"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved."
- Helen Keller
"Good character is more to be praised that outstanding talent. Most talents are to some extent a gift. Good character, by contrast, is not given to us. We have to build it piece by piece--by thought, choice, courage, and determination."
- John Luther
"You can not dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself [into] one."
- James A. Froude
Leading a truly exceptional life beyond imagination comes from recognising and focusing on what is important in life. It is important to God that we develop the qualities of his nature (fruit of the spirit) and these qualities are already inside of us. We find ourselves seeking that God will move powerfully through us (which is ok) as He has made available to us special endowments of supernatural energy – spiritual gifts. The same Scripture passages that tell us to earnestly desire spiritual gifts also tell us that there is a still more excellent way. That more excellent way is love.
Mat 14:14 shows an example of how the gifts and love work together.
And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.
We see First in Jesus the fruit of the Spirit “love” in the form of compassion, before we see Him move in a gift of the Spirit “healings”. First we see the fruit, then the gift.
Jesus said…the tree is known and recognised and judged by its fruit. We are known by our fruit, not by our gifts.
People are hungry and they are looking for something real. When people taste the fruit in us and see that it is good, they will want to find the Source of this fruit – this tree of life. God has given us gifts to help people, and we can use the gifts He has made available to us to a certain extent without having developed the fruit. People may see the gifts operating in us, but most of the time they look closer, inspecting our fruit to see whether it is good before opening themselves up to receive from us.
The Bible says that we are letters of Christ read by all men. We are the credentials of the ministry in which we’ve grown. We can begin to develop the fruit by simply making little choices throughout the day that display the fruit through our actions.
It's a daily challenge to me, how about you?