In Jeremiah 17:10 the Lord says, “I the Lord search the heart.” Disregarding all other aspects of the person, such as economic standing, race and nationality, God looks upon the moral character or heart of man (Acts 10:35). The fact that the God of Heaven searches our hearts makes building Christian character very important.
Being spiritually minded is the key building Christian character. According to Solomon spiritual thinking leads to the development of spiritual character “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Learning to be spiritually minded is no easy task; especially when we live in such an ungodly world (1 John 5:19). The Holy Spirit tells us that Christians are to “be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among who ye shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15).
The Scriptures speak of the Christian life as a spiritual warfare, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Spiritual warfare is the battle between good and evil, right and wrong, holy and unholy and it rages on in the battlefield of the mind.
One of the greatest challenges we face as we strive to develop Christian character is that of casting down evil imaginations. Satan is intent on corrupting our minds and drawing us away from the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4 & 2 Corinthians 11:3). Wisdom from God tells us “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). It is not that wonderful blood pumping organ that is under consideration here but the moral conscience, the heart and mind of man. You might say that guarding our hearts is the second key to building Christian character. According to Jesus what is in our hearts comes out in our lives, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:19).
Since a person’s character is shaped by his thoughts, we understand that to build Christian character we must apply Philippians 4:8 and learn to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy.
True: God’s ways are just and true (Revelation 15:3). We need to learn to mediate more upon the truth of God’s word and allow it to be our guide for this life (Psalm 1:2; 119:105).
Honest, Honorable: To develop Christian character the Spirit says “gird up the loins of your mind, be sober” (1 Peter 1:13). The idea here is to think upon things that are dignified or noble and maintain sobriety taking spiritual matters seriously. We must fill our minds with that which is honorable and good and refuse entry to all that it deceptive and dishonorable. One who would have Christian character must take great care what is allowed into their mind whether by conversation, reading or watching. Those who persistently fill their minds with the profanity, foulness and filth of many movies and TV shows often wonder why they have such difficulty developing a Christ-like character. There is an old saying “garbage in, garbage out.”
Just: Justice and righteousness are the very foundation of God’s throne (Psalm 89:14). A life built on justice and righteousness is a life that reflects Christian character. God “blesseth the habitation of the just” (Proverbs 3:33) but before a man can “walk in his integrity” he must learn to think upon those things that are just (Proverbs 20:7).
Pure: To build Christian character we must keep a pure mind. One person said “pornography, sexually explicit movies, etc. have paved the way for many an act of rape, adultery, incest, homosexuality, and other equally vile sins. One simply cannot feed upon the impure and remain pure.” The Apostle Paul instructed young Timothy to keep himself pure (1 Timothy 5:22). Purity, which is the result of decency and moral uprightness of the mind, is another of those keys to Christian character.
Lovely, of Good Report: When one thinks upon things that are spiritually lovely and of good report it shows in their daily conduct. If your thoughts include these good qualities you are well on your way to developing the character of Christ.
When God searches your heart what does He see? Does He see a person who is striving to build Godly character by filling their mind with all that is good and holy or does He find a mind that is filled with carnality, sin and worldliness? There is a battle going on and in this battle “to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).
If you have a Bible question, please call (830) 868-9911, email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Church of Christ in Johnson City meets on Sunday at 10am Bible Class, 11am Worship, 6pm for Worship, Wednesday at 7pm Bible Class.