and man

God requires honesty from all believers in all areas of life.  If you desire an outpouring of the Spirit, honesty must be your watchword.  It is possible to be honest in one and dishonest in some other areas.  Dishonesty is the opposite of honesty.  You are either honest or dishonest.  You cannot be in – between.  In order to have good understanding of what honesty entails, let us consider some aspects of dishonesty.

ASPECTS OF DISHONESTY

a) Lying (Col. 3:9)

Lying means not telling the truth.  It is telling the exact opposite of a thing or matter.  By lying, you withdraw away from God to Satan and from light to darkness making satan your father instead of God.

  • Effects of Lying: – It has no positive effect. It destroys trust.  When this happens, it becomes difficult to restore your image and will require much time and energy to gain it back. If you have been involved in lying, confess your sins, and forsake them and ask God to forgive you.  Then be determined to live a holy life.

b) Slandering (Psalm 15:1-3)

This simply means the utterance of false charge against another person with the intention to damage his image.  God gave a strong instruction concerning this (Ephesians 4:31-32)

  • Effects of Slandering: – It will cause you to lose respect, dignity and relationship.

c) Deceit (1 Peter 3:10)

This means presenting a lie as the truth and persuading others to believe the lie as the truth.

  • Effects of Deceit – It is a poison.  Therefore it can shorten one’s life. Example: Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-10).

d) Cheating (1 Thes. 4:6)

It is an act of robbery, takings things which do not belong to you by force.  God’s Word is against it.

  • Effects of Cheating

You gain nothing by cheating; rather you lose all by it.

SUMMARY:

Complete honesty is God’s demand, that is, honesty in all one’s life.  When you deal in honesty, you will have a free conscience with God and man.

J NewPhase Full Gospel Church

Davidville, #08, Dr. Dan Iya St. Opposite Unity Bank, Mararaba

NEWPHASE FOCUS CARE GROUP FELLOWSHIP

TOPIC:- REFINING OUR CHRISTIAN CHARACTER (5)

ATTRIBUTES OF TRUE CHRISTIAN CHARACTER

2) MORAL EXCELLENCE

This talks about one’s mode of life or a person’s general conduct.  Every believer is therefore expected to excel in his moral life.  When you engage your life to reflect the character of Jesus, sooner or later, people will see the light and believe the truth. 

Your moral life is dependent upon certain factors, viz:

  • Your Thoughts
  • Your Words
  • Your Deeds

YOUR THOUGHTS

The door to your heart is knocked by God or devil.  A man’s action is principally guided by the thoughts of his heart.  Though your thoughts are not visible, they are eventually transformed into action which can be seen and read.

Seed germinating

Fig. 1                                                                   Ground

Root

When you think in your heart, you are painting the picture of that particular situation; and sooner or later, that thought shall be brought to its physical equivalence or manifestation. 

Pro. 23:7, “For as a man thinketh …” In other words, thinking takes place in the heart.  It also means your actual person is determined by the thoughts in your heart.

Your life and ministry cannot be bigger than the thoughts of your heart.  Let your thoughts be patterned correctly and there will be excellent physical manifestation.  On the other hand, thoughts are invisible.  However, the invisible gives birth to or produces the visible and the invisible is understood by the visible.

Fig. 2

  Fruits                                                 Trunk

Mat.12:32-37

NewPhase Full Gospel Church

Davidville, #08, Dr. Dan Iya St. Opposite Unity Bank, Mararaba

NEWPHASE FOCUS CARE GROUP FELLOWSHIP

TOPIC:- REFINING OUR CHRISTIAN CHARACTER (6)

WEAPONS TO GUARD THE HEART:

Because the heart is a fertile ground to receive either good or bad seed, it is necessary to guard it jealously (Prov. 4:23).  The following weapons could be employed:

1)      The Word of God: Ps. 119:11: “Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

James 4:17: “Resist the devil and he will flee from thee.”

So, keep on resisting the devil until your spirit bears witness that you are free.

2)      The Name of Jesus: Pro. 18:10“The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous runneth into it and he’s safe.”

When you run into the name of Jesus, you shall be free from all the wiles of the enemy.

3)      The Blood of Jesus: Rev. 12:11 – “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb …”

John 10:10“the devil cometh not but to steal, kill and destroy …” That is, the devil’s ultimate goal is to destroy.  But with the blood at our disposal we can destroy him in our stead – because, Romans 8:31 Says, “When God is with you …”

In Exodus 112:13, the blood of cows and goats availed much for the physical Israelites.  How much more shall the blood of the Lamb avail for us spiritual Israelites? Heb. 9:13-14.

4)      The Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) The Holy Spirit supplies the power to overcome the devil and to do God’s will.  Isaiah 59:19 – “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall raise a standard against him.”

You are not limited to only one weapon; you can use a combination of two or more (double – barrel or triple barrel)

NewPhase Full Gospel Church

Davidville, #08, Dr. Dan Iya St. Opposite Unity Bank, Mararaba

NEWPHASE FOCUS CARE GROUP FELLOWSHIP

TOPIC:- REFINING OUR CHRISTIAN CHARACTER (7)

THE USE OF THE MIND

The place of the mind in Character Development cannot be overemphasized. The state of your mind influences your character and pattern of life.  Man is a three – dimensional being (1 Thessalonians 5:23).  He is essentially a Spirit, has a Soul(mind) and is enveloped (or encapsulated) in a physical Body.  The mind is the soul’s realm.

There are five major functions of the mind.

IMAGINATION – the ability to form images and ideas in the mind,

 especially of things never seen or experienced directly

THINKING – formation of thoughts/ideas to make sense.

REASONING – logical and rational analysis of events, ideas and

                         situations towards a meaningful decision or conclusion.

LEARNING – Acquisition of knowledge or skill through experience or 

     formal education.

MEMORY – the ability to retain learned information and knowledge

of past events and experiences and to retrieve that   information and knowledge when needed.

The mind is the seat of knowledge, understanding and wisdom. In other words, it has the capacity to think to reason and to be creative. The mind plays a significant role in the making of a man; as Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”.

NewPhase Full Gospel Church

Davidville, #08, Dr. Dan Iya St. Opposite Unity Bank, Mararaba

NEWPHASE FOCUS CARE GROUP FELLOWSHIP

TOPIC:- REFINING OUR CHRISTIAN CHARACTER (8)

THE MIND: A LIFE CONTROL VALVE (PROV. 4:23)

Your mind is the control valve to your life.  In other words, whatever is happening in your mind is what affects your life.  That means the choice is yours.  It either makes you or breaks you!

It cannot be left empty or void.

  • Mat. 12: 43-45
  • Col 1: 9-10

It’s like the computer in which information is stored.  Every thought and image that flows through it impresses an indelible mark on the cells of your brain and shows in your character.

The fact that you won’t like a replay of all things that ever came to your thoughts on the screen like motion picture for public view is indicative that the mind is meant for holy use.

Mat.12:32-37

Use your mind to filter what enters into your life.

  • Eph. 3:20 – Let it form images of God’s promises, your godly desires and the answers to your prayers. God Himself, imagined His image, and we are the expression of that imagination!
  • Phil. 4:8 – Let it think only in line with the thoughts of the Lord.
  • Mat 9:11; Eph. 4:17-20; 2 Tim. 2:15 – When you learn Christ, you become like Christ.
  • Is. 1:18; 1 Sam. 12:7; Is. 12:7; Acts 17:2; 18:4; 24:25 – Always analyze issues and situations out of the scriptures and the testimonies of Jesus Christ. Scriptural reasoning is very powerful.
  • John 14:26 – Rely always on the Holy Spirit for the effective use of your memory. With the Holy Spirit helping you, you will never develop dementia with age.

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