Faith is the substance that links us to God and makes us who we are. It goes along the same line as the old antic, we are what we eat. The more we learn about God, the more faith we have and the more like Jesus we become. Knowledge leads to conviction which leads to faith which causes change and builds character.
People place their faith or trust in different things to help them get through life. Some people rely only on themselves while others depend on drugs, alcohol, sexual activity and even food. The essence of all of these dependencies is that their decision on where they’ll put their faith is one that forms their character.
But faith or trust in worldly substances or in oneself is deceptive and leads to destruction because they don’t build Godly character through the conviction of God’s Spirit. Instead, they give a false security to those who follow them by giving only temporary courage to perform their jobs, face the world or deal with their problems.
Faith in God builds character. As we study the Bible, our knowledge of God grows and our faith gets stronger. And the more we put our faith to work the more developed our character becomes. And the more our character develops or matures, the more we are convicted in our hearts, and this leads us to change from our old ways so we can become more like Jesus.
What are the characteristics of someone who does not know God?
Galatians 5:19-21 describes worldly characteristics this way: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.” It goes on to say that these characteristics prevent people from inheriting the kingdom of God because they don’t know God.
What are the characteristics of Jesus?
Jesus’ characteristics are referred to as the “Fruits of the Spirit”, and they are found in Galatians 5:22-23. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,meekness and temperance.”
Our character is not developed over night. It’s built as we grow in faith and it’s comparable to a child attending school. She begins in the first grade and is taught and tested and then she goes on to the second grade and is taught and tested on that level, and then continues until graduation. At that time the child has had to learn and be tried for everything along the way. Each test was more intense than the last and required more studying.
And it’s the same principle for faith. We study God’s Word and then we’re tested on it. The only difference is that in school the tests come automatic and we have no choice but to do them. In real life, however, we can choose to test our faith or not. God presents the opportunities – the tests – and we can accept them or opt out and go the way of the world.
King David said that God tries us like silver, “For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.” Psalm 66:10
All these tests add to our character. If we don’t put our faith to the test as we grow, our confidence and trust in God is very limited and our character remains weak because we’ve got some characteristics of the world and only some characteristics of God. If we put our faith and trust in God and test our faith as we grow, then we build our character to become like that of Jesus, and we become strong in faith and a useful vessel in God’s ministry.
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” … Romans 12:2