There is a popular saying that eefin ni iwa i.e character is smoke, it follows you everywhere. That is the truth, wherever you go, your character trails you, making people attracted to or repelled by you; it makes them to favour or despise you, or even makes doors to open for you or shut against you. There is also a popular saying that anointing would take you to the top, but character would sustain you there.
If the issue of character is this important then we need to consider how an impeccable character can be achieved.
A change of heart
All too often, we make resolutions to stop a habit, start doing this or that right action, or start a particular good culture and so on. Soon enough, we lose that resolve and we are back to where we started. Developing a good character starts with knowing and developing a good relationship with God who is the source of goodness and contains only light and goodness. The Bible says that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all (IJohn1:5) and that every good and perfect gift comes from Him who is the Father of lights and there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning with Him (James1:17). One can only be good if there is good in him; goodness or evil is an outflow of the nature which is in a person. It is only when we make Jesus our Lord that we become children of God and have the nature of God in us; that is when we can have and express God’s nature of goodness.
We can’t blame a dog for behaving like a dog because that is what it is, neither can we blame a lamb for being gentle, because that’s its nature. In the same way, man is naturally selfish, evil and wicked because of the nature of the Devil which he inherited from Adam that is in him. However, once a person turns to Jesus Christ, receiving Him as Lord and Saviour, he becomes transformed, a spiritual regeneration takes places; he becomes a child of God and receives God’s life and nature (IICor5:17). He receives the nature of righteousness; just like sin used to be his nature, righteousness now becomes his nature (IICor5:21). So he becomes a righteous man because of who he is, not because of what he does. What he does i.e. his actions are an outflow of the nature of righteousness and goodness that is in him.
Walk in righteousness
Just like any other endeavour or activity in life, one needs to learn how to walk in the nature of righteousness. Though you may miss it sometimes, don’t stay in condemnation, repent and move forward. The fruits of the spirit are in your spirit; you have love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (Gal5:22). It has often been misinterpreted that those fruits are the fruits of the Holy Spirit; that is not correct because the original text of that scripture uses the smaller ‘s’ for fruit of the spirit. The translators changed it to capital ‘S’ making it to read fruit of the Spirit. You may wonder that if you have longsuffering in you, why do you get angry so much, it’s because you have not actively switched to that inner energy of patience on the inside, the more you practise, the easier it becomes. So the next time someone says or does something that gets you angry, switch to that force of longsuffering; say to yourself I’m a woman of God, I don’t strife, I have God’s nature of love on my inside; I’m love, I’m patient.
When depression about circumstances around you hits you, switch over to the force of joy; because God told you to rejoice always, not a moment of sadness or mood swings. I’m going to dwell on joy for a while, because joy is a powerful force. The first thing the enemy tries to attack is your joy, because he knows that is a strong arsenal you have. Once the enemy gets your joy and you yield to depression, he has successfully dragged you to his zone. Remember Paul and Silas, they were in bonds; they had been beaten with stripes in their course of working for God. You know they could have been crying and Silas could have been complaining to Paul that they surely missed God on this mission! But what did they do? They were singing and praising God right in the midst of a challenge and the victory came. Your victory is in rejoicing! (Acts 16:23-26).
Maybe you think that you can’t rejoice because you don’t feel like it; but God never said anything about feelings, He says the just shall live by faith not by sight or what they feel. Have you seen a football match before, how do you know the winning side or the losing side? The losing side are quiet and morose, but the winning side are shouting and jumping up for joy! Hallelujah! You are on the winning side, rejoice!
Love is the higher way
Love is the very nature of God, and we have that nature in us because we are His children (Rom5:14). When you choose to walk in love, you won’t miss it and will always get it right. If instead of responding to the flesh, or your natural instincts, you walk in love, you will always be on the right path (IJhn2:9-10). Now it’s not always going to be easy on your flesh and feelings, but as you yield to it the more, the better and easier it becomes. Love is powerful; anywhere it is released it will overcome the force of hatred, animosity, envy etc. When someone comes with any of these negative energies, the best way to respond and to have victory is to walk in love. If you however respond with a similar negative energy or emotion, for example someone despises you, you despise in return, you’ve come down to the zone of the enemy and he can easily take you there.If however, you walk in love, you’ll be on the victory and winning side because God never fails (I Cor13:8). Think about it, it is this same love of God that can break the most hard-hearted sinner.