Like a Tree Planted by the Waters Devotional Reading and Podcast
Spiritual Growth and Transformation is a life-long journey that requires total dependency on God. We dedicate ourselves to God, pray, and study the Scriptures, yet, there is a missing piece in our walk with Jesus, we are not diligent in the self-improvement of our characters.
Character is who we are because of our relationship with Christ. It is something that can be built and learned as we follow Him. Furthermore, genuine Christian character is not just about our personality or our disposition. It is a description of who we are as Christians ̶ and what we are called to be in our entirety. Seattlechristiancounseling.com
A Noble Character is Formed by Stern Battles with Self—Christ has given us no assurance that attaining the perfection of character is an easy matter. A noble, all-around character is not inherited. It does not come to us by accident. A noble character is earned by individual effort through the merits and grace of Christ. Mind, Character, and Personality, EGW
Throughout the Scriptures, we are admonished to overcome innate character traits that are a result of our desperately wicked hearts [Jeremiah 17:9]. James tells us a person who cannot control their mouth has a religion that is worthless [James 1:26]. The apostle Paul addressed the church in Galatia regarding their ungodly traits, “Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:26).
“…Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but think of yourself with sober judgment, according to the measure of faith God has given you. –Romans 12:3
God has given us the mental faculties to do our part in changing our unrighteous characters and cultivating the character traits that are acceptable to Him. Reflecting on our present thoughts, habits, and lifestyle and admitting that we are not in alignment with God determines whether or not we will experience character transformation.
Faith and obedience to God along with diligent prayer and study of the Word of God demonstrate our efforts to have a steadfast relationship with Christ. “…for without me, you can do nothing (John 15:5). The human effort of seeking righteousness requires willingness, intentional actions, and persistent faith.
Spiritual transformation–Sanctification is being changed into the likeness of Christ [His Character] which requires a lifetime effort.
Prepare yourself for a tough battle in forming a noble character. Do not react with emotions when things go wrong. From the long wait to the mix-up in your to-go food order, remember you will be tested and your trials will increase! Humility prompts us to pray for God to search our hearts and reveal all sinful traits, whether inherited or learned behaviors. Faith, determination, and diligence are the requisites of human effort that facilitate change, but spiritual transformation does not come from works alone.
We pray daily for strength from the Holy Spirit. Not only will the Divine Intervention of the Holy Spirit give us the strength to win the battle over self, but we will also receive the anointing and power to overcome all unrighteousness.
The Scriptures identify the character traits that God expects us to have.
“Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. …'” (Matthew 22:37-39).
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such, there is no law. (Galatians 5:22 and 23).
Behave Like a Christian
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:9 through 21).
Most of us struggle with our faith. Especially when we have to use it to overcome temptations and in the waiting periods when God is silent. Think about this, we use faith every day in a secular sense. We expect our employers to render fair treatment and pay our salaries on time, and use our credit and debit cards to make online purchases.
Based on Google reviews and recommendations from family and friends, we learn of the longstanding reputation of companies that propels us to commit to long-term contractual agreements to purchase vehicles and houses. During the business transaction, we do not doubt the company and think about filing a lawsuit for retribution just in case anything goes awry. We place our complete faith and trust in their reputation.
Although our global economy is unstable, most of us never think about researching the financial solvency of a business, before signing a contract. Every purchase we make including clothing, furniture, and food, we place our complete faith and trust in the businesses. Now it is time for us to have unwavering faith in God!
“Thus says the Lord: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the Lord’” (Jeremiah 17:5). It’s time for us to stop placing all of our faith and trust in humanity who will fail us.
We have received the innate gift of a measure of faith. It is up to us to exercise the steadfast belief in an Omnipotent God which is necessary for our faith to grow from mustard seed to a mountain. Throughout the Scriptures, God reiterates that salvation comes by grace through faith.
Paul who was transformed from the murderer Saul to a faithful and godly apostle knows that our faith triumphs in trouble, “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope (Romans 5:3-4).
Make the steadfast commitment to change your character. Keep persevering! We are the recipients of a crown and eternal life made possible by King Jesus who is telling us to keep going.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit (Jeremiah 17: 7 and 8).
Prayer: Lord, we pray for the strength, power, and presence of the Holy Spirit to change our unrighteous character. We acknowledge that we need a spiritual transformation to receive our heavenly reward and wear the garments of righteousness. Thank You for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in Your Holy Name, Amen.
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