Character of Heart

John Tilton

"Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do." (Colossians 3:12-13)
As the beloved believers in Jesus Christ the general assumption is that accepting Christ as our Savior means that we become great people of character that walk in righteous ways, adhere to God's word in our daily lives and serve Him diligently. However, isn't the reality that as much as we want to be righteous in our ways, there is a carnality that is part of our DNA as people that are prone to sin and prone to character flaws? Isn't it true that our intentions are to be gracious, kind, humble, sensitive, longsuffering and forgiving that in trying times our carnal nature spews out first? These scriptures are a great reminder of not only the character and attributes we should strive for, but the challenge we will face in attempting to walk in the ways and will of God, practicing and exemplifying the character and attributes we are called to. The scriptures also detail a prominent fact that our carnality and shortcomings usually surface in our relationships with one another with the inability to engage these characteristics and attributes. Basically, when times are good, we look good and do the right things, but when challenging situations arise, we default back to our carnal ways. The words that come to mind are "character of heart." For the word says that out of the heart come forth our words and actions.
These scriptures confirm a wake-up call for our evangelism/frontlines team and myself of who God calls us to be as believers of Christ, serving and ministering to others. The scripture says "as the elect," referring to the chosen of God, in addition to those of us who are also called to serve in ministry as volunteers or on a full time basis; it is clear that we are to be the examples. However, we are often times so human and carnal in our ways.
God clearly is speaking to me that the key is my heart and feeding our heart through God's word, seeking His teaching and learning from my experiences and primarily my mistakes. I know that I often say I will, have the intent to do so, but fail in those challenging time. Yet, it is His Word such as these scriptures that I can remember and recall as a button to push to trigger the right response in my heart when I am in the "heat of the moment" or in the critical moment of the game, the 9th inning or the final seconds of the last quarter. How do I balance achieving the goal at hand with God's will for me? That is the moment that I need to have a heart check, watch my mouth, watch my body language and know who I am called to be as an "elect of God," servant and leader.
In our life group this morning three key suggestions were shared in how we can best address the desire to have the appropriate character of heart.

  1. To prepare ourselves for the challenging situations.
  2. To remember that people we lead and serve pattern themselves after us
  3. To remind ourselves as to why we are there
I am reminded that above the task and excellence is who we are and not only what we do.
Dear Lord, thank you for giving me a heart check as I bring to a close one season in ministry of serving you and embark on a new season. Thank you for giving me your Word to teach me and trigger me in the man of God you call me to be as an elect of you, a servant and leader of people. Through you may I be able to walk my talk and respond in critical moments and situations by and in your will. Like David, may you bless me with the heart of Jesus and suppress the pride of man that is within me so that I may be the example you've called me to be to honor you.

Devotions for June 17

1 Kings 20,21
2 Chronicles 17
Colossians 3

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