It's a daily choice, or discipline, to sit quietly before the Lord allowing Him to search my heart and reveal ways I've offended Him, the opportunities for a re-do. Actually, it's not really that much fun. It reveals what I've done wrong, and like most, I don't like being wrong.
This got me thinking about how even confession is a type of trial that builds character, and if I let the Holy Spirit do its work in me, it produces Christ-like character. But what is that tangibly? What was Jesus like as he walked on this earth? One answer is found in what I would consider the most unlikely of places, in what most of us call the "Love Chapter" of the Bible: 1 Corinthians 13. You know, the one read at weddings. What I've realized is that this chapter contains a beautiful list that begins with the value of character, then describes character that builds until we meet Christ and can literally see His every character quality.
I could be the best Teaching Director in all of CBS or writer in all America, but if I don't have Christ-like character, I might as well be a bump on a log. I could have the most awe-inspiring spiritual gifts but if I don't build Christ-like character, I might as well not have any gifts. I could be the most generous giver of all time, serving others with every ounce of my time and resources, but if I don't give and serve with genuine Christ-like character, it's all for nothing.
Christ-like character worth striving for is patient, kind, not jealous, humble, generous, courteous, puts others before myself, forbearing, goes out of my way for others, doesn't hold grudges, believes the best possible outcome about others and always gives the benefit of the doubt. Christ-like character believes and establishes its life on every syllable of God's Word. The person with Christ-like character trusts in God's protection and that God works every detail of their lives out for His glory and their ultimate good, even when she can't know or make sense of all the details.
As I build more Christ-like character, I will be sustained by God and grow more and more consistently in character until I meet Jesus face to face.
I won't perfectly attain these, but I must daily choose to obey the Holy Spirit working out these characterists in me. And when I derail, missing the mark, I'll confess, thanking for forgiveness and allow the Holy Spirit to rule and work these out again. These derailings, these confessions are a part of the adversity that builds Christ-like character.
Spend some time this week rewriting 1 Corinthians 13 for yourself and ask the Holy Spirit to begin working these characteristics out in you.