In our meditation yesterday, we looked at the rewards of the believer. We concluded that godly character is the goal of our faith and that we will be rewarded by how much of the character qualities of Christ are in us.
Dictionary.com defines the word character as: "the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing." We are being transformed day by day in our souls and spirit through every event we experience. Everything in life tests our character, and our reactions to life's inequities accurately measure our character. Reputation is not godly character. Your reputation is what men think you are; our inner character is what God knows we are. If we respond in obedience to the Spirit of Christ in each situation we encounter, we are molded into the image or likeness of Christ. If you are a Christian, you are predestined by God to be transformed into the representation of Jesus Christ. Paul the apostle writes about these truths:
28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers (Romans 8:28-29, Emphasis mine).
God foreknew you and predestined you to be transformed into the image of His Son. It is easy to go by this passage without thinking through the implications of what the Holy Spirit wants to teach us. We cannot blame God for the bad things that have happened to us; sometimes, these things have happened because of our choices. God says that He will use each situation to work good into our lives if we are open to His teaching and leading us by His Spirit. The beautiful thing is that God has seen the end from the beginning. He had each of us on His heart before He created the world. He foreknew you and predestined you to be shaped and molded into a person like His Son. “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16). The Message Bible translates that verse in this way, “Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day.” The work of God in the world is to prepare you for eternity.
"Character on earth will prove an everlasting possession in the world to come" (J.C. Ryle). If you want to be great in the sight of God, how are you responding to the difficult circumstances that have come your way? Are you ready and prepared to meet your God? How much of the character of Christ will you reflect on that day?
What do you want the outcome of your life to be? What do you want Jesus to say to you on that day? He will say to many, “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” and I hope that you are a believer and that He will one day speak those words to you, dear reader. If you want to be effective with your life and leave the world a bit better by being here, it is wise to stop and ask yourself what kind of difference you are making with your life? Is it a difference that only lasts for this life, or is it eternal? Do you labor for temporary rewards for your skills, time, energy, and money that you spend, or for eternal rewards? “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal” (Matthew 6:19-20). Please help us, Holy Spirit, to live for eternity. Keith Thomas