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11 Character

11 Character

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Into Thy Word Ministries Presents

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Understanding and Applying Biblical Character
© 1986, 2002-2005 Rev. Richard J. Krejcir Ph.D. Pasadena Ca, Into Thy Word Learning and developing Christian Character, its understanding and implementation is the essential quintessential call from our Lord for you to be an effective Pastor, church leader and a growing Christian! This will help equip you to be a mature Christian who leads others into the depths of our Lord’s precepts! This curriculum is designed to help you personally grow in your spiritual formation and maturity. You will discover one of the most important calls that Christ gave us, to grow in our relationship with Him so we can produce His Fruit that imparts His truth by using our words and example to impact others for the Kingdom. You will also discover the opposites of these characters, such as pride and animosity that distracts others from Christ and creates a diseased church and a dysfunctional family. This curriculum is designed to help you personally grow and in turn teach these precepts to others in your church. It is our Prayer that you and your church get the most out of our Lord’s most precious Word so you can be the best pastor or church leader as you can be. By being filled with the Holy Spirit, being people of prayer and trained to know and teach the Bible effectively. By learning and applying Godly Christian Character to your life and others will be a powerful synergistic combination to grow a healthy vibrant Church that glorifies Christ as Lord!!! First is an article introducing them, then over 50 studies in Christian Character. They can also be easily converted into a sermon series (giving you a full years worth of sermon material!), thus you can use them for your Bible study, sermons, in personal devotions, and general church and small group use (See our online resources for more Bible studies, curriculums and articles.). These Bible studies are designed so that you can role out of bed and teach yourself or other pastors and church leaders! All the hard exegetical work is done for you! To use the curriculums, first read over the study, and look up the Scriptural passages and be in prayer. Then you can preach, teach it as is, or put it in your own words, add to it by the Scriptural examples, you can also add illustrations for better understanding. The best illustrations are always from your personal experiences where you are not being prideful with them pointing to yourself; rather pointing to Christ! Your goal is helping others conform to Christ; being what God has called you to be so you can model and teach what they need to be. We do this by example, encouraging and good teaching (Rom. 12; 1 Thess. 5:12-28)!

Are you a Character?
This article also serves as the introduction to the Bible Study series on, character! Character is the springboard from which all we do and say in life comes. Developing Biblical character in the face of our daily life and even in adversity is essential and the proof text that we have a growing relationship with Christ! Character is not just having integrity or honesty or doing the right thing, it is not one aspect or even a few, it is a living, growing relationship in Christ which produces a synergistic combination of the fruits of the Spirit. It has been said that Character is the proudest through our hard times! “Character is what you are in the dark.” D.L. Moody Some time ago, searching the market to buy a house with a very limited budget, one was found that seemed a real good deal for half the normal price. In Southern California this is a rare and rich find! The reason for the great price was because its foundation was cracked. It did not seem to be a big deal; after all, it could just be filled in with some kind of cement, I thought. But, a builder friend of mine explained to me how essential it was to have the foundation completely intact. So, reluctantly, with a lot of pouting and moping, I had to pass up this great deal. I then realized how this is like character. We desire to go and find the easy way out of the hard and time-consuming things of life to get to the point of our day or quest. This happens even in ministry. Even if it cuts the corners off Character, we strive to shortcut our way though spiritual growth and serving God. A few months later, I drove by that house and talked to the new owner who was quite beside himself in frustration. It seems he was having a lot of problems with water leaking into his house all of the time, even when it was not raining. It will cost him more to fix the house’s foundation then it would be to tear it down and rebuild. He ended up with a very raw deal that I almost got my family into. I realized through this that skipping character for convenience may seem OK at the time, but it will catch up with you. So, let us look at God’s Word and find out what character really is and why it is important. In 1 Samuel 25, there is a story of a little known OT personality with great character; a woman named Abigail. This was during the time that David was running from Saul. Passionate jealousy and paranoia drove Saul to pursue and kill David, while popularity and integrity followed David who, although he had many opportunities to kill Saul, chose out of character and respect to let him go. Saul lived in a palace of stone and pride, and David in a cave of dampness and humility, hanging out with the outcasts of the land and his mighty men. During this time, David and his men were doing a security service to the sheep ranchers,

saving others sheep from poachers and rustlers. David fulfilled way beyond his duty by protecting what was not his. Then, one of the ranchers who was very rich and had power and authority over the others convinced the ranchers not to pay David and his men. His name was Nabal, which means “a fool!” What parent would give their child such a name? It probably did not mean that then, but over the years, the meaning changed due to Nabal’s actions. What a legacy to leave behind to be so self-willed and prideful that the meaning of your name changes to describe whom you are--in this case, a fool. How sad and ironic that he came from the house of Caleb who was one of the great men of integrity of the Bible, one of two people to survive the Exodus and venture into the Promise land due to his honor and trustworthiness. Nabal came from this house and family lineage, which was founded upon this great integrity and character, faith and strength, which somehow escaped Nabal. When Nabal decided to cheat David, he ventured upon a dark path of greed that he thought could be lit from his pride. He thought, what could David do, and then decided to cheat him. David, who had just about had it with Nabal’s deceit, saddled up his men and all drew their swords to kill him. Maybe David was not being what he should be, but Nabal “dug his own grave.” David was consumed with anger and was about to kill him (and justly so in the eyes of his culture and times,) when Abigail intervened. She was a woman who had great character and discernment. She was the wife of Nabal, who owed David financial compensation for saving his sheep and servants from harm. She was able to turn the payback of the evil of her husband into good. Abigail was the complete opposite of her husband! David was going to repay Nabal’s evil for more evil, even though David let Saul go in the previous chapter for a much more grievous sin. Yet, Nabal, for some reason, really pushed David’s buttons and exasperated his anger. Abigail’s intervention soothed that anger. Thus, David was able to grow stronger in his character development by doing good, even in his anger, and even though he was wronged and cheated. David could have murdered Nabal, suffered consequence for it, and perhaps even forsaking his future kingship. The levelheaded action of Abigail saved the day for him and provided a prime example for David, as well as for us today. We have a choice to act in evil or goodness; to act with our sinful motives or with what God calls us to, which is far better that we can see in the moment. Let us choose being even better. Who we are will determine what we do. The result will be character. Our growth in Him will make us who we are, which will be the character we present to God and others. This action of Abigail is a prime example for us that character from the Word and the example of our living Lord is the ultimate force we have for good

outside of the Spirit Himself. Character lays the foundation of what is right and what is truth in action (Prov. 17:13; 20:22; 24:29).

The Characteristics of a Christian
In the gospel and letters of John, who was directly inspired by God, we are told clearly and without equivocation how we are to behave as a follower of Christ. From the Gospel’s example of Christ Himself to the deep comfort of our relationship in Him in John 15, if a person’s behavior contradicts what the Word says, he is a just a pretender. In his Epistles, John says if we declare Christ as Lord, have a relationship with Him, but still walk in the darkness of disobedience, how can we be Christian? (1 John 1:6; 2:4) A Christian who denies essential doctrine would be an apostate, which means to reject the truth. For example, claiming Jesus as Lord, and then rejecting His deity, would be a direct contradiction (1 John 2:22-23). Inspired by the Spirit, John tells us that we would be liars. If we decide to love our Lord and hate our fellow Christian, this would also be a direct contradiction, a lie. The three “black lies” of John’s Epistle are the moral, doctrinal, and social problems John faced during his ministry. He realized that if they are not followed in truth and obedience, they are in opposition of the Christian faith. Therefore, the Christian would be a liar! We may claim that we are a Christian because we grew up in or go to a church, we made a decision at a crusade, or because our parents are Christian, but when we continue in sin, deny who Christ is, or continue in behavior contrary to Scripture, we are, as John calls it, a liar. Only by what Christ has done for us and by allowing our relationship in Him produce the characters of holiness, faith and love in us, can we prove the claim we have in God and not be liars. Character comes out from a life that is hurried, stressed, overwhelmed, and yet where promises are made and deadlines are met. It is a computation of who we are in those stressed moments. Character is not just something we put into our lives, but it is what comes out of our lives in those hurried times. It is beyond a system of values or virtue we learn from our parents, or even at church. Character is who you are to God Himself and those around you. It is the real you! The church and parents must teach it, but they cannot insure its function. That is the responsibility of our choice, a determination we make ourselves, a stand in stress that we continue to uphold. The pastor must preach it, the parents sculpt it, the church encourage and model it through the precepts of the Word! We as a community of Christians show the world the way of God’s truth by modeling His character. What comes from the Christian and the church will be the image of God the community will see, the model of character they perceive God to be. It shows to a deprived society, one that is confused, and searching for spiritual truth wherever they can find it, that truth in you!

What is Character?
Character is aligning our lives so our behaviors are Christ-like. It is the fruit that the vine of our abiding in Christ will produce. Thus, we look to the life of our Lord as our prime example. We seek not so much what Jesus would do, but what would Jesus have me do! This alignment is what produces “the fruit of the Spirit,” that we find in Paul's letter to the Galatians: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, selfcontrol.” (Gal. 5:22-23a) Obviously, we cannot re-enact His character with any kind of perfection. However, we can try our best by the power He gives us. The fact that our Lord was also fully human and lived a life of perfection should give us hope and encouragement of what is possible. “Be conformed to the image of God's Son." (Romans 8:29) Below is a listing of the most common fruits and characteristics we are to emulate. These all work together to allow us to shine for His glory. Just like the facets of a diamond, with only one or a few you will not see its depth, splendor, and beauty. Let us be diamonds that shine; that are cut to His purpose and call and not rough and hidden.

Is Good Character In You?
Here is how you can find out. Look through each of these characters and fruit listings from God’s most precious Word and ask yourself these four important Questions: 1. How can they be exhibited in me? 2. How can they be developed in me? 3. What blocks this character from working in my life? 4. How can they function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress?

The Galatians Fruits: (Galatians 5:22-23)
• Love will enable us to appreciate our brothers and sisters in the Lord, and, of course, our family, and others around us. Love is taking the initiative to build up and meet the needs of others without expecting anything in return. (John 13:1; 15:13; 1 Corinthians 13:3) Joy will allow us to enjoy His creation, others, and our circumstances with an expression of delight and real, authentic happiness from and with harmony with God and others. (Proverbs 15:13; John 15:11; 17:13)

Peace is surrendering and yielding to the Lord’s control, for He is our ultimate peace! It is allowing tranquility to be our tone and to control our equanimity. This will be fueled by our harmonious relationship with God so we can hand over control of our heart, will, and mind to Him. Once we make real peace with God, we will be able to make and maintain peace with others. (Matthew 5:9; Colossians 3:15; Philippians 4:7) Patience is showing tolerance and fortitude to others, and even accepting difficult situations from them and God without making demands and conditions. (Matthew 27:14; Romans 12:12; James 1:3,12) Kindness is practicing benevolence and a loving attitude towards others. (Ephesians 4:32) Goodness displays integrity, honesty, and compassion to others, and allows us to do the right thing. (Matthew 19:16) Faithfulness is the “gluing” fruit that will preserve our faith and the other characters of the Spirit as well as identify God's Will so we can be dependable and trusting to God and others. (Matthew 17:19; 25:21; 1 Cor. 12:9; Hebrews 11:1; 1 Thess. 5:24) Gentleness is the character that will show calmness, personal care, and tenderness in meeting the needs of others. (Isa. 40:11; Phil. 4: 5; 2 Timothy 2:24; 1 Thess. 2:7) Self-Control will allow us to have discipline, and restraint with obedience to God and others. (1 Thess. 5: 22)

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More Biblical Fruits:
We will be studying these characteristics, along with the Galatian fruits and the book of Matthew in our Bible study. • Forgiving is the realization of how much we have been forgiven by Christ. This enables us to forgive the insignificant things that are done to us. It involves not being resentful to others, and ignoring the wrongs that we have received so we can heal relationships by expressing Christ's love. (Luke 23:34; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13) Humility minimizes arrogance and removes pride. It is understanding our fallen nature and tendency to think we are better than we are, and our striving to lift up ourselves above others and God. It is admitting that others, and more importantly God is responsible for our achievements. Humbleness will enable us to be a teachable person who is willing to have the attitude of submission

and servant-hood, one who confesses sin and remembers how Christ served us! (Luke 22:27; Phil. 2:8; 1 Peter 5:3-5) • Fairness sees a situation from the viewpoint of each person involved and not just ours. It seeks the best, just, equable solution, even if it hurts us. (Matthew 7:12) Courage realizes that God has given us the strength to face any situation, trial, or peril. It is the ability to react, knowing that God is in control, that He who is in me is greater than he who is against me. (Deuteronomy 31:6; 1 John 4:4) Friendship is the companionship and closeness we are to have with one another. It is the commitment to help form the character in others. This is not to be feared but embraced, even when it hurts! (Proverbs 27:17) Honesty & Truthfulness mean being straight and honest with others and doing what is right. This trait will allow us to earn trust by being accurate with facts and situations. (2 Cor. 8:21; Ephesians 4:25) Dependable is being constantly reliable and trustworthy. It will allow us to continue in our commitments even if it means personal sacrifice. (1 Corinthians 4:2; Colossians 1:10) Gratitude is an attitude of being thankful, even when we do not see what we have. This is an aspect of worship, expressing to God and others how they have benefited our lives by showing their support and benevolence. (1 Corinthians 4:7; 1 Thess. 5: 18) Responsibility is to know and do what God and others expect. (Romans 14:12) Contentment is the attitude of accepting whatever God provides for us, and being happy with it. It does not seek what we do not need for gratification, and does not find happiness in the shallow things of life. (Rom. 9:19-21; Phil. 4: 10-13; 1 Tim. 6:6-9) Generosity allows us to give to others because God has given abundantly to us. It is the wise use of stewardship and the attitude that all I have belongs to God and knowing we are the caretakers for His purpose. (Deut. 16:17; Matthew 10:8) Purity & Holiness is being set apart for God’s use, which is holiness in action. It does not allow us to be contaminated nor interfere with others in our growth and relationship in Christ. (Matt. 5:8; Phil. 4:8; 1 Tim. 1:5; 5:22; James 4:8)

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Confidence helps us rely on the Lord for all things in our life. It will enable us to push forward in the direction that we are called because He is governing. It makes us realize we are not responsible for the results--only the obedience. (Philippians 4:13) Encouragement will lift, support, and help others up through difficult circumstances, all from God's perspective. (Psalm 119:28; 143:3; Matt. 3:17; John 14:1; 1 Thess. 5:11-14) Availability is being willing to adjust our own schedule, agenda, and plans to fit the right desires of God and others. It makes personal priorities secondary to the needs of God and others. It is to reflect God’s priorities so we are always available to Him and others when we are serving. (Mark 1:17-18; Acts 16:10) Attentiveness will recognize the value of other people by giving them listening ears, respect, courtesy, and total concentration. This means paying attention to others, not just listening to our own needs and desires, and also giving genuine contemplation to God's Word. (Hebrews 2:1) Wisdom truly desires the knowledge of God’s Word and the proper application to our life. This will enable us to make good judgments and decisions. (1 Kings 3:9; Psalm 119:97-98) Compassion will feel the pain and plight of others. It will enable us to convey a deep feeling of love and concern that moves us to meet their distresses, struggles, and needs. (Job 29:13; Isa. 40:11; Mark 1:41; Luke 19:4; 1 Peter 3:8) Enthusiasm will enable us to overcome disappointments and setbacks, so we can be positive, optimistic, and keep up our interest, attitude, and zeal, even when things are harsh. (Matt: 5:16; Rom. 12:11; Gal. 6:9; Col. 3:23) Initiative will take the front position to recognize and do what needs to be done before being asked to do it. (Prov. 22:29; Philippians 3:14; 4:13-15) Diligence allows us to operate with our best for His highest with excitement and passion in order to complete our work and call from the Lord. (Prov. 10:4; Rom. 12:11; Colossians 3:23) Thoughtfulness considers and gives attention and care to others and their feelings first. (Philippians 2:4)

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Efficient is being well organized, competent, and resourceful so we can make the most of every situation, doing our best and seeking better ways. (Psalm 90:12; Ephesians 4:23; 5:15- 16; 1 Pet. 4:10) Discretion keeps our minds and focus on sound judgment, giving serious attention and thought to what is going on. It will carefully choose our words, attitudes, and actions to be right for any given situation, thus avoiding words and actions that could result in adverse consequences. (Psalm 112:5; Proverbs 22:3; Rom.12: 2, 9; 14:19, 22) Optimism will think the best of and be positive with people and all situations, even if later proven wrong. (Luke 21:18; John 16:33; Romans 8:25; 28) Obedience is submitting to do what God requires of us. It is also recognizing the authority and direction from others, such as the pastor and church, so we can create winning situations. (Deut. 13: 4; Prov. 19:16; John 14:14; 15:14; 2 Corinthians 10:5) Reverence is recognizing and respecting people, not just because of their position and authority, but as brothers and sisters in the Lord, regardless of their personality, knowing He loves them too! (1 Peter 2:13-14)

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More Character attributes: These are the further fruits that are produced
when we are following the above principles! • • Agreeable finds Biblical solutions and support for others, without compromising truth. (Amos 3:3) Appreciation gives God our heartfelt thanks as a lifestyle of worship and adoration. This allows us to give to, and value others with respect. (Romans 12:10) Avoiding anger is the knowing of its destructive force and striving to maintain “cool” and serenity. (James 1:19) Being a Good Example is not allowing your relationship with Christ to become hypocritical, since people see your example as to what a Christian is! (1 Pet 2:21-2; 1 Pet 2:12,15,17) Childlike Faith is the wonder and awe of what Christ did for us. It is something that we should never lose. Let us maintain our enthusiasm and not become just a subculture or routine! (Mt. 18:2-4; 34)

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Commitment is being dedicated and pushing ahead as well as being satisfied with what you have. It is vowing to honor and be the best with what God has given of spiritual and material things. (1 Timothy 6:20) Communicating is being willing to convey thoughts, attitudes, feelings, and actions to others in a kind and listening manner that reflects Christ. (1 Timothy 4:12) Conviction is devotion to and following of the precepts of Scripture with zeal, whatever the cost. (Daniel 1:8) Cooperativeness is the support and willingness to work together in peace, unity, and harmony. (Eph. 4:3) Creative is being resourceful and imaginative in using the best of the goods and talents we have been given to serve the Lord. (1 Timothy 4:14) Diligence is the loving of our call and the pursuing of our work, doing our best for His glory. (Colossians 3:23) Dependable is always being reliable and trustworthy. (Colossians 1:10) Determination is the ability to make difficult decisions and accomplish God's goals based on the truths of God's Word, regardless of the opposition. (Psalms 119:30; 2 Timothy 4:7,8) Deference is being willing to bend personal freedom for the respect and esteem of others. (Romans 14:21) Devotion is aligning personal desires, plans, worship, and hope with God. (Colossians 3:2) Discernment is the ability to see people and situations the way they really are with of neutrality and justice, while also being cautious with right timing and actions. (1 Samuel 16:7; Proverbs 19:2) Discreet is the ability to not bully people with our personality or actions, or even with sound and right opinions. It is giving serious respect, attention, and thought to what we say and do. (Psalm 112:5) Discipline is upholding and continuing a consistent and well-ordered life through godly obedience, regardless of how we feel. (1 Timothy 4:7) Decisive is sticking to right and just decisions based on God's perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

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Not to swear or slander is refusing to verbally hurt others! (James 1:26) Endurance is the inner strength to remain in Him with staying power in order to accomplish God's will. (Galatians 6:9) Fearless is facing down peril without being stupid. Sound mind is being bold since God gives us strength. (2 Timothy 1:7) Flexibility is being open to others plans and ideas and willing to be instructed and challenged to change for the better. (Colossians 3:2) Godly Priorities is choosing to follow Scriptural precepts as the primary important schedule and value for life. (Matthew 6:33) Godliness is being pious, which is rearranging our priorities to line up with God's character. (3 John 11) Grace is elegant simplicity and calm that minimizes crudeness. (Psalm 94:11; James 4:6) Guidance is a willingness to help others to apply the precepts of Scripture in everyday and difficult situations. (Proverbs 27:9) Harmless is not willing or deliberately hurting anyone or anything. (Heb 7:26) Honest is being truthful and doing what is sincere and right before God and others. (Heb 7:26) Hospitality is a willingness to share, with discernment, what God has given us, including our family, home, finances, and food. (Romans 12:13) Integrity is the obedience to a moral code of values that have honor, truth, and reliability. It will allow one to keep his word and do his best even when no one else is looking. (Psalm 78:72) Just is doing what is fair, moral, impartial, and right, according to God's will. (Genesis 6:9) Loyalty is remaining committed to those whom God has brought into our lives and has called us to serve, even in times of difficulty. (Proverbs 17:17) Meekness is not about being weak! It is strength under control, which yields personal rights and expectations to God. (Psalms 62:5)

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Merciful is demonstrating more forgiving and gracious kindness than the world requires. (Luke 6:36) Patience is the fortitude to accept from others difficult situations that we do not like. With God, it is trust of His timing, and not giving Him a deadline. (Romans 12:12) Perseverance is not being faint with our call, but being able to persist and continue to deal with stress so we can accomplish what God calls us to. (Galatians 6:9) Persuasiveness advocates God's Word to others so they can be changed in their thinking and can conform to His will. (2 Timothy 2:25) Prompt is not holding others back with our inadequacies; it is respecting the time of others and being able to act quickly when God and others call on us. (Ecclesiastes 3:1) Prudence is not being a prude, but implementing and applying good, logical, and just judgment to situations that will help in avoiding error and problems. (Proverbs 13:6; 22:3) Purpose is in knowing who we are in Christ and acting it out with our call. That is, devoting our life, Spiritual gifts, abilities, and call so it can bring out the best in people and situations. Our meaning of life will have eternal treasure and results. (John 15) Respectful is being polite and courteous to the people, and the civil authorities God has placed in our life. (1 Thess. 5:13-13) Security is trust and reliance upon God for our daily needs. This is not laziness, but working with God’s values, and organizing our life around God’s Will with an eternal outlook in mind for a secure feeling. We are safe because of God's protection. (Proverbs 29:25; John 6:27) Submissive is, with awe and reverence, surrendering and yielding our will and plans over to God's guidance. (Ephesians 5:21) Self-Acceptance is realizing we are deeply loved and accepted by Christ, thus, we can accept us. To love others we have to love ourselves as Christ implies for us to. Self-hatred is not Biblical! Self-Acceptance will allow us to accept unchangeable physical features and situations that God has made, to allow us to focus on the more important things in life such as character. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

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Selflessness is the altruistic giving of ourselves to others, as Christ gave Himself to us. (Titus 2:14) Sensitivity is exercising kindness and compassion so we can go beyond just reason and logic to perceive and respond to others. (Romans 12:15) Servant Leadership is exercising real godly leadership as Christ did, by His taking a towel, influencing, equipping, and empowering people to accomplish God's purpose and plan. (Luke 22:26) Sincerity is earnest honesty that is readily doing what is right, with pure and loving intention. (Joshua 24:14; 1 Peter 1:22) Success is not what the world says is achievement; it is to know and faithfully follow God’s Will and His Word. It is our obedience, not our numbers or measurements! (Matthew 25:21) Suffering is not sought, but when it happens, it is d allowing it to turn into a mold to allow us to be made for the better as “Christ hath suffered” makes us better. It is not a personal attack, rather it is a means to get our attention to make us better, more useful, stronger, and to understand what takes place in others. (1 Peter 4:1-19) Supportive is to come along side others, sharing our strength and courage in their afflictions and troubles. (Galatians 6:2) Tactful is being considerate, delicate, and diplomatic with other’s feelings and ideas, doing, and saying the right thing. (Colossians 4:6) Teach is to share our insights and what we have learned with others, to disciple them. (Matt. 7:28; 28: 19-20; John 7:16; Mark 4:2; 2 John 1:9) Temperate is to have self-control so we do not lose control and give in to lust and extremes of society’s ills. (Titus 2:12) Tolerant is being forbearing and patient with others, even when they are different or weaker. (1 Thess. 5:14) Thoroughness is careful diligence that carries out our call with our very best for God's approval. (Ecclesiastes 9:10; Colossians 3:23) Time is the moments in which we either burn or live for His glory. It is the opportunities we have to live, serve, learn, and grow. In so doing, if we invest wisely, we will produce eternal treasures. If not, it will go to waste. (Psalm 90:12)

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Understanding is the ability to reason and comprehend situations. (Psalms 119:34) Virtue is holding onto the principles of moral excellence that calls us to a higher level where few people desire to go, but as a Christian, we must go! (Col. 3:12-17) Zealous is maintaining our enthusiasm for our faith and call, not allowing our church or us to fall into a rut of meaningless rhetoric. (Luke 2:49; John 2:17 8:29)

Thoughts on the Importance of Character Philippians 4:8; Heb 11:32-38
The demands for people of character are more needed then ever before. Our culture does not value it, yet it insists on it. Just watch the news and see how the reporters attack people with no character, even though they may not have it themselves. The recent attacks on the Catholic Church are a prime example. Priests are leaving the church by the dozens--most by unfounded accusations. Just having a rumor against you will cause you to lose your position. A year ago, Enron was celebrated because of is business practices. Today, it is loathed because of the same practices. Once before, they worked. Now, they do not. Therefore, character once absent was not sought. Once not needed, it is now needed and sought. • • • • • • • As a pastor, I realized long ago that people tend to sometimes forget my teaching, but they will remember how I handled things. Character speaks for itself. We never owe people an explanation or excuse to be the person that God called us to be. It is the moral, virtuous, spiritual foundation that holds the frame of our actions and the siding of how we are to others. We earn it through self-surrender. It does not lie on the shelves of the store for us to buy. Character is supported from truth that reinforces the life and actions we are called to emulate. It has to be cultured, like yogurt or cheese, which is not made fresh from the cow. This is the quintessential essence to our being successful people, in business or in the church.

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There are few lessons that are more important for us to learn, or for us to teach. Charisma and image are more of a value to our society as we observed in recent presidential elections. Character was considered irrelevant in the previous administration or in the election. Fortunately, character won out this time. The people who impact us the most and best are those with Biblical character. We can still have friends who do not have good character as long as we are their influencers and not their receivers! Our closest friends must have good character and represent the truth, because they will be influencing us. We must be willing to be humble enough to allow character to slowly develop in us, as it will not come overnight. This is working out our salvation in Philippians 2. All of the people in Heb 11 are imperfect, yet have great character of different professions and times. Lot was stupid, Moses was a murderer and failure, Rehab was a prostitute, some were mocked, tortured, stoned, sawed in two (Isaiah), tempted to compromise, wounded, homeless, and lived in cave. All were whom the world called “losers.” Just read “Fox’s Book of Martyrs”. Could you see yourself listed here, counted as having faith and character? Character is like exercise. We cannot just get fit with occasional sweat and the ‘burn’, because we have to be constant, as it is with anything in the spiritual life. The essential presence of character will influence how we react in times of stress and confusion. Instead of blaming people for our hardships, we need to learn and grow, enabling us to receive character. We need to stop looking for approval from society, and seek His approval. Character will be the fruit of that endeavor! You must allow character to speak for you more than what your friends say to you. Friends are vocal, and character is silent!

• • • •

• • • •

• • • • •

Character will flourish later when we build it up early. Churches and parents must teach and model character. We have to be able to admit when we are wrong, to confess, grow, and go from there. This will allow us to grow the fastest and strongest. Through all of God’s creation, we are the prize piece, and the means to model His ways. You may need to have some kind of character to be in public life, especially in politics. You may lose a job or election because of it, or be considered a failure in the eyes of the world. However, in God’s eyes, when you remain in His character, and learn from His precepts, you are a winner. Real character will not cave in under pressure, and will resent the temptation to compromise!

Holding onto Character (Hebrews 5:8)
Have you ever wondered why we exalt our Lord’s suffering, yet condemn our own? Is it society’s influence, the fear of pain, the attitude that “I do not deserve it,” or something else? Could we ever truly develop deeply without being crushed? Remember, the only way to make wine is to slowly grow the grapes, pick them, crush them, and then age them. It is the same in building character! Even if we totally operate on character and integrity, it may backfire on us negatively as people will come against us. But, not in God’s eyes. Hypocrites and the unrighteous passionately hate anyone who has character, especially integrity! Thus, we have to find a way to hold on to it! • • God gives us His character if we are willing to receive it! From birth on, our Lord was a man on the path of distress, who experienced the greatest suffering on our behalf. He was, and is, the ultimate model for character! Great character is developed in the Crucible (Rom 5:1f). In God’s plan, He has a reason for our “dry lands”--the times of our waiting and confusion, and for our loss and pain in life for the Crucible (what Christ did on the cross on our behalf). We gain persistence and proven character from this! We need to see hardships as a challenge to overcome and prove character! Solitude is important as with stillness and quiet, which is so often neglected today, especially in our youth.

• •

Solitude will not produce character because we need the demands of life. We learn by people pushing us, and learning how to respond through the Word. Yet, solitude will hone character by mediation, prayer, and reflection on how we could have done better. Character is born though struggle that takes time, just as developing a musical instrument takes practice. Being alone will not produce it. However, it will refine it! Character is found in people, not in animals, things, or technology, but in those who possess the image of God. (Gen 1:26-27) Character will not stay with us. It is easier kept than recovered, yet, flees from so many who had it. Just look at the life of Saul. We do not wake up one day with it. When we do have it, others will see it, may even point to it, or be discipled from it. Even though financial disasters and false accusations wage against us, our character can grow stronger. On the other hand, it can produce despair, confusion, and loneliness. If all that we see is failure and self-pity, it will only produce cynicism rather than the person of character.

• • • •

Building and developing character is not something we just learn from a book or hear from a sermon. It does not come upon us in the night, or sneak up in the day. It does not come automatically, accentually, or suddenly. It is a process that comes from being parented in it. Then it lays in us and in our motives. It is a slow process. You may not realize you have it until others point it out in you. Character is not permanent once it is formed. It requires our continual grip and practice. There are many times it falls away from great leaders through personal loss or personal sin. I have seen it nearly flee from me on many occasions from all that I have been through in life. © 2002 R.J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Curriculum on Building Christian Character: The Character of Love
Welcome to our first adventure into the study of Character! Make sure you read our background material. It will make your study more insightful. our study in

Is the Character of Love in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a
careful look at this character and fruit of love from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Love in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a more loving attitude? 3. What blocks this character from working in my life? 4. How can I make love function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainty and stress?

Galatians 5:22-23
The General idea of Love (John 13:1; 15:13; 1 Corinthians 13:3; 1 John) will enable us to appreciate our brothers and sisters in the Lord, and, of course, our family and others around us. Love is taking the initiative to build up and meet the needs of others without expecting anything in return. The opposite is hate. It covers the areas from disliking people who are different to deliberately seeking malice and destruction of what the Lord has for us! • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (1 Sam. 20:17; Matt. 13:35; 1 John 4) Here are negative examples from Scripture (Matt. 6:5; 23:6; 1 John 4:19; Rev. 2:4)

Further Questions 1. How would you define Love? 2. Would you rather love, or be loved? 3. Look at 1 Corinthians 13:3. How does your practice of love compare to this passage? 4. Can you give an example from your life? 5. When have you loved the best? 6. In what situation did you fail to love when you should have? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more love?

8. Think through the steps you need to take to put love into action in a specific instance or to improve it. Consider examples such as a person who is mean to you at work, or a distant relative, or a neighbor with whom you may not get along. God's love must be our model for life. It must flow into us from Christ, and in return flow out from us to those around us. God's love is the ultimate power for the Christian. We are to be fueled and empowered by love in all situations. Christian love is the turning of our backs to self-concerns, and facing our neighbors. It is the surrender of our will to His. Because, if love does not take us beyond our self-interests, then what we have is lust, not love! As the passage of 1 Corinthians 13:3 would say, we become just a noise that has no reason or purpose. Out of true love, God the Father gave us His Son, and the Son gave His life in replacement for ours. The Son sent the Spirit to save us, and we should be literally overwhelmed—consumed--with extreme joy and gratitude for what God has done for us. Remember; “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant.” (NAS) What love is not is as important as what love is! Be aware that we will be held accountable and even judged on what we do not do or refuse to see when sin and pride are in the way (Matt. 23:27; Luke 19:42)! © 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Joy Is the Character of Joy in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful
look at this character and fruit of joy from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit joy in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a more joyful attitude? 3. What blocks this character from working in my life? 4. How can I make joy function better, stronger and faster even in times of uncertainly and stress?

Galatians 5:22-23
Joy will allow us to enjoy my relationship with Christ, His creation, others, and our circumstances with an expression of delight and real, authentic happiness from and with harmony with God and others. (Psalm 32:7-9; Proverbs 15:13; John 15:11; 17:13; II Cor 12:9; I Peter 4:13- 19; Heb 10:34)

Sorrow, despair and regret are the opposites! Despair limits us like a ball and chain from growth and the enjoyment of life. It cuts us off from relationships, leaning, experiences and God. It leads to depression that cuts us off from seeing hope and purpose and what life and eternity are all about! • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Ex.14: 1-21; I Sam. 1:19; 2:10; Luke 10:17-21; 15:22-32; Acts 16:19-34) Here is are negative examples from Scripture (Ruth 1:19-21; Job 3:1-19; John 11:17-44)

Further Questions 1. How would you define joy? 2. Are you a grouchy person when you get up? 3. How does self-pity counteract joy? 4. Look at Phil. 4:4, considering that Paul was in prison suffering greatly, how does your practice of love compare to Paul’s excitement even in suffering? 5. Can you give an example from your life? 6. When have you been filled with joy the most? 7. In what situation did you fail to have joy in which you should have? 8. What issue is in your life that would improve with more joy? 9. Think through the steps you need to take to put joy into action in a specific instance. Such as a counteracting the attitude of self-pity, or not letting your circumstances get in the way of your joy? Have you allowed Christ to introduce joy to you? Check out Psalm 48 and John 15:11 JOY recognizes that Christ will lift us up in His time; it sees the hope to come and takes delight in the moment even in times of harshness. It must be declared and seen even when it is not visible (James 1:2-4). The joy we are to have is His. It must carry us though all of our experiences and situations. It must rule our character and response, it must set the tone of how we engage and respond to others, whether it is prosperity or adversity, whether we are in the oval office or living in the streets. In the OT, joy was an expression of excitement that was experienced with personal triumph, or celebrating a good harvest or military victory. Often feasting,

the offering of sacrifices or blessings and dancing were tied with joy (Deut 12:12; 1 Sam 18:6; Ps 31:7; 96: 11; Isa. 56:7; 60:15; 61:3 ff; Joel 1:16;). In the NT, Joy comes from the Holy Spirit. It is associated with receiving or the telling of God’s redemptive love. It also is associated with the enjoyment of life such as eating, drinking, feasting and even suffering (Matt 5:11-12; Luke 12:19; Acts 7:41; Gal 5:22; 1 Peter 1:6). Remember to place Joy in all aspects of you life and expectations. If you are having problems take a serious look at despair and where it will get you, because there can be no delight without joy! You can have no true confidence with out joy. What we suffer through, what we go through, what we give up is in no comparison to what we gain!!!! Christianity and suffering is the ultimate in delayed gratification! © 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Peace Galatians 5:22-23 Is the Character of Peace working in you? Here is how you can find out.
Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Peace from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Peace in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a more Peaceful attitude? 3. What blocks this character from working in my life? 4. How can I make Peace function better, stronger and faster even in times of uncertainly and stress? Peace (Isa. 26:3; Matthew 5:9; Luke 19:42; John 14:27; 16:33; Rom. 5:1; 12:18; Colossians 3:15; Philippians 4:7) is surrendering and yielding ourselves to the Lord to be in His control, for He is our ultimate peace! Allowing tranquility to be our tone and control our composure. This will be fueled from our harmonious relationship with God to handover control of our heart, will and mind over to Him. Once we make real peace with God we will be able to make and maintain peace with others. Chaos and turmoil are the opposites. This can range from seeking destruction and chaos to being a distrustful and impatient person, which will bring you despair. You will be unable to build positive relationships or handle difficult situations. You will have an “I must have control” orientated personality and be unable or unwilling to give yourself to God and others.

• •

Here are positive examples from Scripture (Psalm 27:1-6; Luke 1:26-38; 2:2532; John 14:25-31; Acts 27:21-25) Here is are negative examples from Scripture (II Sam. 15:1-13; Matt. 2:13-18; 26:69-75; 27:1-7; Luke 8:22-25)

Further Questions 1. How would you define Peace? 2. What are the things that cause despair for you? 3. How does despair counteract Peace? 4. Do you cooperate with Christ as your Lord, to allow His peace to rein in you, if not what is in the way? 5. When have you been filled with Peace the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to have Peace in which you should have? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Peace? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Peace into action in a specific instance. Such as a counteracting the attitude of despair or hopelessness, or not letting your circumstances get in the way of your peace? Peace can be maintained for a time out of ignorance or denial, but when the realities of life come upon us, peace can be impossible unless we let His peace rein in us! When we do not let go we will blame God and lose our unity and serenity in Him. Peace is learning to let go of our will, desires and plans. Peace is not the peace of the hippie movement or even between nations, although those things can be applied from it. Peace is serenity from the realization that God is in charge and we can relax because He is in control. Peace is the recognition that our biggest problem has been solved! It is the stillness we have when our trust is upon Christ as Lord (Psalm 46:10). Peace will also enable us to yield our will over to Him. Peace enables us to be moved from the stronghold of fear and trepidations into a life of harmony (Isa. 26:3; II Tim. 1:7). When we are on the verge of giving up, or losing our hope, peace can be the anchor to keep us on His path, to see His hope, to let it give you the confidence to keep moving on His path.

Remember the fruits of the Spirit are codependent entities, neither one can stand or work by itself as they are designed to work all together synergistically to build us up for His service. © 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Patience Galatians 5:22-23
Is the Character of Patience working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Patience from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How is Patience exhibited in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a more Patient attitude? 3. What blocks the practice of Patience in my life? 4. How can I make Patience function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainty and stress? Patience, (Hos. 2:19-23; Psalm 33:20; Matthew 27:14; Romans 5:3; 12:12; Gal. 5:1; Col. 1:11; James 1:3-4,12; 5:10-11), is showing tolerance and fortitude toward others, even accepting difficult situations from them, and God, without making demands or conditions. Patience allows us to endure a less than desirable situation to make us better and more useful and even optimistic and prudent. Hence, its other name is longsuffering. It allows us to put up with others who get on our nerves, without losing other characteristics of grace. • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Gen. 39:19-23; Job 1:13-22; Matt. 27:11-14; James 5:7-11) Here are negative examples from Scripture (Num. 20:1-12; 1 Sam. 13:8-14; 2 Kings 6:33; Luke 10:38-42)

Impatience, annoyance, intolerance, worry, fear, and distrust are the opposites of Patience. These prevent us from seeing, as our Lord wants us to see, that all things will work for His good in the end (Rom. 8:28). We should hang on, place our trust in Him, and not let the temporary things of life bother or distract us from our purpose and call.

Further Questions 1. How would you define Patience? 2. What are the things that cause you to be impatience or distrustful? 3. How does Fear counteract Patience? 4. How can you make James 1:3-4 work in you? Are you willing to allow Patience to develop in you, even through times of waiting and confusion? 5. When have you most been filled with Patience? 6. In what situation did you fail to have Patience when you should have? 7. What issue in your life would improve with more Patience? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Patience into action in a specific situation. Perhaps you could learn to relax when things do not work out your way, or refuse to allow your circumstances to get in the way of your Patience. Patience is an essential aspect toward maturity and growth as a Christian, yet it is not a fun thing to obtain. We, as fallen humanity, do not like to wait, especially in our fast paced, and fast food society. We may cry out to God and ask that He give us Patience, NOW! Yet, if He did, would we have it? It is not likely, as it needs to grow through difficulties so it can build and improve. It is not something we get off the shelf of a bookstore. Patience will allow us to receive and participate in God’s love as it builds loyalty and faithfulness, as in the life of Hosea. It will take us beyond our comfort zone into an area we do not want to go. Yet, when we do, we are better and more able to be used by God and to be available for others. Without Patience, we cannot be used effectively in the lives of others, as they will seem repugnant to us, and we will be callous and unsympathetic towards them. Patience will allow us to manage anger and problems, and to wait on God’s timing. Patience will allow us to forgive (Rom. 5:8), as Christ forgave us and has Patience with us. Patience will allow us to endure and go on, even when we do not feel like it. It will see the hope that is ahead, when the clouds of our lives and experiences block its view from our sight. Patience will allow us to cling to Christ no matter what happens. Patience is hanging on to what is good. When we are impatient, we will miss a lot in life, especially in our relationships, because we will give up too easily. Allow the Potter to put you on His wheel and form you in His time! Remember, the Fruits of the Spirit are not options!

© 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Kindness Galatians 5:22-23 Is the Character of Kindness working in you? Here is how you can find
out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Kindness from God’s most precious Word. Examine the passages below and ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit kindness in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop more of a kindness attitude? 3. What blocks the practice of kindness in my life? 4. How can I make kindness function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainty and stress? Kindness (Rom. 2:1-4; 12:9-21; Ephesians 4:32; Col. 3:12-14; 1 John 3:16-23) is the medium through which Christ’s love becomes tangible through us. It is practicing benevolence and a loving attitude towards others. Kindness is the essence that shows the world that we are a Christian, like the fragrance coming from a flower. It is being convicted with God’s Word, and then modeling it to others. Kindness is the subject to the object of who we are in Christ! Cruelty, spitefulness, being mean, and holding grudges are the opposites. This can include seeking to harm someone, being cruel and rude, or just ignoring people you do not like. God created us for relationships, and when we ignore this, we fail in the most important aspect in life besides our relationship in Him! • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Gen. 39:21-23; Josh. 2:4-16; Ruth 2:8-16; 3:15; Luke 7:2-6; Acts 24:23; 27:3, 43) Here are negative examples from Scripture (Gen. 21:9-14; 37:12-36; Ex. 5:618; Luke 22:64; John 19:3)

Further Questions 1. How would you define Kindness? Notice how Joseph’s brothers were cruel to him, yet a jailer, who was a stranger, was kind! 2. What are the things that cause you to be cruel or rude?

3. How does rudeness counteract kindness? 4. Boaz had no obligation, outside of tradition, to help Ruth, yet He did. Why did he (Ruth 2:8-16; 3:15)? 5. When have you most been filled with kindness? 6. In what situation did you fail to have kindness when you should have? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more kindness? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put kindness into action in a specific situation. How about learning to drive without rage when someone cuts you off, or spending more time helping someone you do not like, or not letting your circumstances get in the way of being kind to strangers, even if you are in a hurry? We live in a world that accepts cruelty as being cool. Just look at TV and the movies. However, the Christian is called to be higher, while at the same time, lower. This means to be higher in our character and lower by acceptance of others (as long as it does not bring us down to their level!). Kindness is beyond just being accepting, liberal, or open minded. It is thoughtful consideration to one another, putting ourselves in their shoes. We are called to be kind to enemies (Luke 6:34-35), to strangers (Lev. 19:34), to family (Duet. 22:1) and to outcasts (Life of Jesus). Kindness is not something we confront. It is something we proclaim! We must change our behaviors to reflect Christ’s treatment of us in how we treat others, on the road, in our work, school, and family. As society gets more complicated and crowded, kindness will gradually disappear, which makes it increasingly needed. Let us “step up to the plate” of treating and serving others as Christ would (1 John 3:16-23). Remember the Fruits of the Spirit are not what we do when we have the time or feel like it, they are what we are to do--period! © 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Goodness Is the Character of Goodness working in you? Here is how you can find
out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Goodness from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself:

1. How do I exhibit Goodness in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better attitude of Goodness? 3. What blocks goodness from working and being exhibited in me? 4. How can I make Goodness function better, stronger and faster even in times of uncertainly and stress?

Galatians 5:22-23
Goodness (Amos 5:15; Prov. 25:22; Matthew 19:16; Rom. 12:17; II Cor. 5:20; Eph. 5:8-9; I Pet. 3:11; II Pet. 1:3-8) displays integrity, honesty and compassion to others and allows us to do the right thing. It is doing the right think even when it does not feel like we should, as Joseph was betrayed and sold as a slave, he chose to make his situation good and help and treat others better than he needed too. Goodness is the model for people to repent and accept Christ. Badness is the opposite, being mercilessness and unscrupulousness! When we fight against each other especially in the church, you have to see it as how hurtful and even pathetic it is in God’s eyes! • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Gen. 39; Luke 10:30-37; Acts 7:60; 9:36; Luke 23:34; Gal. 6:10; II Thess. 1:11) Here is are negative examples from Scripture (Gen. 4:8; Duet. 25:17-19; Joshua 7; Luke 9:54)

Further Questions 1. How would you define Goodness? 2. What are the things that cause you to be bad or ruthless? 3. How does ruthlessness counteract Goodness? 4. How can you make Eph. 5:8-9 work in you, even through times of waiting and confusion, even when people are rude and evil to you? 5. When have you been filled with Goodness the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to have Goodness in which you should have? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Goodness?

8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Goodness into action in a specific instance. Such as learning to be good to people who are rude to you or not letting your circumstances get in the way of the way you treat others? Goodness is the fruit that virtue and the rest of charters combine to produce endearment. It is the character that makes people liked and even lovable by others. It is what is attractive and luring, that catches people’s attention and respect. It is virtue in action; it is being a role model and putting into practice excellence in all that we do to God and others. Goodness enables us to be liked and enjoyed, even if an enemy comes against us (Prov. 25:22). It is the taste of what is to come, the flavor of how we are to be (Psalm 34:8; 119:103). It is our expression of worship and gratitude to Christ played out in our lives, so we can enjoy Him and He can enjoy us, and so that life can be more enjoyable for all. Remember; the fruits and character cost dearly, they are not cheap by and from the One who bought them for us, for our betterment and for His glory. We must not take for granted what Cost Him so much! "It is that particular Wise and good God, who is the author and owner of our system, that I propose for the object of my praise and adoration. He is not above caring for us, being pleased with our praise and offended when we slight Him or neglect his Glory … I love Him therefore for his goodness, and I adore Him for his wisdom. Let me then not fail to praise my God continually, for it is His due, and it is all I can return for His many favors and great goodness to me." Benjamin Franklin © 2002 R.J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Faithfulness Is the Character of Faithfulness working in you? Here is how you can find
out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Faithfulness from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Faithfulness in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better attitude of Faith? 3. What blocks Faithfulness from working and being exhibited in me? 4. How can I make Faithfulness function better, stronger and faster even in times of uncertainly and stress?

Galatians 5:22-23
Faithfulness (Psalm 119: 89-90; Matthew 17:19; 25:21; Rom. 1:17; 5:1-2; 1 Cor. 12:9; Hebrews 11:1; 1 Thess. 5:24) is the application of our faith in action fused with being dependable. It is the not faith itself rather the fruit and character of faith. It is the “gluing” fruit that will preserve our faith and the other characters of the Spirit and identify God's will so we can be dependable and trusting to God and others. Faith is the one fruit that we give to God, whereas faithfulness and the other fruits and characters are from the Spirit working in us! Faithfulness is authenticity, the power and motivation for Christian living. Because God is trustworthy with us we can be faith-worthy in Him! Doubt and distrust are the opposite, losing our trust and hope that God is in control! When we do this we will lose or miss out on God coming through with His promises. • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (II Kings 5:8-14; Matt. 15:21-28; 21:18-22; Luke 7:1-10; Acts 3:1-10; Heb.11: 1-40) Here is are negative examples from Scripture (Matt. 6:25-34; 14:22-33; 17: 14-20; Mark 6:1-6; James 1:5-8)

Further Questions 1. How would you define Faithfulness? 2. What are the things that cause you to doubt or distrust God? 3. How does distrust counteract Faithfulness? 4. How can you give God more Faithfulness so you can fully realize that God is in control of your life and situation, so you can fully trust Him? 5. When have you been filled with Faithfulness the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to have Faithfulness in which you should have? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Faithfulness? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Faithfulness into action in a specific instance. Will Christ find the kind of faith in you when He comes (Luke 18:1-8)? Such as having faith in spite of confusion and uncertainty or standing firm believing what is true even though you may not experience it or know what is going on or what Christ is doing in you?

Faithfulness is very difficult to have or hold on too especially applying it to our work and relationships. We tend to lose our patience with God thinking He is just a blessing machine and when we do not get what we want we leave Him because of our uncertainty. Yet, Faithfulness is the fruit that we give to God so He can change us inside and out! It is the ability to take what Christ has done in us and be a blessing to others with loyalty and trust. Faithfulness goes against modern psychology and societies thinking, as it requires us to move beyond ourselves, whereas psychology tells us to be selfness putting the “me” first, rearranging the world to our needs, which creates self-destruction and broken relationships. We have to keep the goal of faithfulness in our minds always, as it will allow God to work deeper and us to respond to His call! God has bigger things at stake that He wants you for, much more than the petty complaints we give or things we ask of Him! Remember; God does not want our complaints, thus He will not give us an answer for them, rather He wants our obedience, so He can use us more and better! © 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries

The Character of Gentleness Is the Character of Gentleness working in you? Here is how you can find
out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Gentleness from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Gentleness in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better attitude of Gentleness? 3. What blocks Gentleness from working and being exhibited in me? 4. How can I make Gentleness function better, stronger and faster even in times of uncertainly and stress?

Galatians 5:22-23
Gentleness (Isa. 40:11; 42:2-3; Philp. 4: 5; Matt. 5:5; 11:29; 12:15; Eph. 4:1-2; 2 Timothy 2:24; 1 Thessalonians 2:7); is the character that will show calmness, personal care and tenderness in meeting the needs of others. It is to be more than just a personality; it is to be who we are from the work of the Sprit within us. Roughness and violence are the opposite! When we have the mindset to just see what we can get out of life and make a name for ourselves we miss out on

what is best for our benefit. Then it causes us to run over others and we end up being like the men who built the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1-9). Their downfall was not the building project but the pride and arrogance. To seek significance outside of glorifying God by their achievements alone, ignoring God’s love, care, plan, and providence for a cheap and temporary substitute. • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Isa. 40:11; 42:1-3; Matt. 11:28-29; Luke 7:36-50; 10:38-42; Johan 8: 1-11; I Thess. 2:7-8) Here is are negative examples from Scripture (Nub. 20:2-13; II Sam. 18:1015; 19:1-8; I Kings 21: 5-14; Luke 9:51-56)

Further Questions 1. How would you define Gentleness? 2. What are the things that cause you to be rough and course with others? 3. How does being rough counteract Gentleness? 4. Are you aware of the intricacy and delicacy of life, so you are tender too? 5. When have you been filled with Gentleness the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to have Gentleness in which you should have? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Gentleness? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Gentleness into action in a specific instance. Such as how does God’s tenderness toward you affect the way you go about your life to get things done? Does His care affect the way you care with humility and gentleness being tender in spite of people treating you like a doormat? Gentleness is not being week, as with meekness, gentleness is strength under control. It allows us to be tender, just think how big and vast and powerful God is, who is bigger than the universe, who transcends space and time way beyond our comprehension. Yet, He treats us with the utmost of tenderness and care. Knowing gentleness is trusting that God will take care of justice, thus we need to think correctly about who God is and who we are in Him. This understanding of His sovereignty, doctrine and control will move us from the hurriedness of life and the cruelty that goes with it to take the time with relationships, growth because we are at peace with God.

Remember; what come into your mind when you think about God tells a lot about you, perhaps the most important thing! © 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Self-Control Is the Character of Self-Control working in you? Here is how you can find
out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Self-Control from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Self-Control in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better attitude of Self-Control? 3. What blocks Self-Control from working and being exhibited in me? 4. How can I make Self-Control function better, stronger and faster even in times of uncertainly and stress?

Galatians 5:22-23
Self-Control (Prov. 16:32; 25:28; Rom 13:12-14; I Cor. 6:12; 9:25-27; 1Thess. 5: 22; Titus 2:12; Heb. 12:2; II Pet. 1:5-7) is allowing God to be in control of your will and heart and seeking the Spirit to enable us. Then we will know what not to do and guard the areas we are weak in. This will allow us to have discipline and restraint with obedience to God and others. It is not letting distractions derail or remove us from His will and plan so we will not be held back with what Christ called us to do. Self-indulgence is the opposite, from eating a pound of chocolate at once or partying your way to oblivion. Too much excess will leave you empty and alone, it will at best cause us to gain a lot of weight and lose your friends and at worst lose your life and miss out on our heavenly reward! Self-indulgence seeks what is fleeting when we as a Christian are made for eternity. • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Gen. 39:6-18; II Sam. 16:5-13; Dan. 1:8-16) Here is are negative examples from Scripture (Gen. 3:1-7; Nub. 20:7-12; II Sam. 13:1-19; I Kings 21:1-7;)

Further Questions

1. How would you define Self-Control? 2. What are the things that lure you to be self-indulgent? 3. How does the excess of life counteract Self-Control? 4. What happens to our relationships with God and others when we relinquish self-control? 5. When have you been filled with Self-Control the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to have Self-Control in which you should have? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Self-Control? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Self-Control into action in a specific instance. Such as how can you place safe guards against the areas in your life where you are weak in? Or how can you avoid situations, things, certain people and places that may cause you to lose control? Or how can you balance having joy and fun so they do not become excess that lead to sin? Self-Control is not the subject of the media; you may perhaps never see a movie with this as the premise because it is anti-climatic and perhaps boring. The world wants us to grab all of the gusto that we can, go for that brass ring regardless of the consequences or who we step on to get it or taking the responsibility of our actions. Yet, Christ is calling us by His example and Word to seek what is in eternity that is permanent and lasting not what is fleeting and empty. Christ was our greatest example from the humbleness of the incarnation through Gethsemane to the Cross He was the perfect model of self-control! Selfcontrol will be the key to inner strength that will help deliver us from fear, depression, harm and the pain of life by being focused on Christ and not our circumstances. Christ’s strength in us that we cannot do on our own! And the key to receive this strength is our surrender to His Lordship over all aspects of our lives! Remember God wants us to have fun too and enjoy life; we are not to be prudes at the same time we are not to seek sin either! Remember, we make the fruits by taking His yoke so it will create the blossom, and when we keep His yoke (growth in our faith and practice of being a disciple) you will bear the fruit. It is what we are to Christ not so much what we do in His name. © 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Forgiving Is the Character of Forgiveness working in you? Here is how you can find
out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of forgiveness from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit forgiveness in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better attitude of forgiveness? 3. What blocks forgiveness from working and being exhibited in me? 4. How can I make forgiveness function better, stronger and faster even in times of uncertainly and stress? Forgiving is the realization of how much we have been forgiven by Christ. This enables us to forgive the insignificant things that are done to us. It involves not being resentful to others, and ignoring the wrongs that we have received so we can heal relationships by expressing Christ's love (Psalm 32; Matthew 18:21-35; Luke 23:34; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13). Unforgiving, blame, being intolerant, callous and bitter are the opposites. When we refuse to forgive or refuse to repent, then we are concealing ourselves from God and His best for us! Unforgiving allows bitterness to be built and continue so that it festers, and corrupts our whole being. Then bitterness becomes our driving force and identity. So it must not take hold of our lives, or it well block out the flow of the Holy Sprit and the rest of the fruits of the Spirit especially self-control and love! • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Gen. 50:15-21; I Sam. 24:10-12; Luke 23:34; Acts 7:54-60) Here is are negative examples from Scripture (Gen. 27:41-45; Jonah 3:104:2; Matt. 18:21-35)

Further Questions 1. How would you define Forgiving? 2. What are the things that lure you to be Unforgiving? 3. Do you seek forgiveness from people you offend and hurt?

4. What happens to our relationships with God and others when we bow to being intolerant or refuse to Forgive? 5. When have you been filled with a Forgiving attitude the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to forgive someone with whom you should have? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more forgiveness? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put a Forgiving attitude into action in a specific instance? Forgiveness requires maturity, patience and tact. Forgiveness is also a mandate from our Lord. God desires us to seek forgiveness; because God is a God of forgiveness where He is centered upon relationships and committed to relationships. God knows our human weakness, and are self-destructive nature, and that our relationships tend to be fragile. Broken relationships come out of our sin nature, and our fallen world, which seeks its self over one another. God's desire is to show the world our potential, because what Christ has done for us, that we should not take pleasure in destructive situations that is dividing and drawing relationships apart. Because relationships are what life is all about. Satan's desire is to destroy relationships as he first attempted in the Garden of Eden, and nearly defeated our relationship with God and each other. God's plan is to prove Satan wrong, and our call is to build each other up and not destroy each other. When we have the knowledge of God's mercy, then we have the responsibility of acting on mercy with each other. (Ephesians 4:29-32) How can we go through our Christian life and experience and rationalize our actions and deeds only to face our Lord later on in judgment! Ask yourself this question; how do I handle forgiveness? How do you respond when others forgive you? What do you do with opportunities that our Lord has for you? We must realize the generosity of grace, and being in Christ, that we have is what we do not deserve. Our Lord does not want us to forgive begrudgingly, because He did not forgive us with conditions and strings attached. We as Christians must extend ourselves to other people with love and what flows out of love is forgiveness (John 13:34-35). This should be clear to us. A healthy Christian is one who puts aside the malicious traits of our evil sin nature. Instead the Christian will model kindness, love, caring, compassion and out of these flow forgiveness. God wants us to get with it, to wake up and seize the opportunities He gives us. First: Forgiveness is Hard (Isaiah 55:8-9). Forgiveness is hard because it demands a surrender of our rights to get even. Forgiveness even demands suffering form the person who was wronged. God is governed by

righteousness… were desires and emotions drive us… God has a moral and virtuous purpose… and our purpose is self-seeking. Second: Forgiveness is Complete (Colossians 3:12-14) Forgiveness is actually canceling a debt. Forgiveness is bankruptcy, once filed the creditor may not retrieve the debt, and it is wiped out. We need to see the cancellation of the debt as a right-off and not some form of embezzlement. When we forgive we forget, that is we are to no longer even have the desire for restitution or pay back or punishment. Third: Forgiveness is Costly (Luke 6:27-31) When we forgive it may incur a cost to us, and we should realize and welcome it. Christ did not owe our debt, yet He paid it! We need not to base it on our feelings and desires, but to focus what forgiveness is, as Christ gave us, as He was our example. John 3:16 is the example on what forgiveness cost our Lord. Understanding this is hard even for the mature Christian, and virtually impossible for the non-Christian, sense it goes against the common sense of society; because the suffering should be on the one who did the wrong. Yet this is a beacon of witness to the supremacy of Christ. This is why the cost brought on our Lord is the greatest cost of all. And we need to realize this and respond accordingly to one another. (Psalm 32) Character speaks for itself. We never owe people an explanation or excuse to be the person that God called us to be. © 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Humility Is the Character of Humility working in you?
Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Humility from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Humility in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better attitude of Humility? 3. What blocks Humility from working and being exhibited in me?

4. How can I make Humility function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? Humility (1 Kings 8:58; Psalm 25; Luke 22:27; Col. 1:18; Phil. 2:8; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:3-5) minimizes arrogance and removes pride. It is the understanding of our fallen nature and weaknesses that causes us to think we are better than we are, and that causes us to strive to lift ourselves above others and God. It is admitting that others, and most importantly God, are responsible for our achievements. Humbleness will enable us to be a teachable person who is willing to have a good attitude of submission and servant-hood, a person who confesses sin and remembers how Christ served us! Humility is not self-hatred or having a “poor me” attitude. Arrogance and pride are the opposites. These are the attitudes that say one is superior to another, even to the extent of the regarding of others with contempt as if they were unworthy of any relation or interaction with us! It lifts our selfinterests and our self-sufficiencies, which seem necessary and good. However, when we are self-sufficient, we will not only fail to see our need for redemption, but also fail to see our need for growth in spiritual matters. Therefore, the self becomes the god, and any work of the One True God is muted and put aside. • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Luke 1:26-56; 7:1-10; John 1:1928; 3:28-30; Phil. 2:3-11) Here is are negative examples from Scripture (Is. 14:12-17; Dan. 4:30-34; Luke 18:9-14)

Further Questions 1. How would you define Humbleness? 2. What are the things that cause you to be prideful with others? 3. How does arrogance counteract Humbleness? 4. What happens to our relationships with God and others when we are arrogant? 5. When have you been filled with Humbleness the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to be Humble in which you should have? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Humbleness? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Humbleness into action in a specific instance such as going to someone who has hurt you, and seek

resolution and healing. How can you avoid being a person who is arrogant with others? Humbleness is how we are to come to the Lord. It shows where our heart is and if we are open to Jesus as Lord and preeminent in our lives, as well as our Savior. It allows us to be accountable, and to honestly assess our actions and performance. Pride sets us up as a god when there is only One God. God wants our obedience, love, and trust. We cannot do that when we are too full of ourselves! We need to see how harmful and destructive pride and its various forms are in the life of the Christian and the church. We have to take the initiative to remove our Will and allow the Spirit to break us down. If we do not, we will break down and the church will break down. We cannot be afraid to see things from God’s perspective. Neither can we be afraid to allow Him to work in us and grow us for His purpose. However, for this to transpire, we have to be humble! We have to allow the Spirit to use our obedience and diligence of study in the Word to develop our spiritual maturity in the nature of God. Yet, most Christians choose to develop their character on how others around them act and their own presumptions of the Christian life rather than in His nature and Word. Remember; you must ask yourselves, “How do I come to the Lord?” We cannot see the value of nor get a grasp of the promises of God until we humble ourselves. So, surrender your pride and Will to Him. Make the determination to be His, and do not allow your self-will to be in His way! Allow Christ to take you beyond your hopes and dreams (John 3:5). © 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Fairness Is the Character of Fairness working in you? Here is how you can find out.
Take a careful look at this character and Fruit of Fairness from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Fairness in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better attitude of Fairness? 3. What can block Fairness from operating from my life? 4. How can I make Fairness function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress?

Fairness (Psalm 73; Prov. 17:26; Matthew 7:12; John 7:24; Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11; 10:12; James 2:1) sees a situation from the viewpoint of each person involved and not just our own. It seeks the best, just, equable solution, even if it hurts us. It does not seek to please one over another, nor does it seek more than is needed. Fairness is not insisting on having our rights over someone else’s! Unfairness, Injustice, and Bias are the opposites. They cause us to act with prejudice towards others in our thinking and actions! It would be like one person insisting on denying the others something they want or need because it may offend him (that is not sin). One example would be denying the Pledge of Allegiance to a nation because of the objection of a few! • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Lev. 19:13-18; Duet. 16:18-20; Acts 10:23-48; 15:6-11; Rom. 2:2 -16) Here are negative examples from Scripture (Is. 53:1-12; Amos 5:11-12; Luke 23: 39-43; James 2:1-9)

Further Questions 1. How would you define Fairness? 2. What are the things that cause you to be biased toward others? 3. How does being biased counteract Fairness? 4. What happens to our relationships with God and others when we are prejudiced toward others who are different from us? 5. When have you been filled with Fairness the most? 6. In what situation should you have been Fair, but failed to be? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Fairness? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Fairness into action in a specific instance. Such as, how can you prepare to settle a situation that may come up by being impartial, listening, and examining all of the facts? Or, how can you avoid being a person who is prejudiced toward others? Consider how fairly you treat others, and then make the needed changes to align yourself with God’s Word. Fairness is how we are to judge and handle situations with respect and uniformity, even when they may be not fair to us. When you think this through, why should I take the unfair cut, we have to realize, God is that way with us! God

is not a fair God, and He is certainly not fair with us! That is right, because grace is not fair because we receive an incredible gift we did not earn or deserve. Thus, this is unfair to God, yet He gives it to us anyway! Consider your dealings and season your fairness with grace. This will show the world that what Christ would have me do is to be honest and impartial. If you are claming Christ as Lord, especially in the public arena, people will see Christ as you behave, solve problems, relate, and interact! Thus, you cannot be selfish or show partiality, nor can you deny justice. Remember; A Christian lifestyle requires fairness! A Christian who is prejudiced is operating diametrically opposed to God’s Will as revealed in Scripture! More verses to study: Proverbs 1:1-3 and 29:14 - Helping people to be fair Jeremiah 5:1 - The importance of one person who is fair Luke 23:40, 41 – The thief on the cross recognizes what is fair 2 Thessalonians 1:4-6 - God is fair James 2:1-7 - Showing favoritism is forbidden © 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Courage Is the Character of Courage working in you? Here is how you can find out.
Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Courage from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Courage in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better attitude of Courage? 3. What can block Courage from operating from my life? 4. How can I make Courage function better, stronger and faster even in times of uncertainly and stress? Courage (Deuteronomy 31:6; Josh. 1:9; Psalm 23:4; 31:24; Proverbs 28:1; Phil. 4:13; 2 Tim. 1:7; 1 John 4:4; 18) realizes that God has given us the strength to face any situation, trial, or peril. It is the ability to react, knowing that God is in control, that He who is in me is greater than he who is against me.

Fear and Cowardice are the opposites. Running from our call because we get some resistance, whether it is sharing the faith or exercising our gifts, dishonors our Lord Jesus Christ! • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (1 Sam. 17:33-37; Dan. 3:16-18; 6:10-24; Acts 4:13-21) Here is are negative examples from Scripture (Num. 13:27-33; Matt. 26:6974; John 19:12-16)

Further Questions 1. How would you define Courage? 2. What are the things that cause you to have fear, especially with others? 3. How do fear, and being biased, counteract Courage? 4. What happens to our relationship with God and with others when we are cowardly with others, refusing to take a chance even if it hurts us? 5. When have you been filled with Courage the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to be Courageous when you should have? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Courage? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Courage into action in a specific instance. Such as, how can you do something you are called to do that causes you dread, such as witnessing to a stranger? Consider how much you can grow and learn when you are willing to take a chance now and then, and how much that can influence others around you who struggle with fear! Courage for the Christian is the motivation to say and do the right thing, regardless of the consequences. We are fueled with courage because God promises to help us and save us because of what Christ has done for us! It is allowing Him to work in us with strength, power, and conviction. Because of our saving faith, we should have the response of gratitude, willing to tell others about what He has done for us and what He can do for them. Fear and trepidations will not go away, but when we lean on Him, He will give us the courage for evangelism and teaching. Remember; Courage is crucial for sharing the faith, and teaching the truth of Christ. Jesus told us this would not be easy, that we will meet resistance. However, He will give us the faith and courage to prevail (Matt. 24:9; Acts 20:2930; 2 Tim. 4:3-4)! All of these characters work together, so being courageous will

be within the parameters of love, kindness, and self-control… Being courageous means not doing things stupidly or taking unnecessary chances! © 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Friendship Is the Character of Friendship working in you? Here is how you can find
out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Friendship from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Friendship in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better attitude of Friendship? 3. What blocks friendship and relation building from happing in your life? 4. How can I make Friendship function better, stronger and faster even in times of uncertainly and stress? Friendship is the companionship and closeness we are to have with one another. It is the commitment to build relationships by getting to know others and help them form the other characters, and in turn help you. Relationships are essential to life and being a Christian, it is our number 2 priority besides our growth in Christ! This is not to be feared but embraced, even when it hurts! (Proverbs 18:24; 27:17; Matt. 5-7; Luke 15:1-2; Rom. 12:13; Heb. 13:2; I Pet. 4:9) Animosity and Bitterness are the opposites. These rotten fruits will cause apprehension and discontent in society and the church. Instead of friendship and cooperation we will have strife, gossip, backstabbing and such causing all kinds of social breakdown and destruction! • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Gen. 18:1-8; Luke 10:29-37; 10:38; 14:7-14) Here is are negative examples from Scripture (I Sam. 25:9-13; II Sam. 10:1-5; Luke 9:51-56; John 1:11; James 2:1-6)

Further Questions 1. How would you define Friendship? 2. What are the things that cause you to be bitter with others?

3. How does being bitter counteract Friendship? 4. What happens to our relationships with God and others when we are bitter with others? 5. When have you been filled with Friendship the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to be Friendly in which you should have? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with being friendlier? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Friendship into action in a specific instance. Such as how can prevent bitterness from taking root in you? How do my moods affect my friendliness factor? How can I build more and stronger interpersonal relationships? Friendship for the Christian is never taking any of our relationships for granted or lightly as we should seek to be friendly to everyone, even people who are mean and rude to us. It is taking the principles of the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7) and putting them into practice as peacemakers and forgivers. Remember; Friendship is an essential quality for a Christian to give and take what is so important and needed in life! If you have ever wondered what the meaning of life is, or what your purpose is, or what is needed and such it is building relationships: First with Christ then with family, then with others. When we ignore this and become cut off and distant we are ignoring our call and responsibility in life. Yes you will be taken advantage of and hurt. What happens to us is not your responsibility nor is how people may treat you, you are responsible on how you treat others! So be willing to extend a lovingly hand and also be willing to receive one. Friendship is critical to applying the characters of Christ in our everyday experiences and encounters to the best of our abilities! © 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Honesty & Truthfulness Is the Character of Honesty & Truthfulness working in you? Here is
how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Honesty from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself:

1. How do I exhibit Honesty in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better attitude of Truthfulness? 3. What blocks me from exercising Honesty? 4. How can I make integrity function better, stronger and faster even in times of uncertainly and stress? Honesty & Truthfulness (Psalm 15:2; 25:5; John 16:6; 17; 2 Cor. 8:21; Ephesians 4:15; 25; Phil. 4:8) means being straight and honest with others and doing what is right. This trait will allow us to earn trust by being accurate with facts and situations. Dishonesty and Lying are the opposites. These rotten fruits will cause us to seek dishonest gain and step on others to get our way. It will allow us to believe “the ends justify the means” when God has the means as His will. Such as the journey to know God’s will is God’s will, not just what the goal. is. The way we live our life is more important than the goals we obtain! • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Gen. 31: 36-42; 43:11-12; Matt. 26:59-64) Here is are negative examples from Scripture (Gen. 26: 9-11; 2 Sam. 11:1-27; Esther 7:1-10; John 12:6; Acts 5:1-10)

Further Questions 1. How would you define Honesty? Are you an honest person? 2. What are the things that cause you to lie to others? 3. How does being Dishonest counteract Honesty? 4. What happens to our relationships with God and others when we are Dishonest with others? 5. When have you been filled with Honesty the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to be Honest in which you should have? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with being more Honest? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Honesty into action in a specific instance. Such as do I really believe that honesty is a virtue, if so how do I apply it in work, friends, church…?

Honesty is holding onto Biblical principles and being consistent with them. This will translate in all of our dealings equaling the hallmark of integrity on how we really are and how we are really perceived. How we are is how others will perceive Christ, if we are dishonest then, “why should I bother with Christianity,” will say the unbeliever. Truthfulness will see truthfulness, which will allow us to see Jesus as worthy of our trust. His truth points us to the Father (Matthew 11:27). His truth will give us wisdom (Luke 21:15). His truth will make all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28). Then we will be drawn to truth and truth will spill over from us onto others around us. So let us trust in Him. Follow Him and worship Him. Remember; Honesty is an essential for us to realize Jesus Christ in our lives and for us to bow down and worship Him. © 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Dependability Is the Character of Dependability working in you? Here is how you can
find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Dependability from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Dependability in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better attitude of being Dependable? 3. What blocks me from being dependable? 4. How can I make Dependability function better, stronger and faster even in times of uncertainly and stress? Dependable (John 15:13; 1 Corinthians 4:2; Colossians 1:10) is being constantly reliable and trustworthy. It will allow us to continue in our commitments even if it means personal sacrifice. This will allow others to build trust in us and point to the One who they can put the most important trust in, Christ as Lord. Unreliable and unpredictable are the opposites. This can rage from constantly being late and holding others up, to having a personality that is unpredictable that others do not know how to relate and respond to you.

• •

Here are positive examples from Scripture (Gen. 6:5-8; 7:1-5; Ruth 1:15-18; Matt. 24:42-25:13; Phil. 2:19-23) Here is are negative examples from Scripture (2 Sam. 3:26-30; 39; Matt. 25:21-30; 2 Tim. 4:9-11)

Further Questions 1. How would you define Dependability? Are you a Dependable person? 2. What are the things that cause you to be unreliable? 3. How does being Untrustworthy counteract Dependability? 4. What happens to our relationships with God and others when we are unreliable with others? 5. When have you been Dependable the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to be Dependable in which you should have? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with being more Dependable? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Dependability into action in a specific instance. Such as do I really believe that when I hold others up I cause unnecessary frustration and give Jesus a bad reputation? Dependability is a virtue, so you need to strategize on how to apply it in work, friends, school, church…? How can you rethink your schedule and priorities to be more Dependable? Being a person who others cannot count on or trust will block effective relationships from being built! This will also lead to a false impression of Christianity as people see who Christ is by our actions. Thus, when we are unpredictable how can they see God and church as stable and worth investigation? Our dependability needs to be built on the fact that Christ is dependable with us. Because Christ character is dependable, we should response to what He has done for me out of a sense of gratitude. So we can likewise be dependable to others even when we do not like it or if it is inconvenient. Being dependable is a reflection of our priorities, if your priorities are not God centered then you will not show good character to others. Being trustworthy shows our commitment to others by being a person who cares for them personally as well as a just cause such as church events. Dependability is the quality of always being there for others from family, friends as well as neighbors and the others around us. It is always being faithful! My brother in law who is a Marine pointed out that their motto (whom he says is the greatest elite fighting force of all time, the United States Marine Corps) is "Semper Fidelis,"

meaning: "Always Faithful", always dependable. Should it not be the motto of the Christian too! © 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Christian Gratitude Is the Character of Gratitude working in you? Here is how you can find
out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Gratitude from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Gratitude in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better attitude of appreciation for what Christ has done for me? 3. What blocks me from having Gratitude? 4. How can I make Gratitude function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? Gratitude is an attitude of being thankful, even when we do not see what we have. This is an aspect of worship, expressing to God, and others, how they have benefited our lives by showing them support, appreciation, and benevolence. Because His blood has redeemed us, we are grateful (Luke 17:1119; 1 Corinthians 4:7; 1 Thess. 5:18). Ingratitude, and Disapproval are the opposites. This means the refusal to acknowledge and respond to what Christ has done for us. This can be a Christian who does little to nothing with their faith and remains in the ways of the world, or just refusing to grow and respond to God. This places a barrier to seeing the great, incompressible gift of grace we have received, and then refusing, or forgetting, to respond to our Lord. • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (2 Sam. 2:5-7; Dan. 2:17-23; Luke 17:15-18; Rom. 16:1-12; Phil. 1:3-7) Here are negative examples from Scripture (Gen. 31:36-42; Ex. 17:1-4; Luke 17:11-14; 17)

Further Questions 1. How would you define Gratitude? Are you a person who dispenses Gratitude?

2. What are the things that cause you to have ingratitude? 3. How does the lack of Gratitude counteract Gratitude? 4. What happens to our relationship, with God, and others, when we are disapproving, un-appreciating, and negative with others? 5. When have you been filled with Gratitude the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to have Gratitude, when you should have? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with being more Grateful? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Gratitude into action in a specific instance. Such as, how would Gratitude improve your worship of our Lord? What do you need to do to realize, to the fullest extent possible, how indebted you are to Christ for your salvation? In addition, because of that, what should be your response to Him and to others around you? We have been saved by Grace. No work is required from us, so, nothing is needed by us to earn our place in eternity. We have no obligation to respond; however, when we do become Christians by faith alone, a natural response will take place, as depicted in the “Fruits of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-23), that show our faith to be real and impacting. The main thrust for our fruits and character development is the ability to see what we have in Christ, so we show ourselves thankful. This thankfulness is what motivates us to follow His teachings and precepts for all aspects of our lives, and for them to spill out on those around us. Although gratitude can mean thankfulness, or to respond to a favor we have received, it is a much deeper response where our hearts are filled with gratitude for the many blessings that God gives, even when they seem small to our wants, or even though we may not be able to see them. David was a man after God's own heart, and his heart was full of praise to God, even in times of dire stress. He knew what God has done for him. He was the least in his family, and his family the least in his tribe, yet he was chosen to be king. It was something he did not earn or deserve, and even when he sinned, he saw God’s Grace restore him (Psalm 34:1; 107:15). As a Christian, we must strive to be more thankful to Him and do our utmost to live up to the call given to us in Heb 13:15, "By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name." We need to have the mindset that we are merely sojourners here on this earth, that is we are just passing through, preparing ourselves for our true home in heaven. The result will be a life filled with praise to God, as we

will see Him, and not just our circumstances. Perhaps we will then be able to appreciate His goodness to us and have even more praise to and for His name. This praise will overflow to others instead of the rotten fruits of Gal 5: 19-21! Let our worship be true because of what He has done for us! Let us give our loud expression to Him! Praise God forever and ever (Psalm 150)! God’s plan for us is not just our salvation; it is our growth, too. Do not neglect your growth in Him! © 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Responsibility Is the Character of Responsibility working in you? Here is how you can
find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Responsibility from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Responsibility in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a mindset to accept what I do and take responsibility for it, even if it hurts? 3. What blocks me from being Responsible? 4. How can I make Responsibility function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Gen. 41:37-45; Ruth 1:11-13; Esther 4:13-17; Matt. 25:14-23) Here are negative examples from Scripture (Gen. 3: 8-13; 4:8-10; 25:29-34; Ex. 32:21-24; Matt. 27:24-25)

Responsibility (Romans 14:12-13; Galatians 6:1-5; Eph. 6:21; 1 Peter 4:10-11) means to know and do what God, and others, expects of us. The Christian is called to remain steadfast with honesty, and then when we do something wrong, we own up to it, admit our wrong, and do all that we can to fix the problem we caused and the relationships that have been hurt. Responsibility shows us the need to guard our weakness. Blame and Reproach are the opposites; this is where we hide from our wrong deeds, refusing to acknowledge our wrong. This further exasperates when we

engage in blaming others for our mistakes. This causes undue liability to the Body of Christ, and produces an atmosphere of distrust and accusations. Further Questions 1. How would you define Responsibility? Are you a person who refuses to own up to your deeds? Do you take Responsibility for your failures too? 2. What are the things that cause you to blame others? 3. How does blame counteract Responsibility? 4. What happens to our relationships with God and others, when we refuse to take Responsibility for our actions? 5. When have you been filled with Responsibility the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to own up to your deeds, when you should have? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with being more Responsible? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Responsibility into action in a specific instance. Consider examples such as, how would Responsibility improve your integrity and reputation at work and at church? What about how you deal with family members? What do you need to do to realize that your actions have consequences when you fail to act godly? Responsibility implies accountability! It is a very dangerous approach to life to refuse to be accountable or responsible. I find it very interesting how Enron and the various other American companies that have falsified their accounting records and reporting, defrauded countless thousands of people for years and nobody seemed to care until it all unraveled. Only then did anyone cry, “Foul!” The Enron tactics were considered standard business practices, and were taught in many MBA programs, including the one I was in many years ago. Dishonest gain in the eyes of the world is OK as long as you do not get caught. So, the business gurus and heroes of the 80s and 90s, who were once regarded as extremely successful and wise, are now considered shameful and foolish. Yet, because it failed, people cry fraud! Responsibility demands that we take character seriously. So, when we are Responsible, we do not go into the “blame game.” Responsibility is needed more now than ever before. Our culture is in conflict with Responsibility because no one values it, yet they insist on it when it affects them. Just watch the news, and see how the reporters attack people with no character, even though they may not have it themselves. The recent attacks on the Catholic Church are a prime

example. Priests are leaving the church by the dozens--most because of unfounded accusations (yes the Catholic church is guilty of criminal behavior by moving predatory priests around instead of stepping them down!). Just by having a rumor against you will often cause you to lose your position. A year ago, government officials, and the rest of the business world, because of its “creative” business practices, celebrated Enron. Today, it is loathed because of those same practices! Once they worked, now they do not. Once it was OK, now it is not. As if character once absent was not sought, as if once not needed, now it is needed! It is always better to have someone mature who knows you well to hold you accountable. Character is like exercise. We cannot just get fit with occasional sweat and the ”burn,” because we have to be constant, as it is with anything in the spiritual life. © 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Contentment Is the Character of Contentment working in you? Here is how you can find
out. Take a careful look at this character and Fruit of Contentment from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit being Content in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a mindset to trust God for all I have and need, thus choosing Contentment, even if I do not understand? 3. What blocks me from being Content? 4. How can I make Contentment function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Philippians 2:13; 1 Timothy 6:6-8; 2 Timothy 4: 16) Here are negative examples from Scripture (1 Samuel 13:6-14; Proverbs 18:1; Luke 10:38-40)

Contentment is the attitude of accepting whatever God provides, and being happy with it. It does not seek for gratification what is not needed, and does not seek happiness in the shallow things of life. When you are more concerned with how others are doing than how you are doing, you will be on the right track.

(Proverbs 16:9; 19:21; Romans 9:19-21; Philippians. 4: 10-13; 1 Timothy 6:6-9; Hebrews 13: 5) Discontent, Stress, Selfishness and Unhappiness are opposites. Selfish people are never content, because they place too many barriers of desires that can never be gratified. Contentment cannot become rooted in you if you harbor distrust and stress, as the focus will be on your situation, and not who you are in Christ. Being discontent will prevent the work of God in your heart and your will. Further Questions 1. How would you define Contentment? 2. What are the things that cause you to be unhappy and stressed? 3. How does stress counteract Contentment? 4. What happens to our relationship with God, and with others, when we refuse to trust Christ, choosing, rather, to live in stress and strife? 5. When have you most been filled with Contentment? 6. In what situation did you fail to be Content when you should have been? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with being more Content? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Contentment into action in a specific instance. Ask yourself, am I satisfied with what I have in life? Why, or why not? What do you need to do to fully realize God’s sovereignty over the universe, including your life? How can you change your thinking and lifestyle to reflect God’s goodness, so you can be happy just having Him in you? Contentment realizes who we are in Christ, the insurmountable, incredible, and wonderful blessing we have in Grace. It sees the tremendous privilege we have in Him. With this attitude, we are to strive to give glory to our Lord Jesus Christ. With our eyes on Him, our gaze is away from ourselves. Contentment further acknowledges that we fully belong to God, and He is Sovereign in the universe, so, we can fully trust Him in any situation we find ourselves--period! We can relinquish control over our lives, and take God seriously in all aspects of our journey here on earth, as Christ is our All in All! Thus, we can be content with whatever situation He has called us to endure, and with any call He has made for us. Contentment fuels the work of faith, humility, submission, dependence, and unselfishness, which will produce virtue and patience that sees and feels the

work of the Lord. Consider Paul while he was writing Philippians, Chapter Four. He was in a heinous situation, in prison, tied to the floor, lying in his own excrement. Where others would see no hope, his focus was on Christ. Paul was content because he knew that the times, the seasons, and the opportunities of life were temporary, completely controlled by God. All that mattered to him was that God be glorified, and the other people in his life were taken care of (Phil. 4:10; 19-23). When we really, fully trust in Christ, just as Paul did, we will be a contented Christian. If you still feel contentment escaping you, then you also need to realize you must allow the work of the Spirit to flow in and out of you! Allow Him to reveal your true condition, and surrender your Will to Him. This means also realizing we are owed nothing, we deserve nothing, due to sin, and, we do not deserve His Grace which we have. If we can seek His Will and contentment by subtracting our desires and Will until we are satisfied only with what Christ brings us, then we will see contentment at work within us. This contentment will not allow fear to grip us, or seek merely the “here and now” from life, which causes stress and discontent. Rather, we are to seek eternity, with our eyes upon Him. With the Spirit’s work within us, we can appreciate what Christ has done for us, thus not allowing blame and judgmental attitudes to reign in us. We can be flexible in any situation, with a heart filled with gratitude fueling our outlook and focus. This will keep depression away, too (unless you have chemical imbalances, too)! Be willing to learn how to share love with others. When you have others’ interests in your mindset, your focus in life will become clear, because contentment is not about ourselves, it is about Christ working in us, and being contagious with His work, so it flows onto others around us (Gal. 5:13; 6:2; 10; Eph. 4:2; 32). Do not allow the robber, whether it is your desires, or your situation, steal contentment away (John 10:10)! "Contentment is a sweet, inward heart thing. It is a work of the Spirit indoors. It is a box of precious ointment, very comforting and useful for troubled hearts in times of troubled conditions." "It is the inward submission of the heart." Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs (1599-1646) The essential presence of character will influence how we react in times of stress and confusion. © 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Generosity
Is the Character of Generosity working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and Fruit of Generosity from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Generosity in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a mindset to know that all I have in life belongs to God, and, since He supplies all I have and need, I can model His grace through being Generous? 3. What blocks me from being Generous? 4. How can I make Generosity function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Exodus 36:2-7; Luke 7:44-8:3; 10:33-37; 21:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8:1-7) Here are negative examples from Scripture (Haggai 1:2-9; Malachi 3:8-12; Matthew 25:31-46; 26:6-13)

Generosity (Deuteronomy 16:17; Proverbs 11:24-25; 13:7; Matthew 10:8; 2 Corinthians 9: 6-15) allows us to give to others because God has given abundantly to us. It is the wise use of stewardship and the attitude that all possessions belong to God. We are merely the caretakers for His purpose. It will see the Lord as the Source of true blessing, not our selfish desires. Greed, Stinginess, Selfishness and Miserliness are the opposites. These rotten fruits rot because we hoard them and do not use them properly as Christ called us to do. This blocks the flow of God’s blessings and 'living water' from flowing in us. We will become stagnant and useless to the Kingdom or the people around us. Pride and arrogance will be the driving force, the quintessential things that God hates the most (Proverbs 6:16-18)! Further Questions 1. How would you define Generosity? 2. What are the things that cause you to be stingy with what God gives you? 3. How does greed counteract Generosity? 4. What happens to our relationship with God, and with others, when we refuse to see all that we have is His?

5. When have you most been filled with Generosity? 6. In what situation did you fail to be Generous when you should have been? 7. What issue is in your life now, that would improve with being more Generous? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Generosity into action in a specific instance. If you are not a giving or hospitable person, seek to discover why. You are blocking God’s work in you. How can you release your selfish attitudes, and embrace the flowing in and out of His work in you? The lack of Generosity will reflect a lack of faith and obedience! If you think there are no rivers coming into you, then seek what is blocking them. Is it sin, attitude, fear….? God blesses those who steadfastly embrace His call, and who stay true to Christ. One of the things I both love and hate to do is go out to lunch with a bunch of Christians. I love the fellowship, but when it comes to tip time, I, as the pastor usually end up paying the tip, then hear complaints from waitresses about how stingy the various church groups are! When will we learn, as a Church, that our actions enable us to point others to the way to the Lord, and give us the ability to repel others from Him! Generosity is the realization we have His living water (John 4; 7:38) flowing in us. To keep it fresh, it must flow out of us, too! The Dead Sea in Israel is dead. There is no life is in it because it has no outlet. It has a river flowing into it, but the water remains there, and becomes stagnated with harsh salts and minerals to the point that nothing can live or grow there. When we are stingy, we become like the Dead Sea--stagnant and lifeless. The living water within us will quickly become stagnant, like a mud puddle with mosquito larvae growing in it, useless, and even dangerous. Generosity is an example of our trust and reliance on God. Because He has given so much to us, way beyond what we can comprehend, we can therefore be charitable with others. This is an act of worship--to model Christ, and see the big picture that goods and material things are not important, but relationships are. This goes to giving back to God, providing to those who have less, and making sure your church is modeling this character. A selfish church that does not give, and only sees themselves as a charity, will become a Dead Sea rather quickly. How sad and pathetic that would be--an unconcerned, uncaring, and selfabsorbed quandary to the neighborhood, and a disgrace to the Kingdom! Let yourself be a rich and growing reservoir, overflowing like a fountain of living water that refreshes and encourages all those around you (Eph. 5:18). This will be your sweetness and virtue to others, which will point them to God and be a welcome mat to the Christian life.

We need to stop looking for approval from society, and seek His approval. Character will be the fruit of that endeavor! © 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Purity
Is the Character of Purity working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and Fruit of Purity from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Purity in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop an attitude and willingness to pursue Purity? 3. What blocks me from being Pure? 4. How can I make Purity function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Gen. 39:6-18; Luke 1:26-37; John 8:34-47; 1 Corinthians 13) Here are negative examples from Scripture (Judges 16:1-6; 15-17; 2 Sam. 11:1-27; 13:1-14; Matthew 14:1-12)

Purity & Holiness (Matt. 5:8; Phil. 4:8; 1 Tim. 1:5; 5:22; James 4:8) means being set apart for God’s use, which is holiness in action. It will keep us from being contaminated by or interfering with others in growth and relationship in Christ. We must see our sins and weaknesses, and be humble before the Holiness of God. We may not be able to overcome all of our sins, but our desire is to go in the right direction. Impurity, Adulteration, Decadence and Corruption are the opposites. Our human tendency is to persuade others to agree with our views. This leads to corruption, and all that is evil. God's purpose is to get us in line with His views, which are pure. Yet, so many Christians spend all of their time as pursuers of argumentation and not pursuers of holiness! Further Questions 1. How would you define Purity?

2. Do you strive to keep yourselves pure as a reflection of who Christ is and what He did for you? 3. How does corruption counteract Purity? 4. What happens to our relationship with God, and with others, when we become pursuers of strife, rather than pursuers of holiness? 5. When have you most been filled with Purity? 6. In what situation did you fail to be Pure when you should have been? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with being more Pure? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Purity into action in a specific instance. What is in your life that needs a 180-degree turn, from corruption to holiness? How can you reject the improper thoughts that come to mind? What do you need to do to place a shield from sin around you, to help you embrace holiness and not cave into temptations? Holiness equals Pureness; this refers to the God who always does what is right, always, and continually, even if, and when we do not understand it. God’s nature is holy, which means He is great and His actions are holy. This means He is good (James 1:17). Thus, holiness is what makes Him great and good. The face that God never does what is wrong helps us to trust and rely on Him. The deeper aspects of the faith are manifested when we start to surrender all to Him (Gal. 2:20-21)! Because of His perfection and purity, He cannot tolerate any form of sin (Hab. 1:13)! He is absolutely just in His ability to judge, and is the ultimate ‘Promise Keeper’ (Gen. 18:25; Psalm 7:11; 96:13; Acts 17:31; Rom. 2:5-16; 7:12; Rev. 16:5-7; 19:1-4). This means we have to be perfect. Now how many of you have ever tried to be perfect for an hour, let alone for a lifetime? Yet, the great news is this also means He is the ultimate Pardoner of sin, to counteract that hopeless state we should be in from sin! Holiness is also a call for us to heed and to respond. We are called to be holy! This means we are different from other people. We are not better; we are saved by His grace, set apart for His service and glory. Self-righteousness will quickly contaminate holiness in the minds of others who are not there yet. We are to do our best to understand and learn about Jesus, so we can be more like Him in our character and behaviors, and to reflect what He has given us, because of our gratitude and love. Thus we respond by living a life pleasing to Him.

This is why the work and cross of Christ is so essential for us. Without Jesus, we could never know God, because Jesus covers our sin and allows that separation to become an intimate relationship. Christ covered us so we are now clean and pure (atonement). Our responsibility is to live a righteous life, which will reflect what Christ has done for us! We must surrender, and yield ourselves to Him for true freedom (Rom. 6:1-14). Pursuing holiness means we live with the knowledge that our sin is covered, it must remain dead (Gal. 2:20; 3:20), and it is replaced with His fullness (Eph. 3:19). We can do this by growing in character and living righteously by Christ’s example. Our concern and pursuit is to learn and grow in Him in maturity and faith through obedience and the practice of the Christian walk (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1; Heb. 12:10-17; 1 John 1:5-2:1). We may not be able to be perfect as He is perfect, but we can strive to do our best by receiving His Spirit and Word and applying it in all aspects of our lives. Holiness does not mean we set ourselves apart from others we do not like, or whom we consider sinful, because all of us are sinful. Remember, Jesus Himself had direct contact with the sinners of His day, and called the worst sinners to spread His Gospel--like Paul. Yet, we are not to yield to or undertake their sins and temptations. Being salt without losing our saltiness, and being light that is not under a bowl is being there in love, and caring (Duet. 30:1-10; Matt. 5-6; Eph. 4:17-5:14; 1 Pet. 1:13-22). So let us go out and live as our life belongs to our Lord, as it does, and strive our best to be our best for His glory! (Exodus. 3:1-6; Lev. 11:44-45; Josh. 24:19; I Sam. 2:2; Psalm 99:1-9; Isa. 1:4; 6:1-12; 41:14-20; 57:15; Ezc. 39:7; Amos 4:2; John 17:11; Acts 5:3-4; 32; Rev. 4:1-11; 15:4) You must allow character to speak for you more than what your friends say to you. Friends are vocal, and character is silent! © 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Confidence
Is the Character of Confidence working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and Fruit of Confidence from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself:

1. How do I exhibit Confidence in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop an attitude and willingness to have Confidence? 3. What blocks me from being Confident? 4. How can I make Confidence function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (1 Sam. 14:6-15; 1 Kings 17:1; Psalm 27; Dan. 6:19-23; Acts 27:21-26) Here are negative examples from Scripture (Gen. 3:8-13; 20:8-12; 1 Sam. 28:3-7; Mark 6:14-29)

Confidence (Proverbs 3:25-27; 14:26-27; Job. 13:15; Philippians 4:13; Heb 4: 14-16) enables us to rely on the Lord for all things in our life. We can push forward in the direction that we are called because He is governing and He is sovereign. As we look to Him with trust, and not to others or ourselves, we have the God of the universe in us. Nothing is greater than that! We can live our lives in holiness and Christian character, and react to all the situations we encounter with the focus on who we are in Christ, as He is our confidence. Confidence also makes us realize we are not responsible for the results--only the faith and obedience. Doubt, Uncertainty, Disbelief, and Distrust are the opposites. These will cause us to seek our limited thinking, placing confidence in feeble, temporary abilities, and in things that do not last and have little importance. Self-confidence will elevate us as godlike, becoming the principle authority and reason for life, and not Christ! We will lack confidence to serve the Lord, and engage in fear because our faith is limited to the situation, not in Christ (Matt. 8:26). Further Questions 1. How would you define Confidence? 2. Do you strive to be Confident as a reflection of who you are in Christ, and what He did for you? 3. How does Doubt counteract Confidence? 4. What happens to our relationship with God, and with others, when we become pursuers of self-esteem, rather than having Confidence in Christ? 5. When have you most been filled with Confidence?

6. In what situation did you fail to be Confident when you should have been? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with being more Confident? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Confidence into action in a specific instance. Do I trust in my personal abilities to make decisions, and feel confident about what I am called to do? Do I trust in my flesh, or in Christ? How does this effect my decisions? Is there a place in my life where faith is asleep, untouched by God? What can I do about that (John 17:3)? Confidence is not to be placed in our abilities or accomplishments. It is not to be measured in wealth, health, or by clothes, career, friends, positions, power, or any worldly thing. All of these pursuits of life that we think are important are finite, and will quickly burn away, while abiding in Christ is forever. God does not place our value on what we do for a living; rather it is who we are in Him, and our growth in character that He values. Yes, we should strive to be wise and discerning in all the decisions we make, and make the most of the opportunities, relationships, and spiritual gifts we are given. But, the primary and principle aspects of any decisions we make are to be made in the light of what Christ has done for us. Thus, our confidence is in who we are in Him. This is our motivation in all of our life’s pursuits--from relationships to decisions, how we are treated, and how we respond to others. A Christians is to balance confidence and esteem by the temperance of the other characters. Pride and arrogance are the very worst things a Christian can exhibit in the sight of God! Our confidence is to be sure and righteous--without pride. Pride elevates me, whereas Christian confidence elevates Christ and allows Him to empower us! It is seeing life as an adventure, and the temporary place to learn and grow. It is not the only place for us, as we are made for eternity, not for this world. Thus, we can face whatever life may throw at us, weather it out, and become better, stronger, and closer to Him in His service. Because we have the view of Christ in our site, we can see His opportunities for learning and growth, not just the situation we face. When we have the revitalized life then we have the faith, confidence and boldness to share it with love, care, and joy, because we will have something of wroth to share, what He has done for me May you have the faith and confidence to know Christ yourself and to make Him known to others around you! Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1) Hebrews tells us what faith is: Christ is what we hope for; Christ is what is to be seen! Faith is the promise of God that gives us the hope and confidence so we can receive, act on, obey, and trust God’s promises, because God is

sovereign and trustworthy. We can trust God for the future because we can see what He has done in the past—from creation, to testimonies, to His infallible Word. Faith reassures us of God’s love and grace and gives us direction and motivation for the Christian life. Faith looks to and is fueled by hope, it gives us optimism, builds our confidence, helps us be bold, to remain faithful, and persevere in the faith—all for the glory of the risen Lord and the building of His Kingdom! When we have the confidence that Christ is at work within us and wants to use us we can venture out to others much easier! To put our faith in action our confidence of Christ and His use of us will be the prime factor for the success of our growth and the success of our service. Because we have confidence in God and in His plan and purpose for our lives, we can then act on faith. Faith is based on the faithfulness of our Lord, and not of our goodness Optimism combines hope and faithfulness into synergy (the combination supercharges and become more than just the sum of its parts) to be positive for Christ. It is a heartfelt confidence that everything will come out for the best, as Paul proclaimed, no matter what happens. It will help us to think the best of and be positive with people and in all situations, even if we are proven wrong. Hope is the confidence and expectation that God's promises will be fulfilled. Confidence enables us to rely on the Lord for all things in our life. It keeps our faith focused and rooted on the object, which is Christ as Lord, and knows the obstacles of our feelings, circumstances, or issues. We can push forward in the direction that we are called because He is governing and He is sovereign. As we look to Him with trust, and not to others or ourselves, we have the God of the universe in us. Nothing is greater than that! We can live our lives in holiness and Christian character, and react to all the situations we encounter with the focus on who we are in Christ, as He is our confidence. Confidence also makes us realize we are not responsible for the results—only for the faith and obedience. Bad things become bad when we lack the confidence in Christ to endure and learn from them. Things get worse when we lack the faith and mental composure to deal with a crisis. It is our holding on to His holy love and grace that builds our strength and confidence, and gives us perseverance. He gives us the ability and strength to reach beyond our grasp! Character will flourish later when we build it up early. © 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Encouragement
Is the Character of Encouragement working in you? Here is how you can know. Take a careful look at this character and Fruit of Encouragement from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Encouragement to others in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop an attitude of and willingness to be Encouraging? 3. What blocks me from being an Encourager? 4. How can I make Encouragement function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Neh. 2:17-20; 1 Sam. 19:1-7; 23:15-18; Matt. 3:16-17; 26:6-13; Luke 3:21-22; Phil. 1:3-11) Here are negative examples from Scripture (Num. 13:25-33; 1 Kings 12:20,f; 1 Sam. 19:8-10; Luke 15:25-31)

Encouragement (Psalm 119:28; 143:3; Matthew 3:17; John 14:1; Colossians 4:7-8; 1 Thessalonians. 5:11-14; Hebrews 10:25) will lift, support, and help others through difficult circumstances, all from God's perspective. Being in Christ means living our lives for Him with excitement in all times and all places. This is influence; this is what encourages others. Withdrawn, Dishearten, Bring down, and Dampen are opposite terms. These are the rotten fruits that criticize or cut people down, even you! Instead of encouraging one another in our churches, we spend way too much time tearing one another down. We tend to be lazy and rude, as we like to stay away from others' feelings and concerns, seeking only our own. The Word calls us to inspire and build one another up! We are never to be critical, condescending, or belligerent to others, for this is a slap in the face of our Lord, a misrepresentation of how we are to be to His people and the world. We cannot excite, energize, or influence people by our arrogance! Further Questions 1. How would you define Encouragement? 2. Do you strive to be Encouraging to others as a reflection of who you are in Christ, and what He did for you?

3. How does Doubt counteract Encouragement? Why is Encouragement something that does not happen as much as it should? 4. What happens to our relationship with God, and with others, when we become pursuers of self-esteem, rather than Encouragement in Christ? 5. When have you most been filled with Encouragement? 6. In what situation did you fail to be Encouraging when you should have been? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve by your being more Encouraging? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Encouragement into action in a specific instance. Do people treat you unfairly? Have you ever wondered why? Well, we live in a fallen world, and we are all filled with sin. Sin affects our relationships, the way you treat others, and the way they treat you. Yet, even in sin, we have the choice to make a difference. So, what is your choice? When we are Encouragers to others, it does come back to us! God calls us to encourage people! Tell others what you like about them, or when they are doing something well. This builds unity and strength that cannot exist with selfish and lone Christians. To life a life that does not touch others positively is a very sad life indeed. Encouragement is a testament to the importance of Christian influence, and being an attractive person, not in looks, but in character, because we are modeling Christ, being excited about our Lord and others and being joyful. We must be aware of our weaknesses, and befriend others so we can compliment one another. Attraction is the love of our Lord overfilling us as Christians, to those we are to mobilize and energize. No matter what the circumstance may be, we are given the gifts and abilities to strive to the fullest for the Glory of God, so the Gospel will persevere, even in the harshest circumstances, in the world, and the neighborhood by your home. The principles of the Gospel must impact us so we are influenced and energized by them. If us Christians are not excited, the message will drop off, and fall flat. The hearer will not desire something irrelevant and unexciting. If they see no excitement in us, why would they want to be a part of it? The nature of the Christian life is the joy and excitement of being in Christ over all else, and this should be the biggest motivation. So, the excitement comes from our growth, then it becomes contagious to those around us; this is influence in action. Paul’s language in the Epistles with dear brother shows the love and respect they had for each other, the kind of positive relationship that is so lacking in our world and churches these days. We are called to this quality relationship,

but so often place our baggage, our needs, in the path Christ has for us. Being a loyal servant of the Lord must impact us with passion and energize us to pass it to others; if not, there is something wrong. There are always peaks and valleys in the Christian walk. We are not always in the up-key mode, but this should not mute the passion we have for Christ. We must press on and reboot ourselves when we get in those valleys, so we can rise to the challenge and follow through with the excitement of His Good News. In that way, we can come along side others, and give them the lift they need with kind words, help, and a listening ear. Encouragement is the fruit of the mature walk of the Christian life. This will empower us to uplift one another and not put down. It is the immature and ungodly individual that constantly puts down his fellow Christian, and a despicable and repulsive Christian who does it to the unbeliever. This is the reason for the horrible reputation we Christians have in society. Can you imagine Christ putting people down with insults so as to uplift Himself? Absolutely not! When we are called to model His character, and are created in the image of God, then we are to model that essence and attribute of our Lord. The effective Christian will have the ability to attract people for the Lord’s service and be willing and able to show the way of discipleship with enthusiasm. He will enable others with love, care, and the fruits of good character! The church leaders will be able to uplift others through mentoring, with the primary focuses on how to glorify Christ and what is best for the Lord’s church. It is His church, not ours! The ability to Encourage is born from the desire to please God, and carrying that passion to others. Remember, when we treat others well, they usually reciprocate by treating us well, too. Churches and parents must teach and model character. © 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Availability
Is the Character of Availability working in you? Here is how you can know. Take a careful look at this character and Fruit of Availability from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Availability to others in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop an attitude of and willingness to be Available?

3. What blocks me from being Available to others? 4. How can I make Availability function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainty, stress, and, most importantly, time constraints? • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Gen. 12:1-9; Matt. 4:18-22; Luke 1:26-38; 18:15-16; Acts 6:1-8) Here are negative examples from Scripture (Gen. 3:9-10; Ex. 4:1-17; Jonah 1:1-4; Matt. 25:14-30; 2 Tim. 4:9-10)

Availability (Isaiah 6:8; Mark 1:17-18; Luke 16:10; Acts 16:10) is being willing to adjust our own schedule, agenda, and plans to fit the right desires of God and others. It makes personal priorities secondary to the needs of God and others. It is to reflect God’s priorities, so we are always available to Him, and others, when we are serving. Irritate, careless, hassling, and inconveniencing others are opposite terms. These imply the ability to ignore and put people down, when we are called to embrace and lift them up. This will cancel out any good you or your church may have done, by the needs of people and communities being unmet, and by the uninvolved, careless mentality that many churches and Christians have today. It is the refusal to make use of the available time, talents, and resources to meet those needs, or to help accomplish the desired results to which God calls us. Further Questions 1. How would you define Availability? 2. Do you strive to be Available to others as a reflection of who you are in Christ, and what He did for you? 3. How does being careless counteract Availability? Why is Availability something that does not happen as much as it should? 4. What happens to our relationship with God, and with others, when we become pursuers only of our needs and time, rather than just being Available? 5. When have you most been Available to others? 6. In what situation did you fail to be Available when you should have been? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve by your being more Available?

8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Availability into action in a specific instance. Such as, how can you make yourself available to someone who has a need that you may have ignored, or felt you did not have time to help? How can you better manage your time and resources? When we are Available to others, it does come back to us!

We have a God who became Available to us, who elected to choose us, and selected us for a purpose. One of the primary calls is for us to be in touch with our Creator, our loving Lord. His power flowing through the universe is available for us to use if we choose to trust, and obey, according to His Will. Can you imagine the awesome nature of our Lord; can you fathom the power that is at our hands; can you see the potential you have, and the plan that God has for you? Or, are you too busy watching TV, or are you being driven by the schedule and urgencies of your life, leaving no time to tap into the power at hand, the power that goes beyond any human means or adventure! We can do what God can do to the extent of our capabilities, and what He allows according to His purpose. So, do you get it? Are you ready to have a church transformed to do what a church is actually for, what the foundation was poured for, and poured out for? Then, you also have to be available to others as God was to you! The key to relationships and community is the ability to be open and engage others, even when the people we are trying to help hurt us. Remember, God was hurt by us! Being available to others is also a form of praise and pleasing to God (Hebrews 13:15-16). Our offerings today are not about dragging our livestock or pets to be sacrificed, because Jesus was our sacrifice. So, then, what do we bring? Our sacrifice today is what flows from our heart, to love and adore our Lord. We are to be so full of love for our Lord that it flows to those around us. Our praise, as exposited from this text, is a peace offering of thanksgiving. Our Lord wants us to be wholly devoted to Him all the time. This will then flow from us to others. There should be no circumstance we could ever face that would cause praise to cease flowing from our lips. Our praise is to acknowledge Christ alone, by His grace alone, with nothing coming from us but faith. What we can sacrifice is our person, our ability, and our availability for His purposes. When we first give ourselves, everything else will be easy, because pride and hoarding will be eliminated, as well as materialism. We can sacrifice our wallets and purses to His service. Time, talents, and treasures should flow willingly from us to His service, with joy and gladness. The testimony that we are effectively praising God is the difference it makes in our friends, families, and neighbors.

When we are in a healthy relationship of praise, the church reaps the benefits of health and vitality that beckons the world to our Lord—to who He is, and what He does. This is the sacrifice of praise because it distracts from our ego and self, from our sin and selfish nature, and leads to His presence. “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many from one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” {Romans 12:4-8 NIV} We, too, must get rid of our old self, and embrace the new life that is available to us (Col. 3). We have to be able to admit when we are wrong, to confess, to grow, and to go on from there. This will allow us the fastest and strongest growth, and the building of our character. © 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Attentiveness
Is the Character of Attentiveness working in you? Here is how you can know. Take a careful look at this character and Fruit of Attentiveness from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Attentiveness to others in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop an attitude of, and a willingness to be Attentive? 3. What blocks my being Attentive to others? 4. How can I make Attentiveness function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainty, stress, and, most importantly, time constraints? • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Ex. 18:19-24; Psalm 34; John 10:1-5; Rev. 3:15-22)

Here are negative examples from Scripture (Num. 22:15-35; Prov. 29:12; Isa. 7:10-15; Matt. 13:10-17; 16:21-25; John 6:58-61)

Attentiveness (Proverbs 12:15; Mark 4:21-25; 16:24; Hebrews 2:1; James 1:1925) will recognize the value of other people by giving them listening ears, respect, courtesy, and total concentration. This means paying attention to others, not just listening to our own needs and desires, and also giving genuine contemplation to God's Word and His call to respond to others. Neglect, Gossip, Strife, and being Mean are opposite terms. They refer to people who have malicious intentions, who love to hear about the discontent and struggles of others, then, repeat it as gossip when they are called to help. The result is a church atmosphere of distrust, and people who are hurt. This malice leads to destruction of property and persons, just as a fire would destroy a home, or even a church. God calls us to be our best. And, when we refuse to grow, and we keep making the same mistakes over, and over again, we hurt Christ, His people, and ourselves (Proverbs 17:27-28; 26:20). Further Questions 1. How would you define Attentiveness? 2. Do you strive to be Attentive to others as a reflection of who you are in Christ, and what He did for you? 3. How does gossip counteract Attentiveness? Why is Attentiveness something that does not happen as much as it should? 4. What happens to our relationship with God, and with others, when we become pursuers of only our needs and time, rather than being Attentive? 5. When have you most been Attentive to others? 6. In what situation did you fail to be Attentive when you should have been? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve by your being more Attentive? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Attentiveness into action in a specific instance. Such as, how can you improve your listening skills? How can you make yourself available to others so your needs and desires do not supersede all of the time? From birth to death, we have the need for someone to listen to us. One of the main problems facing youth today is, no one cares for or listens to them; this is a major point of why events like school shootings happen. Each of us has a deep need to be heard and cared for, whether we admit it or not. It can be a

casual conversation or a deep therapy session, if you feel that person is not listening, you feel they do not care. Being heard is a lot like being loved, so, we must take this matter seriously, and grow in this skill. The early Christian community, as it was facing persecution, knew that to be a support and leader, it must listen in order to progress in spiritual growth. The Christian and, especially, the leadership, must always be willing to listen. As a follower of the Lord, we have to listen to his Word, and we must also listen to the people in our care before we can be effective. How we listen shows where our interests are, and our health. Are we mirroring Christ’s character and grace, or just our personal needs? And, the fruit that flows from listening is the growth and spiritual maturity that leads to godly action. To be an effectual Christian who reaches out to others, you must know how, and be willing, to listen. This will create the attentiveness we all need. You can look upon it as a form of support structure. The foundation is the Lord, Who equips us to meet the emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of one another. Without the support system of attentiveness to one another by listening and caring, a church will fall limp and surely fail, even if they have good doctrine and teaching. Listening is not a spiritual gift that some people have and some people do not have. Listening is something we all can do, even if one is deaf. Listening is a natural ability, and a skill that can be improved by simply turning it on and letting it work. We can also learn techniques to improve our abilities. Relationships are built on listening, both to God’s Word and to each other. The relationship between a husband and wife is as good as their ability to listen. The leader in the church is as good as his/her ability to listen. The words that we hear are not as important as the care and effort put into them; the effect of listening is that the words are not all of the meaning of the message. The primary focus in communication is the hearer and receiver of the communication in relationship to each other, which means that the care is usually more important than the words, especially for the Christian. The words are the wrapper and the listening is the chocolate. Through all of God’s creation, we are the prize piece, and the means to model His ways. © 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Wisdom
Is the Character of Wisdom working in you? Here is how you can know. Take a careful look at this character and Fruit of Wisdom from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Wisdom to others in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop an attitude of, and a willingness to exercise Wisdom? 3. What blocks my imparting Wisdom to others? 4. How can I make Wisdom function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainty, stress, and, most importantly, time constraints? • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Ex. 18:19-24; Psalm 34; John 10:1-5; Rev. 3:15-22) Here are negative examples from Scripture (Num. 22:15-35; Prov. 29:12; Isa. 7:10-15; Matt. 13:10-17; 16:21-25; John 6:58-61)

Wisdom (Deut 4:6; 1 Kings 3:9; Psalm 119:97-98; Matthew 6:33; Romans 12:3; 1 Timothy 1:18-20) truly desires the knowledge of God’s Word and it's proper application to our life. Wisdom is rooted in doing the will of the Lord; to forsake His Word is to forfeit wisdom (Jer. 8:8-9). Wisdom will enable us to make good judgments and decisions. We will seek what is right and true based on God’s will and not how we may feel or think. Foolishness, Emotionalism, indifference, and Thoughtlessness are opposite terms. These traits will cause us to base our decision making on faulty premises and over emotional thinking. Therefore, we will be unable to make good and healthy choices, thereby leading us into bad situations and strife. These rotten fruits will cause us to be calloused and unconcerned about truth or what is virtuous and right. In so doing, we become the fool described in Proverbs. Further Questions 1. How would you define Wisdom? 2. Do you strive to be Wise to others without being condescending, reflecting who you are in Christ, and what He did for you?

3. How does Foolishness counteract Wisdom? Why is Wisdom something that is not as valuable in our society as it should be? 4. What happens to our relationship with God, and with others, when we pursue only our happiness and our needs, rather than being Wise? 5. When have you most shown Wisdom to others? 6. In what situation did you fail to be Wise when you should have been? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve by being Wiser? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Wisdom into action in a specific instance. Such as, how could you improve your decision-making skills? How could you make of yourself a more teachable person? Always remember, we exist only by the grace of our Lord, as Paul expounds to us. Paul’s ministry and life were results of grace, and so is ours. Our call and responsibilities have been given to us along with the gifts and abilities to carry them to completion. We will achieve these by weighing all the possibilities, and making the most virtuous decisions based on what will best glorify our Lord. Wisdom is the recognition of the faith and abilities we have been given, and applying them, along with the responsibility to follow through with vigor. We are to be realistic, yet bold and daring, be shrewd and cautious stewards, yet go with gusto, willing to take a risk (if it is wise to do so). Wisdom gives us the temperament, balance, and place to be so we can influence and help others, while not adding our inclinations to it (being condescending). We are to grow in the wisdom of the Lord, know what our capacities are, and where the opportunities lay, so we know where to go, and where to grow, then carry it to glorify our Lord. People who are wise are nourished by the Word. They get into the Scriptures with study and application, not just read it like a novel. The Word must touch who we are, and transform our very core; this gives us the knowledge that leads and transforms. We cannot be an effective Christian, or lead others, if we do not know the way; to know the way, we must have the knowledge. The knowledge comes from experience, and experience comes from discipleship. The Will of God is for us to study His Word; this will change our behaviors and our lives, so that others will want to be like us, because we are like Him. Our behaviors cannot change until we know how to behave correctly; this is wisdom, not by emotional commitments that do not last, but real effort in the will to work out our salvation in discipleship: “…put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Colossians 3:10).

Renewal does not come from emotionalism; rather, it comes from the knowledge of the Word, and by the power of the Holy Spirit! Emotions are great, but they cannot substitute for a real commitment to the work and effort necessary for the Christian life, and essential for leadership. Too many Christians neglect the basics of the faith, replacing it with new teachings, or neglect good teaching all together. They forget who God is, and who we are in Christ. If we do not know who God is and what our call and responsibilities are, then how are we to grow in our faith, in maturity, and in character, not to mention in leading others in the direction of God's call? We can’t! The opposite of maturity is immaturity, as the opposite of wisdom is foolishness, and this is the result of no direction in life brought on by no discernment. This leads to rebellion against God, and His godly leaders. We will then lead others away, as well. We will be leading people in hopelessness and despair, because most people cannot discern the difference. Thus, it is the Christian's responsibility to know their faith, and apply it with correct knowledge, based on God’s Word. Be careful that your knowledge does not puff you up, as Paul warns. Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. A lot of Christian groups have rebelled against knowledge and education because of the arrogance they perceive, and for good reason--from their perspective. Personal corruption can take on the form of wisdom, because knowledge is power and control. We need to heed to the responsibility of wisdom, and humbleness in the knowledge that God gives us, not it's power trappings to put others down. Remember, all of the fruits of the Spirit, and these other character traits we have been learning, all work together. None stand alone! We can be assured that what Christ did is relevant, impacting, and, a reality, calling for acceptance and commitment. The Sovereign Creator of the universe must transform our lives, including our thinking and knowledge. He will pursue, and we are to respond and surrender to His sovereignty. Then, our purpose will be unfolded before us, and the impact we have will be beyond our dreams and expectations. I Timothy tells us, “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” I Timothy 4:15-16 You may need to have some kind of character to be in public life, especially in politics. You may lose a job, or an election because of it, or be considered a failure in the eyes of the world. However, in God’s eyes, when you remain in His character, and learn from His precepts, you are a winner.

© 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Compassion
Is the Character of Compassion working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Compassion from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. Ho w do I exh ibit Co mp ass ion in my dail y life ? 2. Wh at can I do to dev elo pa bett er attit ude of Co mp ass ion ?

3. Wh at blo cks Co mp ass ion fro m wor kin g and bei ng exh ibit ed in me ? 4. Ho w can I ma ke Co mp ass ion fun ctio n bett er, stro nge r, and fast er, eve

n in tim es of unc ert ainl y and stre ss? Compassion (Job 29:13; Isa. 40:11; Mark 1:41; Luke 10:25-37; 19:4; 1 Peter 3:8) will allow us to feel the pain and plight of others, to see from their perspective and situation in life. It will enable us to convey a deep feeling of love and concern that moves us to meet their distresses, struggles, and needs. This all flows from our understanding of who God is, and our obedience, trust in, and gratitude for what He has done for us. (Luke 10:36-37; Eph. 4:23). Our lives must be motivated by who we are in Christ, and nothing else! Lack of sympathy, Coldness and Thoughtlessness are the opposites. Unmerciful, in Scripture, usually refers to those who are unmerciful to the poor. However, it also means people who are without compassion, who do not feel for the distresses of others, and those who cause these distresses. These are all opposites of what God does with us, and how He calls us to respond to others. • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (2 Sam. 9:1-13; Luke 10:25-37; 15:18-24; 18:35-43; 1 Cor. 13; 1 John 4:7-21) Here is are negative examples from Scripture (1 Kings 12:12-15; 21:5-15; Matt. 18:23-35; John 19:1-16)

Further Questions 1. How would you define Compassion? Is it a duty, or does it flow naturally? 2. What are the things that cause you to be unsympathetic with others? 3. How does Thoughtlessness counteract Compassion? 4. What happens to our relationships with God and others when we are cold and uncaring? 5. When have you been filled with Compassion the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to be Compassionate when you should have been?

7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Compassion? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Compassion into action in a specific instance, such as going to someone who has been hurt, seeking resolution and healing. Ask yourself, How can I develop this character further so God can better use me in the lives of others? True Compassion is a result of the poured out life that has been devoted to God and attached to His interests. The trials and tribulations we endure give us the strength and character to be of better use in the lives of others. Because we have been through it, we can help lead them through it, too. It will also make us more confident of our Lord and His working within and through us. Compassion is not bringing our own needs, ideas, sympathies, or agendas-no matter how needed and good—to a situation. Rather, it is identifying with others, allowing God's ideas and interests to take us beyond ourselves to the situations of others, and helping to bring them closer to Christ. We are to seek His intervention, but not demand that God fulfill that need. We are to bring ourselves closer to Him and experience His presence and preeminence. Compassion also gives us the ability to feel genuine empathy and concern for those who suffer distressing physical, mental, or emotional problems, to tolerate it, and even serve them cheerfully. We are to reflect Christ’s love, seeking to alleviate their sufferings as well as motivate others to help. This is a prime aspect of the Spiritual Gift of Mercy; however, not having that gift is no reason or excuse to not act on it (Matthew 9:35,36 Mark 9:41; Romans 12:1; 1 Thess. 5:14)! A true test of our election is the amount of love and sympathy we have for one another and the lost. This is what leads us to intercessory prayer, even for those we do not like. So, how much time do you devote to intercession? If you feel stale, and dry of love and companionship in your life, especially with God, you have a big problem! Drop to your knees in surrendered prayer and seek His face! (Keep in mind emotional levels differ with each person's personality. God does not care about our emotional level. Rather, He is interested in our faith, trust, and response for what He has done.) Kindness is the proof text to authenticity that is a result of God working in us. Grace means an undeserving act of kindness. Compassion is exercising that kindness! In Romans 2:4, the word for despise (NKJV)/contempt (NIV) refers to the refusal to yield to the knowledge and trust of God’s goodness and His right of judgment. That means we refuse to use His goodness as a guide so we can experience sorrow for our own miss-actions, and develop compassion towards

others for theirs (within reason--there is no license to keep sinning) (Psalm 136). God is generous with His grace, so we should be generous toward one another, and be thankful. If we refuse to see His goodness and turn from sin, we will be exhibiting the ultimate contempt for our loving Lord! Real character will not cave in under pressure, and will resist the temptation to compromise! © 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Enthusiasm
Is the Character of Enthusiasm working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Enthusiasm from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Enthusiasm in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better attitude of Passion and Enthusiasm? 3. What blocks Enthusiasm from working and being exhibited in me? 4. How can I make Enthusiasm function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? Enthusiasm (Matt: 5:16; Rom. 12:11; Gal. 6:9; Colossians 3:23; 4:7-8) will enable us to overcome disappointments and setbacks, so we can be positive, optimistic, and keep up our interest, attitude, and zeal, even when things are harsh. Enthusiasm is the fuel that empowers the Christian, his/her testimony, and gives him/her the love for the call that he/she has been given. Enthusiasm is the pipe through which flows the earnest endeavor of our work and service. Along with this passion will come the natural desire that we do our best for God’s glory. Apathy, Indifference and Laziness are the opposites. Apathy is thinking the greatness is in the past. The vine becomes withered and there is no desire to impact ones self with Christ. Apathy destroys passion and devotion. When there is no effort to impact others, the church will stagnate, and eventually die. Laziness is a fear of change, because it requires one to grow beyond his/her comfort level. Resisting change becomes the prerequisite of an unwilling and unyielding heart to the Lord, or the energy to follow Christ; all it leaves is

excuses. So, the diseases of apathy, gossip, pride, legalism, and slander--the list can go on and on--will take the place of enthusiasm! • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (2 Sam. 6:12-15; Neh. 2:17-20; John 2:13-17; Phil. 3:4-14) Here are negative examples from Scripture (1 Kings 19:4-10; Matt. 16:21-23; Luke 9:51-56; Rom. 10:1-4)

Further Questions 1. How would you define Enthusiasm? Is it a duty, or does it flow naturally? 2. What are the things that cause you to be indifferent to others? 3. How does Apathy counteract Enthusiasm? How does--or can--passion help direct your worship? 4. What happens to our relationships with God and others when we are lazy? 5. When have you been filled with Enthusiasm the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to be Enthusiastic when you should have been? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Enthusiasm? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Enthusiasm into action in a specific instance, such as motivating yourself, by the help of the Spirit, to seek more passion, directing it to His call on your life. When someone becomes a Christian or when a church is started and grows, one of the primary growing factors is enthusiasm. This is a result of the joy and vigor that its new members have, and then spread to their friends and neighbors. They see the joy of serving the Lord, and the growth they are experiencing must be shared with those around them. So, they do this, and the new Christian is responsible for most of the new converts that cause the church to grow. When a new church is started, and it’s members lack enthusiasm, it will wither quickly; they will give up, and close. There are many other factors that cause a church to grow or to die, but a big factor in it all is enthusiasm. Without enthusiasm, it is an uphill battle that cannot be won. Somewhere on our Christian journey, many forget what it is all about. We can forget what is important, and the reason and purpose of our relationship with Him. Pastors sometimes think that since our call is a tangible, unyielding, permanent position, we do not need more training or time with our Lord; therefore, the main thing is neglected. We think we are protected, and since we

are pastors, then the knowledge and intense training we have gained will carry us through the ministry. But it does not. We lose site of our call because we lose site of the main thing, just as so many regular (we are all ministers together) Christians do. And, we need to keep the main thing the main thing, our main thing being our personal, growing relationship with Christ. Church politics and countless crises have replaced prayer and devotions, so we have dried up and burned out. When we realize it, it is to late, as we have fallen off the path our Lord had for us. The passion has been lost. Enthusiasm plays a big part in our personal spiritual growth; without it, we are not motivated to read our Bible or spend time in prayer. We exercise our spiritual disciplines out of obligation, we become dry, and become unable to absorb what we are to learn. Or, we give it up and use all kinds of excuses, such as lack of time or fatigue. When our spiritual lives suffer, so does our ability to relate our Christian experience to others, and we become ineffective leaders and partakers in the building of the Kingdom of God. When the leaders are not experiencing the wonders of the spiritual life and the Christian experience, the ineffectiveness trickles down to the rest of the body and spreads like malignant cancer. We, as fallen human beings, are always looking for excuses not to put forth the necessary effort for spiritual growth. I know I can get that way, and every pastor I have ever met sometimes feels that way. Just as we make excuses for not eating right or exercising, perhaps endangering our health, not exercising the spiritual life will endanger our spiritual health, and infect the rest of the congregation because it is tempting and contagious. The principles of the Gospel must impact us so we are influenced and energized by them. If we are not excited, the message will drop off and fall flat. The learner, the hearer will not desire something irrelevant or unexciting. If they see no excitement in us, why would they want to be a part of it? The nature of the Christian life is the joy and excitement of being in Christ above all else, and this should be our greatest motivation. Consequently, the excitement of our growth becomes contagious to those around us. This is influence. Being in Christ means living our lives for Him with passion, at all times and in all places. This is influence. Encouragement is the fruit of the mature walk of the Christian life. It empowers us to uplift each other, not put them down. It is the immature and ungodly individual that constantly puts down his/her fellow Christian, and a despicable and repulsive Christian who does it to the unbeliever. This is often the reason for the horrible reputation we Christians have in society.

Can you imagine Christ putting people down with insults so He could uplift Himself? Absolutely not! When we are called to model His character, and are created in the image of God, then we are to model that essence and attribute of our Lord. We are never to be critical, condescending, or belligerent to others, for this is a slap in the face of our Lord, a misrepresentation of how we are to be as His people to the world. We cannot excite, energize, or influence people by arrogance. There is nothing worse in the church than an arrogant leader. If Christ, as God and Creator of the universe, lived a life without arrogance, then how can we take that kind of attitude, unless we are greater than He? The effective Christian, especially a leader, will not be a force of personality and power plays. We cannot be power-seeking controllers of the lives of others when it is the Lord who is in control. As a church, we must be relationship oriented, centered on building and mentoring others for Christ. The effective Church must ask this question, what is more important, my career and desire for control, or the discipleship of the people? If your desire is self-seeking, then you are not a true leader of God’s people. You need to get out and get help. You must re-boot yourself with God’s purpose, not your own. Our true accomplishments are in the faith we build, not in the numbers we attract. The Encourager is powered by the Spirit, filled with enthusiasm, and knows the difference between being a relationship-builder and being a self-seeker. Out of gratitude will come the desire to please God, and the desire to please will synergistically combine with the passion to produce the love of His call to fuel our eagerness and passion. When we love the Lord, then we are attentive to the needs and expectations of the people around us. Thus, our service is coming out of our love of doing it instead of out of an obligation. This is much like the person who loves his/her hobby and spends a majority of his/her time and desire on it, versus the person forced to do something he/she does not like to do. God will give us His character if we are willing to receive it! © 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Initiative
Is the Character of Initiative working in you?

Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Initiative from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Initiative in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better attitude of taking the lead in being Initiative? 3. What blocks Initiative from working and being exhibited in me? 4. How can I make Initiative function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? Initiative (Proverbs 22:29; Ephesians 5:8-14; Philippians 3:14; 4:13-15; Hebrews 10:24-25) will take the front position to recognize and do what needs to be done before being asked to do it. This character will help power us though set backs, failures, adversities, persecution, oppositions, injustice, ingratitude, and the old excuse, "we have never done it this way before." It is not about being a leader as much as it is motivating yourself to grasp what Christ has for you. It is the moving of yourself, using your resources and ingenuity to serve. We cannot stand for Him, or move for Him, if we do not arise, and get off the couch. We must make the move and get on with the life that Christ gave us. Christ said for us to rise out of our sleep! Drudgery, Resistance to change, refusing to put forth effort, and Laziness are the opposites. This is another form of Apathy! You will not see the goodness you can have, rather only the work and effort that is required, so you will not consider it worth your endeavor. But, if it is good and noble, you must be motivated to go after it or you will miss out on what Christ has for you. You will also cause others to follow your lead into laziness and excuse making! • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Gen. 1-2, 1 Kings 9:10-28; Neh. 2; Matt. 14:22-33; Mark 2:1-5) Here are negative examples from Scripture (Matt. 25:14-30; Luke 16:1-9; John 19:1-16; 2 Thess. 3:6-13)

Further Questions 1. How would you define Initiative? Do you need someone else to motivate you, or help you set goals? 2. What are the things that cause you not to seek to help others, or do as you are called? 3. How does resistance to change counteract Initiative? How can you be discerning of what change is good, and what is bad?

4. What happens to our relationships with God and others when we refuse to put forth effort or resources? 5. When have you been filled with Initiative the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to be motivated when you should have been? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Initiative? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Initiative into action in a specific instance, such as motivating yourself to see His light, to get you moving in the direction He has for your life? How can you use initiative to counteract obstacles and failures? Not all initiative is good, as it may sometimes lead us well off the path God has for us. We have to be discerning that our motivations are centered with the values of the Word and are working side by side with the Fruits of the Spirit and the rest of the character traits. If not, you may motivate yourself in the wrong direction, and rationalize all kinds of excuses for it as you run off into oblivion. Excuses become the horse that pulls the plow of apathy and laziness. We can all come up with a great set of reasons why we should not do something. Even though discernment and common sense need to come into play, if your excuses are keeping you from being your best for His glory, you have set your path into a jungle of darkness and despair. Ephesians 5: 8-14 tells us to see the light, and not darkness, before we can get up. We have to be willing to see what needs to be done for the kingdom and then do it. The gifts of leadership will entail such attitudes, and the ability to motivate others to do this. However, you still must motivate yourself without needing a leader to grab you and pull you. God’s voice and call is usually gentle; we have to quiet the noise of our Will to hear Him (Psalm 46:10). He will rarely get you up; you have to get yourself up. God did motivate Elijah out of his depression directly via an Angel, and He also told the man with a withered hand to stretch it out, for him to take the first step (1 Kings 9:5; Matt. 12:13). He gives us the call; it is up to us to respond to it. If you need help--and we all do--ask for it. Partner with others, seek His light, and He will empower you to accomplish the task. We have to arise and eat/awake/get going/shine (Isa. 60:1; Matt.26: 46; John 14:31) to receive His blessings and to bless others. We need to take the responsibility for our spiritual growth and for the exercise of our gifts and call. Do not sleep away your life with excuses and apathy, or let past failures get in your way!

From birth on, our Lord was a man on the path of distress, who experienced the greatest suffering on our behalf. He was, and is, the ultimate model for character! © 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Diligence
Is the Character of Diligence working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Diligence from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Diligence in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better attitude of taking the lead in being Diligent? 3. What blocks Diligence from working and being exhibited in me? 4. How can I make Diligence function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? Diligence allows us to operate with our best for His highest with excitement and passion in order to complete our work and call from the Lord. It is practical obedience in action, which is the loving of our call and the pursuing of our work so we are doing our best for His glory. Diligence also helps facilitate us to develop a good attitude as well as confidence, patience, forgiveness, values, loyalty, integrity, and be in a place to build and develop a positive and attractive disposition to those with whom we work (Proverbs 10:4; Ecclesiastes 10: 10; Luke 16:10-12; Romans 12:11; Colossians 3:23). Carelessness, neglect, and laziness are the opposites. When we stay in a rut or in a bad situation with continual weariness and fatigue, we will lose our primary focus, be ineffective, become a stumbling block to others, burn out, or go into a depression. We will miss out on other options and opportunities, start to disintegrate into a person with a bad attitude, and even become ill! Physical and emotional fatigue have bad attitude at their root, which can turn into spiritual fatigue. Thus, frustration, stress, worry, anger, guilt, indecision, unrealistic expectations, resentment, and many other negative emotions will accumulate and then compile upon us to bring us down in our personal relationships,

relationships with family, and our relationship to God. We, therefore, will not be able to function as He called us, nor will we be able to worship Him effectively. • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Prov. 6:6-11; 31:10-31; Ruth 2:113; Mark 13:32-36; Acts 9:36-39) Here are negative examples from Scripture (Prov. 24:30-34; 26:13-16; Matt. 25:1-13; Mark 14:32-42)

Further Questions 1. How would you define Diligence? Do you consider yourself an industrious person, even if the boss is not around? 2. What are the things that cause you not to work as hard as you are called? 3. How does being careless counteract Diligence? How can you be a person who sees the value and importance of work, regardless of what the task is? 4. What happens to our relationships with God and others when we refuse to work our best and/or complain about what we do? 5. When have you been filled with Diligence the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to be industrious when you should have been? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Diligence? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Diligence into action in a specific instance, such as allowing yourself to be accountable to someone to help keep you on track and motivate you to be more responsible. How can you be more industrious to be better at your job and church? Initiative takes the lead and diligence keeps up the pace. These two characters converge to form industriousness, which is the principle work ethic of the Puritans that challenged America in the direction to make it the greatest and most successful county in history. Other counties have far more resources and better climate, but they bowed to forms of government that oppressed the people instead of creating industrious activates to inspire growth and development. Diligence is the essential ingredient to being an entrepreneur and success from business, to sports, to building a church. It is the number one key essential source of greatness. No great person in history lacked this character. The dark side is that over-industriousness can also fuel pride, even to the point of promoting megalomania personalities such as Hitler and Stalin. A Christian will

also be disciplined in the faith and have the other characters in place to safeguard against such tendencies. When we see work as drudgery and demeaning, something not worthy of our time, we will fail our Lord and miss out on many opportunities. There is no work too small, as our Lord worked as a tradesman, a carpenter. Paul made tents, Luke was a doctor, Philemon was a slave owner who saw diligence to free a slave. They, and all, did it with supreme excellence. The authentic Christian should not wait to get to the practice of their talents in service for God as well as others, even if it is cleaning toilets. We all should strive to find what we are good at and then do it. We are to make ourselves better in our employment and service to God. We should always seek to be better through reading, seminars, schooling, listening, training, and study. Whatever task we do, even if it is way outside our gifts and talents, we must do it, and be our best-period! And, when we have the attitude that our life depends on it, well it does. At least our livelihood and how we are with others determine that we will most likely succeed. The true disciple will endure to the end (Matt. 24:14)! A champion athlete will “work with controlled frenzy” (John Wooden, UCLA basketball coach, considered the greatest coach ever). Great character is developed in the Crucible (Rom 5:1f). In God’s plan, He has a reason for our “dry lands”--the times of our waiting and confusion, and for our loss and pain in life for the Crucible (what Christ did on the cross on our behalf). We gain persistence and proven character from this! © 2003 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Thoughtfulness
Is the Character of Thoughtfulness working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Thoughtfulness from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Thoughtfulness in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better attitude of taking the lead in being thoughtful even if I do not feel like it?

3. What blocks Thoughtfulness from working and being exhibited in me? 4. How can I make Thoughtfulness function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Matt. 27:57-61; Mark 8:22-26; Luke 7:36-50; John 19:25-27; Phil. 1:19-30) Here are negative examples from Scripture (Gen. 31:1-16; 1 Sam. 25:1-13; Jonah 4:1-11; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 15:25-32)

Thoughtfulness (Philippians 1:26-30; 2:3-4; Colossians 3:13-17; 1 Peter 3:7-12) considers others, and gives attention and care to their feelings first. It helps us take the load and focus off ourselves, so as to be able to see the needs around us. It is a form of love that seeks to uplift and do good whenever possible. It is the opposite of selfishness, yet, it does not cause us to neglect ourselves because that would be unkind to God’s child—you! It is especially appreciated when it is not expected. Bring thoughtful will not allow schedules to take priority over people. Thoughtlessness, lack of consideration, rudeness, and selfishness are the opposites. These rotten fruits will elevate schedules over individuals to the point of causing us to be rude, callused, and unconcerned. We will fail to see people as of primary importance--as our Lord has called. We will also fail to put love into action. One of the principles of love is that it is not rude, so, real love has good manners. Further Questions 1. How would you define Thoughtfulness? Do you consider yourself a person who uplifts others? Are you a person who is always in a rush? 2. What are the things that cause you not to be thoughtful with others? 3. How does being careless counteract Thoughtfulness? How can you be a person who sees the value and importance of work, regardless of what the task is? 4. What happens to our relationship with God and with others when we refuse to work our best and/or complain about what we do? 5. When have you been filled with Thoughtfulness the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to be considerate when you should have been? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Thoughtfulness?

8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Thoughtfulness into action in a specific instance, such as remembering birthdays and anniversaries of significant others. Take careful analysis of your driving habits and business conduct. Show appreciation for others by saying “please” and “thank you,” and ask if you are in line with God’s Word? Also, consider that always being in a rush will cut you off from life’s most precious and needed opportunities. So, be willing to budget your time in order to make the time for others! We are living in the time of urgency, where our time is wrapped up in schedules filled with increasing incivility, discourtesy, and insensitivity toward those we are called to build up. Thus, as Christians, we must be willing and able to set the example by being naturally considerate and thoughtful. Thoughtfulness is the sweetness of the Christian life. It is the window treatment and decorations that make us sought after and stand out. It will inspire us to be persons who care, love, and are considerate. So, you have to be willing to be honest with yourself and ask, am I courteous and gentle, both at and away from Church and the people I esteem? A Christian must never be unkind to any person for any reason, other than the protection of self and loved ones. We are called to build each other up, and that cannot happen when we are tearing one another down with rudeness, gossip, or ignoring others. Thoughtfulness even translates into how we treat other’s time, so be prompt, well groomed, and positive in your outlook, so you can inspire others to be considerate. This character is like a boomerang. The more you throw it out, the more often it returns. The more you give it out, the more you receive consideration in return. But, our motivation is not what we receive, but how we are obedient to our Lord’s precepts. The quality of your character and leadership ability will be proven by your thoughtfulness to others. This is what wins attention and respect as it demonstrates Christ with love. Thoughtfulness must precede your behavior, wherever and whenever you are--from church to the shoe store. It cannot and must not be quenched by others’ rudeness or our hurriedness. It must not play favorites. Yes, family and friends will, and should come first, but others must not be squished in the process. Remember that Jesus loves you deeply; so allow that acceptance and love from the God and Creator of the universe infuse you with gratitude so you desire to be considerate even when you do not like the person! As a Christian, we are responsible to model His love. This is not required for salvation, but required for a quality life of excellence, of service, and of contentment. To be inconsiderate is to be irresponsible, and to dirty our Lord’s repetition. So, be the person that God has called you to be. Be willing to cultivate the Character of Thoughtfulness toward your family, friends, the body of Christ, and the others God brings into your life.

If you feel, Why should I? No one is thoughtful with me! Consider that Paul faced this, too. Not all of the churches he planted and wrote to, where most of our Epistles come from, were thoughtful to help him in his ministry. Only the church at Philippi stood out with thoughtfulness (Phil. 4:15-16). Remember this: Being thoughtful is an attitude we are to cultivate, a temperament which should flow from us as a proof text that we are right with our Lord, because we are sharing His sensitivity toward people. Thoughtfulness will express appreciation toward those who are contributing toward your Christian growth. We need to see hardships as a challenge to overcome and prove character! © 2003 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Efficiency
Is the Character of Efficiency working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Efficiency from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Efficiency in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better attitude about being a better time manager, even if I just like to live for the moment? 3. What blocks Efficiency from working and being exhibited in me? 4. How can I make Efficiency function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Ex. 18:13-27; 35:30-36:7; Prov. 31:10-31; Luke 5:4-7; Acts 6:1-7; 1 Cor. 12:4-31; Eph. 4:11-16) Here are negative examples from Scripture (Matt. 7:24-27; 25:14-30; Luke 13:6-9; 14:25-33; 15:11-17)

Efficiency (Psalm 90:12; 1 Corinthians 14:26-35; 40; Ephesians 4:23; 5:15- 16; 1 Peter 4:10) means being well organized, competent, and resourceful, making the most of every situation, doing our best and always seeking better ways to be

a Christian in all that we do. It means knowing that God will hold us accountable for what is presented to us as well as for all we do with it, so, we need to be better stewards of our time and make our lives well-organized so we are capable of doing our best to serve God and others. With this character, we can do work in a more orderly way, always seeking the best way and means in all that we do-from our errands, to organizing our worship services, in order to achieve the greatest effectiveness. Unorganized, Incompetent, Ineffectual, and Inept are the opposites. The person who exhibits these negative traits will be unconcerned with planning or with schedules to the extent that it sacrifices time and prevents them and others of doing things better. With these rotten ideas come the political games, personal agendas, and time wasters, which create the strife and confusion that is found in many of our churches, as people tend to work against one another. The Bible calls a person who wastes his/her time a fool. Let us not be wasters of time but plan and be organized for His glory. Further Questions 1. How would you define Efficiency? Do you consider yourself a person who is organized? Are you a person who runs in too many directions? 2. What are the things that cause you not to be Efficient with your time and resources? Do others who are well organized frustrate you? If so, why? 3. How does being unorganized counteract Efficiency? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church, workplace…) when you are inefficient? 4. What happens to your relationship with God, and with others, and the opportunities God gives you when you are disorganized? 5. When have you been filled with Efficiency the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to be organized when you should have been? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Efficiency? Are you willing to be an efficient person? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Efficiency into action in a specific instance, such as how can you be a person who sees the value and importance of good time management? How can you prepare your surroundings and yourself so that you plan and execute your schedule to be proficient and resourceful? Do you put forth Christian Efficiency toward others, as you should? If not, why? What can you do to be better at planning ahead?

Benjamin Franklin said, a stitch in time saves nine, meaning, if you see a tear in your garment, it is best to sew it right away or it will tear more and cause you even more work. Our God is a God of order. He desires that we be efficient in order to do our best with what He gives us. He wants us to make the best use of our time and resources so we do not lose out on His blessings and the opportunity to be all that we can be. Work and effort are a part of life. Even before the Fall, Adam was commissioned to work the garden. We must do our work with the right mindset of seeking to improve ourselves so we can achieve the best and greatest results without sacrifice to the characteristics or our relationships. Thus, we are to do our best at our work but not allow that to infringe on our families. We are to have the best worship service possible, using the people and resources God gives. We are not to be disorganized or unprepared when we serve or worship Him! We should execute all of our activities in the most proficient way possible, so we have more time for God and our service to Him as well as for family and leisure. We must remember that our God is holy, and we are to revere Him as pure and loving, and then respond with this paramount attitude! Efficiency equates to good organization, so, we need to see its importance and then make every effort to learn how to work together collectively as a community of Believers. We will become more effective for our faith, and the spread of the Gospel. We are to take a look at our desires and make sure they line up with His precepts. If they do not, we must change our way of thinking. Then we can create a plan to put our gifts, resources, and abilities into action in a logical, orderly way. We need to be able to see that our efforts to be better organized will make us more efficient and we will reap the benefits by having a better and more enjoyable life. We will have more time to work on relationships, and we will see what a precious privilege it is to serve in a better way. We should desire to be our best so we can live a life that is effective because it glorifies God, as well as having our best interests in mind, too. That does not mean we become “time prudes” and miss out on fun, as this character combines with the others for effective relationship building and community effort and togetherness. Our efforts are to be focused to benefit the entire community around us, from family, friends, church, community, and the rest of the world. When we are moody or governed by reckless excitement and enthusiasm for the wrong things, we will surely impale ourselves with sin, and miss the great things that God has for us. Let us strive to be Christians who are well ordered as the Puritans said. We can be well organized, and not run in so many directions that we end up going nowhere. Let us be steadfast in our trust and obedience, and put forth the effort necessary to be our best, and remember that we are responsible to our Lord.

Solitude is important to experience stillness and quiet, which is so often neglected today, especially in our youth. This will help you hold onto character! © 2003 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Discretion
Is the Character of Discretion working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Discretion from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Discretion in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better attitude about being more cautious with how I come across to others? 3. What blocks Discretion from working and being exhibited in me? 4. How can I make Discretion function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Dan. 1:8-16: Matt. 21:23-27; Luke 2:15-19; Acts 15:6-30, Rom. 14:13-23) Here are negative examples from Scripture (Judges 11:29-40; Eccles. 5:1-7; Matt. 19:16-26; Luke 1:8-23; Gal. 2:1-5; 11-16)

Discretion (Psalm 112:5; Proverbs 2:11; 22:3; Rom.12: 2, 9; 14:19, 22) keeps our minds and focus on sound judgment, giving serious attention and thought to what is going on around us. In that way, we can better choose our words, attitudes, and actions carefully to model goodness and righteousness for any given situation, thus avoiding words and actions that could result in adverse consequences. With this character, we will be able to recognize and avoid the wrong attitudes that create objectionable words, actions, etc., that are condescending to others and can bring terrible relationship consequences. Carelessness, Recklessness, Impulsiveness, Irresponsibility, and a Lack of Concern are the opposites. If we possess these diabolical traits, we will fail to see others as important or worth our effort to respond to them in a tactful and good relational way. We will have the world’s mentality of "let it all hang out" or

"tell it like it is," which will allow us to say a careless word, even unintentionally, to cause hurt or to use words and actions to tear others down. Gossip and slander will be our tools of destruction; chaos and calamity will be in our wake! Further Questions 1. How would you define Discretion? Do you think through and give serious attention to what you are doing, and how you come across to others? 2. What are the things that cause you not to be Discreet with your words? 3. How does being careless counteract Discretion? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church, workplace…) when you show no concern? 4. What happens to your relationship with God and with others, and the opportunities God gives you, when you are irresponsible? 5. When have you been filled with Discretion the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to be Discreet when you should have been? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Discretion? Are you willing to be a discreet person? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Discretion into action in a specific instance, such as how your choice in clothing affects others around you, then, think about how to be better with your choice of what and how you do things, so to be uplifting to others rather than distracting or tearing them down. Do you put forth Christian Discretion to others, as you should? If not, why? What can you do to improve coming across to others as mature in the faith? As kids we may have said, “sticks and stones my break my bones but words will never hurt me.” But, as an adult, we know how much words do hurt, and stay with us for decades to come. Discretion, especially with words, is paramount for the Christian! Christian Discretion is learning how to respond to others--in the ordinary times of life as well as in the difficult situations--with thoughtfulness and tact. It is putting the rest of the characteristics into our minds, so they come out of our mouths. It is putting forth what we have learned and gained from our personal growth and maturity in Christ, applying it within the parameters of the wisdom and character of Christ. Sounds like a mouthful, but we have to be growing Christians so we know what it means to model our Lord. We have to have a firm grasp on His Character so we can know what is appropriate and what is inappropriate. A mature Christian will be able to see beyond himself and his

wishes and desires, so he can also see the consequences of how words and actions will affect others around him, now, and further down the road. A mature Christian will not let his moods and feelings take over his composure or his mouth. To put this in action we must remember to think before we speak, and be careful not to say things that could hurt someone or cause a fight or argument. We must strive to avoid bad influences and questionable activities, as they will manipulate us, and as garbage is poured in our minds, garbage comes out in our words and deeds. We will not let our words or body language discourage one another. We will know that showing respect to authority is right and Biblical. At the same time, we must be willing to stand up for what is right. This translates into not ever gossiping or talking negatively about others at work, school, home, church, or anywhere in the universe, period, while we claim Christ as Lord! “Our strength is shown in the things we stand for; our weakness is shown in the things we fall for.” “People of genius are admired; people of wealth are envied; people of power are feared; but only people of character are trusted.” Solitude will not produce character, because we need the demands of life. We learn by people pushing us, and our learning how to respond through the Word. Yet, solitude will hone character by mediation, prayer, and reflection on how we could have done better. © 2003 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Optimism
Is the Character of Optimism working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Optimism from God’s most precious Word, by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Optimism in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better attitude about being more cautious with how I come across to others? 3. What blocks Optimism from working and being exhibited in me?

4. How can I make Optimism function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Num. 14:4-10; Hab. 3:17-19; Mark 14:53-62; Rom. 8:28-39; Phil. 3:10-15; Philemon 4-22) Here are negative examples from Scripture (Gen. 18:9-15; Num. 11:1-6; 13:25-33; John 5:2-9; 20:24-25)

Optimism (Proverbs 4:23; Luke 21:18; John 16:33; Romans 8:25; 28; 15:13; Colossians 3:1-4) combines hope and faith into synergy (the combination supercharges and become more than just the sum of its parts) to be positive for Christ. It is a heartfelt confidence that everything will come out for the best, no matter what happens, as Paul proclaimed. It will help us to think the best of and be positive with people and all situations, even if we are proven wrong. Pessimism, Cynicism, Distrust, Doubt, and being Sarcastic are the opposites. These characteristics will help us see and dwell on the fact that the glass is half-empty, not that it is only half-full! We will only recognize the negative, and look for the worst in people and situations. There are times when we need to be careful and cautious, but constant negativity will get us nowhere. Further Questions 1. How would you define Optimism? Are you a person who is positive with your outlook? Why, or why not? 2. When would there be an occasion to distrust a person or situation? 3. How does being Pessimistic counteract Optimism? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church, workplace, etc.) when you are a negative person? 4. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you, when you are negative? 5. When have you been filled with Optimism the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to be positive when you should have been? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Optimism? Are you willing to be a passionate person? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Optimism into action in a specific instance, such as do you come across to others as being optimistic? If not, why not? Do you fully and passionately realize that at the end of the

Book of Books, through Christ, we win! Think about how your attitude affects all that you do in relationships, work, school, family, friends, etc., then, commit yourself to seeing who you are in Christ by taking these Scriptures to heart. What can you do to improve your passion and commitment? Faith is the foundation and rock on which we stand. Hope is the confidence and expectation that God's promises will be fulfilled. Optimism combines the two so our faith turns into conviction and enthusiasm, and our hope turns into certainty! So, when we are filled with His Spirit and are true to the Word, we can take His call into action with passion. We will be motivated to seek training to hone our knowledge and prepare us for our call to better glorify our Lord. We will be filled with passion so we can stand longer in service for our Lord, even in times of stress and persecution. We will be motivated to seek justice and be fair. Remember, all of the characteristics combine to form the mature Christian. Real Optimism will help us sink our roots in the awareness and knowledge of who we are in Christ, and the power of His grace. Optimism is not just a wish, an academic thought, positive or hopeful thinking, nor is it just confidence that everything will turn out all right. Rather, it is real and tangible. With Optimism we will be able to see what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us, so we will be able to overcome any setbacks, disappointments, or suffering we may face, as the goal of being His child will outweigh all else. We will have no fear for what happens to our body when our soul is secured (Phil. 3:20-21a). Eternity is our goal, and our life here is a training ground to learn--a mere rehearsal of what is to come. When we are positive and optimistic, we will keep our interest in what is true, and seek His promises. Because Optimism puts hope into action, we will be able to be more confident that God's promises are real, true, and will come to us. That way we can have a good attitude, be filled with zeal, and keep our heart with all diligence (Proverbs 4:23), even when times are harsh. As a Christian you should be optimistic. If not, you have some issues that need to be cleansed and taken care of. Christian optimists are the ones with the most impact on people (Hebrews 10:24-25, 1 Peter 3:15). Consider this. People who are optimists tend to lift others up; pessimists tend to drag others down with them! Why should I be optimistic? Because of the Hope we are given (Romans 5:1-2, Romans 5:5, Romans 15:13, 1 Corinthians 13:13)! More verses to consider are Isaiah 40:31; Psalm 42:5; Psalm 130:5,7; Lamentations 3:25; Jeremiah 29:11; Hebrews 10:23; 1 Timothy 6:17; and 1 John 3:2-3

Character is born though struggles that take time; just as developing the ability to play a musical instrument takes practice. © 2003 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Obedience
Is the Character of Obedience working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Obedience from God’s most precious Word, by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Obedience in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better willingness to be instructed by God and godly people? 3. What blocks Obedience from working and being exhibited in me? 4. How can I make Obedience function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (2 Chron. 17:1-6; Acts 8:26-40; Phil. 2:1-11; James 1:22-25) Here are negative examples from Scripture (Josh. 7: 16-21; 1 Sam. 15:17-23; Jonah 1:1-3; Matt. 15:1-9; Heb. 3:7-19)

Obedience (Deuteronomy 13: 4; 1 Samuel 15:22; Proverbs 19:16; Acts 5:29; John 14:14; 15:14; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Hebrews 13:17) is submitting to what God requires of us. This character motivates us to keep seeking our Lord and cleaving to Him, regardless of the circumstances, so we will be able to keep His precepts and be loyal to His call. It is also recognizing authority and direction from others, such as the pastor and church, so winning situations can result. Disobedience, Defiance, and Rebellion are the opposites. With these attitudes, we will flee from God’s love and precepts, ignore His call, and just do our own thing. We will have no fear of God; we will do as we please, thus placing us on a path of chaos, strife, and destruction. We will have no desire to serve Him or do the right thing outside of obligation. We will miss out on true intimacy, destroy relationships, hinder growth in ourselves and others, miss out on maturity, and on the wonder of His plan.

Further Questions 1. How would you define Obedience? Do your friends and family see you making sacrifices to obey God? 2. When would there be an occasion to be rebellious? Are you afraid of obeying God? If so, why? 3. How does Defiance counteract Obedience? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church, workplace, etc.) when you are a rebellious person? 4. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you, when you are disobedient? 5. When have you been filled with Obedience the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to be cooperative when you should have been? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Obedience? Are you willing to be a cooperative person? Do you know when it is Biblically necessary not to be? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Obedience into action in a specific instance. Read Romans 13:1-2. Ask yourself, how can I accept the word, “no” from those in authority (when it does not violate God’s precepts) without appeals, discussions, complaining, gossip and such? Read Colossians 3:23: Instead of jumping to no, I cannot, rather, seek how can I, with God and others? Obedience is pure loyalty to our Lord. It helps us focus on Him and what He has done for us. We will see our sinful nature and how He has rescued us from our self destruction, so we will know where we came from and have no desire to go back, and so we will stick with Him even in times of dire suffering. It means not being ashamed of the Gospel, as Paul proclaimed in Romans 1:16, so that your devotion becomes contagious to those around you. Obedience is not something we dread, or feel we have to do, nor is it bondage in a negative sense. It is the joy of knowing our Lord and staying with Him so as to partake in His love and grow in Him further, deeper, and stronger. The result is that we become more mature, become of more use to His glory, and become willing to express His love with eagerness to others. Obedience is also the willingness to cooperate with God, and with others in their godly directions and plans. It is working together to further the Kingdom as a

community, shining with the glory of our Lord together. We may sacrifice our will and pride, for these things result in separation and strife. Whereas, when we work tighter together, we bring and build community and relationships. Obedience is not Willfulness, or having a strong willed mindset, rather it is our lining up with His precepts and call. It is the self-surrender of our will so we become less in our spirit and more in His Spirit. Even in the OT, God was more concerned with people’s trust and obedience than their offerings and sacrifices. God delights in our obedience. He does not demand it, nor is it required for our salvation. It is something we do because, as the hymn goes, there is no other way! To see this character further, sing and meditate on the hymn, Trust and Obey! Character will not stay with us. It is easier kept than recovered, and yet, it flees from so many who had it. Just look at the life of Saul. We do not wake up one day with it. When we do have it, others will see it, may even point to it, or be discipled from it. © 2003 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Reverence
Is the Character of Reverence working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Reverence from God’s most precious Word, by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Reverence in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better willingness to have a since of awe and fear of God and respect for people? 3. What blocks Reverence from working and being exhibited in me? 4. How can I make Reverence function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Ex. 3:1-6; 1 Sam. 26:6-12; Psalm 34:1-14; Isa. 6:1-8; Rev. 4:6-11)

Here are negative examples from Scripture (2 Sam. 16:20-23; Mal. 1:6-14; Matt. 21:33-43; Luke 23:39-43)

Reverence (Psalm 89:5-18; Proverbs 1:7, 29: 3:5-9; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 5:21; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; 1 Peter 2:13-14; 3:15a) is the true response that leads to worship to all that come before God. It is recognizing and honoring the authority of God with awe and fear because He is God, and He is more awesome than anything or anyone--period. It also means respecting people, not just because of their position and authority, but as brothers and sisters in the Lord, regardless of their personality, and knowing He loves them too! Hatred, disdain, disloyalty, and contempt are the opposites. With these attitudes, we will flee from God’s love and precepts, ignore His call, and just do our own thing. We will have no fear of God; we will do as we please, thus placing us on a path of chaos, strife, and destruction. We will have no desire to serve Him, or do the right thing, outside of obligation. We will miss out on true intimacy with Him, destroy relationships, hinder growth in ourselves, others, our church, and miss out on the process of maturity, as well as the wonder of His plan. Further Questions 1. How would you define Reverence? Do you fear God? 2. What part do reverence and respect play in our relationships with church leaders, the elderly, and to one another? Do you think God desires that we give special care or reverence to the church sanctuary and facilities? What about traditions? 3. How does Contempt counteract Reverence? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church, workplace, etc.) when you are a disloyal person? 4. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you, when you are disrespectful? 5. When have you been filled with Reverence the most? Do people have to earn your respect? If so, why? Is that Biblical? 6. In what situation did you fail to be respectful to someone when you should have been? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Reverence?

8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Reverence into action in a specific instance. What can you do to develop a deeper since of reverence to God? How would this respect and honor of God affect your relationships? Proverbs tells us that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. This type of fear is not being scared, or fearful of what will happen, nor is it distrust or terror of God. Rather, it is reference and awe that fuels our worship and faith. It is the understanding of the wonder and majesty of our incredible God, who transcends time and space, and who is bigger than the entire universe He created, yet, He personally knows and loves us with deeper and more love than we could ever comprehend. In the Old Testament, the stipulation put to the Jews was that they follow their God and stick to the covenant. The covenant we have now is grace; the stipulation is that we accept it by faith. The growth of our fear (awe) is the response to His majesty. Reverence is taking the incredible knowledge of His majesty, and applying it to our lives, so we will walk with confidence in our Lord, and operate with respect to Him, and to the others whom He knows and loves. Reverence leads to worship because we can acknowledge whom God is, and respond in the only way we can, to surrender our will to Him and worship Him! As His created being, saved by His grace from a destiny we created and deserved, we have an obligation to give Him all of our honor, all our praise, and all our adoration. This is the reason for the primary purpose of our saved lives--to give God the glory that is rightly due Him. Why must we? Because He is the Holy, Sovereign, the Creator (Duet. 7:21; Neh. 4:14; Psalm 48:1; 86:10; 95:3; 97:2; 145:3; Dan. 9:4; 1 Cor. 13:12; Heb. 12:28,29)! The Bible plainly tells us that we are to show reverence to God and to the things that represent His person and presence (Heb. 12:28,29). Most Christians will say, yes, to the first part, to fear and respect God, but do they do so with one another? What about the things and stuff that represent God, such as stained glass, icons, pews, and the church lobby? Many Christians today do not believe that church facilities need respect. Yet, God’s Word tells us, "Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the LORD" (Lev. 19:30, 26:2). This passage is referring to a tent where God’s sanctuary was set up, not the great temple of Solomon that was built later. So, even the most commonplace location is considered very special to God, and thus is also deserving of our reverence. Reverence is a very important character regarding how we relate to both God and others. Reverence and respect have similar meanings. However, reverence has more of the meaning of worship, and pertains to God. We used to call our ministers, "Reverend" as a means of respect. However, we do not worship them, only God. Ministers are God’s representatives, and to a degree, all Christians are included in the doctrine of the “priesthood of the Believer.” But, most people no longer call their pastors, reverend, no longer do children respect their parents.

Often they even call them by their first names. We mock our church leaders; ignore their advice, while our churches run down into dysfunction and irrelevancy. We need to be respectful to all people, whether we agree with them or not. We need to recapture the respect of parents and authorities, something that has eroded, and caused so much rebellion, creating strife, dysfunction, and chaos in our society (Rom. 12:10; 1 Peter 5:5). When we grow in maturity in the Christian walk, we will naturally show more reverence and respect for God’s presence. This mindset must also transfer to how we deal with His creation, with people, and with what represents Him. We do not wake up one day with Character. When we do have it, others will see it, may even point to it, or be discipled from it. © 2003 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com

The Character of Hospitality
Is the Character of Hospitality working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Hospitality from God’s most precious Word, by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Hospitality in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better willingness to be Hospitable and to value people? 3. What blocks Hospitality from working and being exhibited in me? 4. How can I make Hospitality function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Genesis 12:14-20; 20:4-15; 1 Kings 17:10-24; Luke 19:1-10; Acts 28:2) Here are negative examples from Scripture (Numbers 20:18-21; 21:21-31; Judges 19:15; 1 Samuel 25:10-38; Luke 9:51-5610:30-37)

Hospitality is a willingness to share, with discernment, what God has given us, including our family, home, finances, and food. It is an attitude of stewardship,

where we do not own anything because we are merely the caretaker for the real owner, God. He desires us to share His stuff, and we comply out of reverence and gratitude to Him. In relationships, it is honoring the boundaries of others, and sharing all we have without strings attached (Matthew 25:34-43; Luke 10:30-37; Romans 12:13: 16:33; 1 Timothy 5:10; Hebrews 13:2; 1 Peter 4:7-11; 3 John 1:58). Unfriendliness, Inhospitality, Animosity, and being Annoyed, are the opposites. These ill-begotten feelings will allow you to push others away, and give up precious friendships and opportunities for personal growth through networking, connections, and fellowship. These are rotten fruits of egocentricity, as you only see the world as it revolves around you, and you miss seeing the value of others. With this attitude, you will not develop good friendships or be effective in the church, neighborhood, or workplace. Further Questions 1. How would you define Hospitality? Are you a hospitable person? What about people you do not like? You may not have to invite them into your home, but how do you treat them? 2. What part does Hospitality play in your relationships with church members, friends, coworkers, and family? 3. How does being annoyed counteract Hospitality? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church, workplace, etc.) when you are a person who is inhospitable? 4. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you, when you are unfriendly or are unwilling to share? 5. When have you been filled with Hospitality the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to be Welcoming when you should have? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Hospitality? Do you just give advice, or do you also lend a hand? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Hospitality into action in a specific instance. Ask yourself, who can I invite to my home in order to get to know them better? Who has a need that I may help to fulfill? Where is Hospitality not functioning properly in my church? What can I do about it? Hospitality is rendering unto others what God has given us, including comfort, sharing our food, and friendship. It is often considered to be a Spiritual

Gift. As a Spiritual Gift, Hospitality is the ability to provide an open house and a warm welcome to those in need of food and lodging (Acts 16:14-15 Romans 12:9-13 Romans 16:23 Hebrews 13:1-2 1 Peter 4:9). Many Christians use the excuse, since I do not have the Gift of Hospitality I do not have to welcome others. This is a very dismal view, and totally goes against the precepts of Scripture. It is, in fact, sin to think this way! Yes, it is a Spiritual Gift, and those who possess it will be extra diligent to put it into practice, and network with others to make this Gift function in abundance. It is like love; we all are called to love (1 Corinthians 13). Do you realize the seriousness of your faith? Christianity is not a recreational activity; it is a matter of your heart. It affects your Will, and moves your hands and feet. Do not forget to be Hospitable! Even though you may not like to talk to neighbors, meet new people, or great strangers with a kind word and a smile, you are called to do so! Do you try to make people comfortable, or are you careless? You have to be willing to ask, Am I being kind to others, or am I in such a rush, I have no time? If it is a rush, then your priorities are skewed, because, to God, relationships are priority number one! This does not mean we are so chatty we neglect our other responsibilities, but we have to be willing to go beyond our comfort zone and engage people with Christ-like character! Hospitality also means we are contributing to the development and growth of our family, friends, and fellow Christians. Hospitality is the door to discipleship. Without hospitality, Discipleship cannot function--and Discipleship is the quintessential call that Christ gives us, the Church, to do, above all else (Matthew 28: 18-20)! We must be willing to go beyond our preconceived needs, comforts, and ideas to provide an ambiance which contributes to the physical and spiritual growth of people around us. If we do not, how will they know we are Christians? If we do not, how will Discipleship and the growth of the Church happen? It is not just a gift--it is a call to us all! So, put into practice good Hospitality by practicing Godly Character and good social etiquette. Be the one to help others feel important. Be the one who returns the kindnesses you are given. Be the first one to greet visitors who come to your church, and invite them to your home for fellowship, and lunch. Godly Hospitality will not expect anything in return! © 2003 R. J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

The Character of Loyalty
Is the Character of Loyalty working in you?

Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Loyalty from God’s most precious Word, by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Loyalty in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better willingness to be Loyal and remain committed to people? 3. What blocks Loyalty from working and being exhibited in me? 4. How can I make Loyalty function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (II Samuel 3:6-21; Esther 8:1-2; John 11:16; 20:8; Hebrews 11:24-26) Here are negative examples from Scripture (I Samuel 15:11; I Kings 18:1819; John 6:66; II Peter 2:10;15)

Loyalty is remaining committed to those whom God has brought into our lives and has called us to serve, even in times of difficulty. It is developing the allegiance and respect in one another, and not seeking to manipulate the other person. Being loyal exhibits our commitment to Christ by being committed with discernment to people and righteous causes at all times (Proverbs 17:17; Ecclesiastes 8:2-4; John 15:13; Romans 13:1-5; Titus 3:1). Disloyalty, Betrayal, Untrusting, and Unfaithful, are the opposites. It is allowing our corrupt nature to be our desires so we manipulate others rather than build them up. It is to disregard God’s Lordship and authority as well as His love for others. This mindset will quickly turn into contempt and cause us to disrespect and undermine our leaders and each other as well as impertinence and blaspheming towards God. Further Questions 1. How would you define Loyalty? Are you a respectful person? Is so what about your government leaders? 2. What part does Loyalty play in your relationships with church leaders, friends, your boss and family? 3. How does being Untrusting counteract Loyalty? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church, workplace, etc.) when you are a person who is Disloyal?

4. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you, when you are Unfaithful or do not like to honor the people in charge? 5. When have you been filled with Loyalty the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to be Loyal when you should have? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Loyalty? Do you just complain or do you seek to be a part of the solution? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Loyalty into action in a specific instance. Such as what can I do to make sure I always treat authority figures even the police when they are wring me a ticket with utmost respect? Where is Loyalty not functioning properly in my life and relationships and what can I do about it? Do I put down my church and civil leaders, if so what can I do to be a solution and not a problem? Loyalty is like faith as it means assurance of another. In ancient times they were the same word and meaning referring to one's loyalty to a person or trustworthiness to a promise they made. The person receiving the promise was acting on faith and trusting in that person which is what loyalty is mainly about. But loyalty has another facet to it. It is also is a call that we involve other characters into it such as forgiveness, mercy and respect. We are to do this to people even when it is underserved and unearned. It is knowing that the people we place our loyalty with will disappoint us and we cannot put our character and self image in their reaction, only in who Christ is. Our outlook on life and people needs to be rooted in God and not how those people respond to me. We are not responsible to how people treat us we are only responsible to treating them with utmost character as a reflection of Christ, hence the word Christian is being “Christ like,” not “self like.” We are to never forget what Christ did for us. So how we treat a person needs to be rooted in Christ not what they can do for me or how they respond to me. Yes, we need to be discerning and not be overly taken advantage of. But real friendship is not based on who can do what, but in mutual love and respect that is freely given and freely received. God will bring people into our lives and we cannot due to logistics and time be good friends with everyone, but we can treat every one we come in contact with good character and that means loyalty too. We need to realize to keep relationships functional we have to be dedicated, trustworthy, dependable and committed. That means we do not gossip, we do not put down, we do not undermine, we do not play games; rather we model Christ and what He did for us! When we stick with our friends we keep our friends, long term relationships tend to be rare but they are vital. Do not let then be rare in your life!

We are to realize that God works through people including our Church and national leaders (Proverbs 21:1; Romans 13). God uses others to carry His plan to me and those around me. Therefore, loyalty is also a demonstration of our obedience to our country, civil leaders, Church, teachers, authority figures and family (Unless they give a command that goes against God's Word). It is something we demonstrate in public and private. Loyalty is a character that puts a portion of love into action and into others in your life. It may be the one key aspect that others see that points them to God’s love! © 2003 R. J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

The Character of Servant Leadership
Is the Character of Servant Leadership working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character, this Fruit of Servant Leadership from God’s most precious Word, by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Servant Leadership in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better willingness to have a serving attitude in leadership and value people rather than manipulate them? 3. What blocks Servant Leadership from working and being exhibited in me? 4. How can I make Servant Leadership function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (John 13:1-17; Acts 13:1-5; 1 Corinthians 16:15-18) Here are negative examples from Scripture (Genesis 30:25-43; Judges 13-16; Ezra 4:8-23; Matthew 18:21-35; Luke 22:24)

Servant Leadership is exercising real, godly leadership, as Christ did when He used a towel, and influencing, equipping, and empowering people to accomplish God's purpose and plan. It is serving others unselfishly while influencing and empowering them to grow in a Christ-directed, purposeful direction. This was an uncommon trait in Jesus’ time, just as it is in ours; do not let it be uncommon for you! Being a leader in the church, or in the home for a husband, is never a force

of personality; it is earning that respect because you love and care (1 Kings 3:9; Luke 22:25-28; Matthew 25:21; Mark 9:33-37; John 5:19; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-5; 2 Timothy 2:24; Hebrews 13:17) Manipulation, Political Self-Centered Agendas, and Exploitation, are all opposites. These types of leadership models may be the common approach—so it seems—but they will fragment, and even destroy a church. The leadership for the church must come from the Jesus model, not the business model! Rotten leadership is more destructive than a legion of demons, as it corrupts godly principles and displays a skewed understanding of our call to follow Christ. It seeks its own, and not the Word. Further Questions 1. How would you define Servant Leadership? Are you a Leader? If so, is your attitude to serve or to control? Which is God’s model? 2. What part does Servant Leadership play in your church? Do you and/or the leaders express Christ-like principles, or business paradigms? 3. How does manipulating others counteract Servant Leadership? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church, workplace, etc.) when you are a leader who is self-centered? 4. What happens to your church and community, and with the opportunities God gives you, when you are in leadership for personal reasons or for control? 5. When has your church been filled with Servant Leadership the most? 6. Can you think of a situation where you, as a leader, failed to be serving, when you should have been? 7. What issue, in your church, would improve with more Servant Leadership? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Servant Leadership into action in a specific instance, such as, how can I be selflessly serving others by influencing, equipping, and empowering them to follow God’s Will without manipulation or control? Where is Servant Leadership not functioning properly in my church and what can I do about it? Jesus clearly tells us that a leader should behave like a servant (Luke 22:26). We are not in leadership for power, control, or for personal gain. Rather, we are to point others in His direction by our example. Jesus took a towel and washed His disciple’s feet. This is an act we can easily glance over, missing its significance. But this was God, Creator of the universe, performing the lowest job

in that culture—washing someone’s feet. If the President of the United States came over to clean your toilet, it would be a pale comparison! This is an example for us—we are never too high in our position to perform the lowest tasks, because, it is not the task—it is our servant attitude that is important. Samson was a Judge for Israel (Judges 13-16). His primary responsibility was to lead his people, and defeat the Philistines. He chose, instead, to party and pursue women that were not right for him. The end result was that his strength was taken away; he was blinded and powerless. Only at the literal end of His life did he call upon God. He wasted his leadership and abilities on foolish, meaningless gains and manipulation. How sad that so many of our church leaders do the same. We are given precious opportunities and we squander them, pursuing trends, personal needs, and desires—and not God’s Will! Real Biblical leadership for the church is never a force of Will or personality. Leadership embodies the fruit and character of our Lord. It requires being a servant before you attempt to direct others. If a leader just directs and never serves, there is a good chance he is not a real leader; rather, he is a pretender, exercising his agenda—not God’s call and Will. See our article Learning to Lead A Profile of a Servant Leader! © 2003 R. J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

The Character of Cautiousness
Is the Character of Cautiousness working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character, this Fruit of Cautiousness, from God’s most precious Word, by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Cautiousness in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better willingness to be careful with decisions and opportunities? 3. What blocks Cautiousness from working, and being exhibited in me? 4. How can I make Cautiousness function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress?

• •

Here are positive examples from Scripture (Daniel 1:8-17; Luke 12:37-40; John 7:1; 11:54) Here are negative examples from Scripture (Judges 19:22- 20-47; Daniel 4:28-33; Matthew 18:21-35; John 10:39)

Cautiousness is being discerning so we do not rush into things when the timing is wrong, or the situation does not merit it. It is being sensitive to dangers, God’s timing, providence, and the knowledge He gives us. It is keeping a governor on our passions and excitement so we do not overrun others or take others to places they are not ready for yet. Being cautious also means knowing that we are not the essential component of the church, He is. (Psalm 112:5; Proverbs 3:5-14; 12:16; 14:15; 16:25; 19:2; 28:26; 29:20; Ecclesiastes 5:2; Isaiah 55:8-9; John 5:30; Romans 12:21; James 1:19). Careless attitude, Recklessness, Irresponsibility, and Haste are all opposites. These allow our excitement and boldness to control us, not the reality of the situation or the allowing of the other characters to work in harmony. If we permit unrestrained passions to direct us, we may take the church and/or our personal life in the wrong direction. We will then miss vital opportunities, and what Christ really called us to. Further Questions 1. How would you define Cautiousness? Are you a cautious person? If so, what about situations where you are very excited and leap before you look? 2. What part does Cautiousness play in your relationships with church members, friends, coworkers, and family? What about in your passions and desires? 3. How does being Irresponsible counteract Cautiousness? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church, workplace, etc.) when you are a person who is reckless? 4. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you, when you are Careless and reckless? 5. When have you been filled with Cautiousness the most? 6. Can you think of a situation where you failed to be Careful although you should have been? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Cautiousness? Do you jump in, or do you look, and discern first? What happens when people just jump in to something without first looking at it, or examining the situation?

8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Cautiousness into action in a specific instance, such as, How can you anticipate negative influences before they influence you in the wrong direction? Who can you go to for help in seeing the big picture, and for good advice? The old saying, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, is very much true. Thinking a few minutes ahead will save you countless years of misery and stress! Being careful has four main aspects to it. First, we are to be careful with the preferences and choices we make in our personal lives and ministry. Second, we need to be able to form solid opinions and then act with effectiveness, shrewdness and prudence. This will mean we are giving serious attention and thought to what is going on, and what we are doing in, and around our lives. Third, being careful means we will not take unnecessary chances or put ourselves or others in unnecessarily dangerous or bad situations. Fourth, being careful is a management tool we use to control our attitude and words, as in how we come across to others. We must take careful heed, so we are our best in words and deeds, not allowing our emotions or the situation dictate our behaviors. By understanding Cautiousness, we can gain better information and council before we make decisions. Also, we can think before we act so we do not rush into something that is precarious or hazardous, or that will put us on the wrong track in life. We will be able to see what and how the options and decisions we make play out in the future, how they affect us and others—both now and also down the road. We can be sensitive, avoiding people who are not right for us, who may influence us to make bad decisions. When we are seeking God’s ways, we are on the right track; when we are seeking our emotions and desires, we are apt to be on the wrong track of life. God’s ways and plans are better than ours. We tend not to see how all things work together and how people and situations are influenced by causes and motivations. We need to trust in God and His way, because His is better than ours. Cautiousness is not the opposite of boldness, nor is it an excuse to slow down to the point we are not doing anything, and our fears and misgivings take over. Rather, being bold and being cautious are two characters that work together so we can live a life with clear judgments, making good decisions and moving forward so that we are glorifying our Lord, and He can bring us better prospects and opportunities. © 2003 R. J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

The Character of Boldness
Is the Character of Boldness working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character, this Fruit of Boldness, from God’s most precious Word, by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Boldness in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better willingness to take a calculated and wise chance? 3. What blocks Boldness from working and being exhibited in me? 4. How can I make Boldness function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (1 Samuel 17; Daniel 3; 6:1-26; Acts 5; Romans 10:20; 2 Corinthians 10:1-6) Here are negative examples from Scripture (Job 15:20-31; 18:11; Daniel 5:17; Matthew 18:21-35; Mark 8:31-33; Galatians 3:1-5)

Boldness is our willingness to venture out and do the right thing at the right time, regardless of the barriers or fears we may encounter. This enables us to speak the truth, and perform a task without fear of the consequences or results, because, it is the right, and Biblical thing to do. It is realizing that God is in control. He is there within, and beside us, and He will take care of us. Therefore, we do not need to fear what others can do; rather, we are to concentrate on our character and call, and do it with passion and conviction. (Genesis 6; 1 Kings 18; Proverbs 28:1; Isaiah 7:9; Daniel 3,6; 2 Corinthians 5:6-8; 7:16; Ephesians 6:1314; Hebrews 13:6). Cowardice, Fearfulness, Cynicism, Negativity, Discouragement, and Pessimism are all opposites. These negative traits create a negative attitude that is infectious to others. It causes people not to take the chance to go forward with what God is calling them to. Thus, the person and/or church remains ensnared in fear, allowing obstacles to stop them so that the work our Lord has for them remains undone. Further Questions 1. How would you define Boldness? Are you a courageous person? If so, what about things you fear, or have not tried before?

2. What part does Boldness play in your relationships with church members, friends, coworkers, and family? If someone is being falsely accused in your presence, do you remain quiet, or do you defend the truth, even if the accusers come against you? 3. How does a Negative Attitude counteract Boldness? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church, workplace, etc.) when you are a person who is Discouraging to others? 4. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you, when you are Cynical with others? 5. When have you been filled with Boldness the most? What does it take to share your faith to a friend, stranger, or family member? Which is harder? Why? 6. Can you think of a situation where you failed to be Bold although you should have been? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Boldness? Do you just cave in to fear, and allow obstacles to block your path? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Boldness into action in a specific instance—such as, how could you take the chance to share your faith when you might be afraid to? How can you correct a false teaching in such a way as to encourage the teacher, yet, point out the error? How can you refuse to listen to gossip without being a prude? How can you be ready to explain to those who do not know the Lord, or are new to the faith, what it means to be committed to following God's Ways? How can you be unafraid, and not allow foolish friends and detrimental influences steer you in the wrong direction? The 16th century Scottish Reformer, John Knox (1505-1572), was famous for his slogan, O God! Give me Scotland or I die! He was a person who boldly spoke the truth of the Christian faith to a nation in transition—from apostate Catholicism, its harmful and repressive Theology as well as its prideful leaders— to a godlier, Protestant nation. He was able to challenge leaders who used religion as a way to control society. He faced many dangers, many imprisonments and beatings, but, he succeeded in his mission by bringing Reformation to Scotland. One time, while he was preaching in his packed church in Scotland, he was arrested for teaching the Bible outside of the “Church.” He was put in chains, then forced to be a “slave” and do the harshest and lowest job ever conceived, row the oars of a galley ship. For the duration of those long months of pushing and pulling oars, he was able to spend that time in surrendered prayer and devotion to God. At the same time, he was also able to

build his frail body and strengthen his health, through diet and exercise. He was able to gain physical strength, and, most importantly, strengthen his prayer life. This forever changed him into a deep person of spiritual maturity, and gave him even greater boldness and physical strength to preach the Word—regardless of the cost. John Knox’s passion and preaching became so powerful that the corrupt Mary Queen of Scotland said, I fear the prayers of John Knox more than all the assembled armies of Europe. She eventually lost her head in England. The rest of the corrupt leaders met dishonorable ends, too. On John’s tomb are these words, Here lies the man who never feared the face of clay. He was able to use Boldness, tempered by the Spirit, to change a nation and create a denomination. We have to ask ourselves, what are we doing? We may not change the course of history, but, we can change the course of our lives, and perhaps the people we touch, too! Boldness comes from the confidence we have in Christ—who He is, and what He can do. This attitude directly affects how we respond to any given situation. When we have confidence in our Lord, we can venture beyond our limits, abilities, and comfort zones to engage in the simple things of life—from talking to a stranger in a kind encouraging way, or sharing the Gospel with a friend—to the big stretches, such as, going overseas to a strange and foreign land as a missionary. I can do all things. Paul said. Not because he was this great and powerful man, but because he knew His God, and what He could do! We will not fear what others can do to us, just as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego demonstrated. They knew God could save them. They just did not know if He would save them. But, whatever God did, they trusted Him for it, even if the furnace took their lives away. So, they could walk into that furnace with confidence, whatever the results might be. God chose to do a miracle. And, even if He had not, how we respond is more important than any miracle we may receive. Our boldness does not stand alone. If it did, then it would be pride—the most heinous sin we could commit! Boldness has to be tempered by the other characters and fruits from our Lord, so it is synergistic and powerful because of whom He is, not for what we can accomplish! If meekness (strength under control), and gentleness are accompanying our Boldness, we will have “bullyness” and not boldness. You will have a force of personality—not the Spirit of the Lord (1 Peter 4:7-5:8). Boldness works together with Cautiousness, as they balance each other out by helping us exhibit wisdom, and passion, for a better, and godly approach to life. © 2003 R. J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

The Character of Punctuality
Is the Character of Punctuality working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character, this fruit of Punctuality, from God’s most precious Word, by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Punctuality in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better willingness to be on time, to show that I value people? 3. What blocks Punctuality from working and being exhibited in me? 4. How can I make Punctuality function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? • • Here are positive examples from Scripture (1 Kings 19:20-21; Matthew 25:113; Esther 4: 9-14; Luke 2:1-12) Here are negative examples from Scripture (Exodus 8:10-11; Matthew 24:4851; 25:1-13; Luke 9:60-62; Acts 24:24-26)

Punctuality is not holding others back with our inadequacies; it is a form of reverence which respects the time of others, and acts quickly when God and others call on us. This shows that you care and respect others. It is realizing that time is important; the time of others is valuable. Time is a treasure and an investment that pays off in eternity. We are not to waste or take advantage of others. We are to strive to do our best with all God has given, including the time and opportunities of our own and that of others (Genesis 18:14; Psalm 56:3; 90:12; Ecclesiastes 3:1-11; Matthew 5:25; Roman 13:11-14; Colossians 4:5). Lateness, Tardiness, Hindering others and Procrastination are all opposites. Many great philosophers have stated, “Time is the furnace in which we burn.” Our life and opportunities are very limited. When we detain others, we are infringing on their character and opportunities. We are, in fact, wasting what God has given us and preventing others from exercising what God has given them. When we impede others, we are robbing them of their gifts and opportunities. Further Questions 1. How would you define Punctuality? Are you a person who is careful about how he/she uses time? If so, do you slow others up?

2. What part does Punctuality play in your relationships with church members, friends, coworkers, and family? How can mismanaging our time harm our relationships, as well as other aspects of life and work? 3. How does being a Procrastinator counteract Punctuality? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church, workplace, etc.) when you are a person who is always in a rush, and tardy? 4. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you, when you are hindering others? 5. When have you been filled with Punctuality the most? 6. Can you think of a situation where you failed to be On Time, but, you should have been? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with increased Punctuality? Do you use your schedule to glorify God and help others, or is it just a private matter where you are not concerned with time? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Punctuality into action in a specific instance, such as, how can I make sure I keep my schedule focused on God’s priorities and not just my own? How can I plan things out effectively, being prompt, yet not being bruised when they do not work out? How can I protect myself from the time hog of procrastination? Many people consider Punctuality not worth the effort of study and practice. We live in a time when we are slaves to the urgency of schedules and appointments, where our meetings and outings dictate our use of time, and even our relationships. We over-commit and over-schedule, and do not give it a second glance. Yet, time is important, and our management of time will give others a glimpse of our priorities and character. Remember, God considers punctuality important. Just look up, “at the appointed time,” in a concordance and see how many passages you find where God is concerned with our being on time. We may not see being timely as important, but God does! We are on this earth for such a short amount of time—compared with eternity—and we need to make the most of our time and opportunities. When we are careless with time, we hold others up, and miss valuable opportunities. Our time is a treasure that is given to us, and we are responsible to dish it out, fairly, in a clear and concise way—to the best of our ability, and accordingly to the situation. Suppose you could live your complete lifetime in one day. You are born at 7:00 a.m. and go to bed and die at 11:00 p.m. You have a total of 16 hours and a lifespan equivalent of 80 years. At 10:00 a.m. in the morning, you will be 15; at 12:00 noon, you would be well into your 20s, and at 3:00 p.m. you would be 40,

and half way though your life. When the clock turns 6:00 p.m. you would be 55, and at 8:00 p.m. you would be 65. So, you get the picture. The question is, what are you doing for your day? Do you see how and why time is so important, and something that we should not waste? Yes, we need entertainment, leisure, and to have fun. This character goes hand in hand with being flexible. Actually, we can be a pain to others when we are stingy with our time, and overbearing when we disregard it! Good character is also realizing others will not always have good character, or at the least, good etiquette. Therefore, when others do hold us up, our response is in the realm of the other characters, all synergistically working together. We can arrange our plans around others without being hurt or disappointed. Our purpose is to model Christ-likeness, not to appease our whims, desires, or agenda, or be bruised when others infringe upon us or cause us distress. As the Scriptures indicate, our punctuality is based on who we are in Christ, and nothing else. Still think time is not important? Consider this. The more time you invest with God through the spiritual disciplines, the more you will grow in faith, maturity, and character. The more time you spend with family, the closer you will develop your relationship, and the fewer problems you will have as a parent. When time is misplaced by overloaded schedules or fears, we become absent from life’s precious moments and opportunities, and, as a result, our effectiveness and character will also be absent!

The Character of Flexibility
Is the Character of Flexibility working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character, this Fruit of Flexibility, from God’s most precious Word, by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Flexibility in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better willingness to be Adaptable with my time and resources—without compromising Biblical principles—so I am able to consider and value the role and opinion of others? 3. What blocks Flexibility from working and being exhibited in me? 4. How can I make Flexibility function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Genesis 12; Mark 1:16-18; Matthew 2:7-12; Acts 25:9-12; Philippians 1:23)

Here are negative examples from Scripture (Genesis 19:12-28; 1 Samuel 15: 1-30; Matthew 18:21-35; Luke 10:38-42)

Flexibility is being open to the plans and ideas of others, and willing to be instructed and challenged to change for the better. You have to be willing to bend; if not, your relationship will break. This character will help us see the big picture, how people and events are all interlinked with a sovereign God at the controls. In this way, we can see that our plans and ways are not autonomous; we can trust God, go with His flow, and make the most of opportunities and relationships. Therefore, we will be able to make changes in our plans and ideas to accommodate others, and fit the situation, centered upon Scriptural precepts (Psalms 40:8; Luke 14:27; Colossians 3:1-2; 2 Timothy 2:4; 1 John 2:15-17). Inflexibility, Stubbornness, Arduousness, Conceit, and Self-Importance are all opposites. These traits are steeped in pride and are a heinous sight before our loving and Holy Lord! We see ourselves as the center, the key to the universe— or, at the very least, of what and who is around us. Therefore, we base all of our decisions on our needs and feelings, ignoring others, not seeing the big picture or being accommodating in order to make the right decisions and go in the right directions. Further Questions 1. How would you define Flexibility? Are you an adaptable person? If so, what about when you have already made up your mind, or spent significant time and resources on your idea? 2. What part does Flexibility play in your relationships with church members, friends, coworkers, and family? 3. How does being Conceited counteract Flexibility? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church, workplace, etc.) when you are a person who is inflexible? 4. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you, when you only consider your ideas and plans? 5. When have you been filled with Flexibility the most? 6. Can you think of a situation where you failed to be Adaptable although you should have been? Do you like to complain, or gossip critically, about others? If so, how does this glorify God and exhibit good character? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Flexibility? Do you just give your opinion, or do you listen to others, too?

8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Flexibility into action in a specific instance, such as, how can I be willing to change my ideas or plans to accommodate others? Are there activities I have that interfere with family, friends or God call, if so what do I need to do? How can I be more enthusiastic when others express themselves or when other ideas and plans come up? Flexibility will allow us to see our “delight” in the Lord, not in our plans or schedules. If you want to grow in faith, and in relationships, you have to be willing to stretch your Will so it can accommodate others. Yes, we need to set goals and have the best plans possible for our life’s direction and time management. We do this by gathering all of the essential information, thinking, spending a lot of time in prayer, and seeking godly advice. We also need to think through how it will affect all those in our life now, as well as its consequences in the future. That way, we can take the best course of action. And, when things do not go as planned, we can make course corrections—or even change ships! One of the biggest reasons why businesses fail is because they do not adapt to changes in the market. I do not have a motorcycle because I am way too clumsy, but I still love them. There used to be hundreds of motorcycle manufactures in the US and Great Britain; now there is only one here, and one there. All of those countless motorcycle manufacturers and their business executives made very bad decisions. They ignored foresight and effective planning, and they failed to adapt to changes in customer likes and what the competition was doing. They allowed their pride to steer those companies without the understanding of the prospects and mission they could have had. Meanwhile, the Japanese manufactures grew in number as well as in sales volume. Even when Honda spent millions of dollars developing their flagship “Gold Wing” line a decade or so ago, they quickly redesigned it to fit the needs of the customer, ultimately making a completely different bike out of it. So, The Japanese are making the best and most bikes because they were able and willing to adapt and be flexible (I personally prefer a Harley, though). Because those companies failed to adapt and change to the needs of the public, they no longer exist, and we are left with fewer choices in biking. When Christians fail to be flexible, we, too, will go out of business with our faith and end up with lost connections and possibilities when we could have had relationships and ministry! By being flexible, we are able to see how others can help and challenge us. We can see how everyone in our lives are placed there, by God, for a particular reason. We can see how God works and uses various people to touch our lives, and us to touch theirs. We have to be accommodating, and eliminate pride, so we can make the most of our lives and take the opportunities He gives us with excitement, even when it means our original plans are scrubbed. Perhaps our plans were not carefully thought through, or the timing was wrong, or we did

not take into account how it would affect us or others down the road. Maybe our plans are better, but for the sake of relationships we adjust to others. The result will be better, because relationships are more important than plans. Being stubborn used to be a compliment a couple of generations back that someone was remaining true to their principles and convictions, regardless of the opinion of others. This was in the era when Biblical precepts were more the norm, and the Church had more influence. Now, being stubborn refers to a person who refuses to listen or follow reason or logic. He or she only sees his/her Will and ideas. With this mindset, they bully their way over others, or withdraw from participating in church life or relationships in general, because he/she does not like what is going on. Yes, there is a time to take a moral stand and not be negatively influenced by the ways of the world. However, we still must be salt and light, and the only way to do that is be involved—even when things do not go our way. Our chief purpose in life is to glorify God—not our selves or our ideas— no matter how good they may be! © 2003 R. J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

The Character of Anger
Is the Character of controlled Anger working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character, this Fruit of Anger, from God’s most precious Word, so it is coming from Galatians 5: 22-23 and not Galatians 5:19-21. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Anger, in a righteous way, in my life when I have to? 2. What can I do to develop a better control of my temper, so I value people rather than allowing them to annoy me? 3. What blocks the control of Anger from working and being exhibited in me? 4. How can I control my Anger, so that goodness functions better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Exodus 17: 10-13; 22:22-24; Numbers 22:20f; 31:1; Nehemiah 5:6-7; Matthew 4:1-11; 5:23-26; 21:12-13; Mark 3:5)

Here are negative examples from Scripture (Genesis 4:1-14; 34:13-31; 49:5; Numbers 20:10-12; 1 Samuel 17:28-32; Acts 24:24-26)

Righteous Anger: Can anger be a “character?” Yes, when it is constrained! The Bible tells us that it is OK to be angry, but, not to allow it to cause one to sin! Jesus saw His house of worship and prayer turned into a market, and modeled to us the correct way to channel our hostility in fervent action. Anger can be a solution, or a real problem, depending on how you handle it (Proverbs 14:29, 15:18; 16:32; 29:11; 22; Ecclesiastes 7:9; Matthew 18:15-17; 21:12-13; Romans 1:18; Ephesians 4:25-27; James 1:19-21)! Bitterness, resentment, losing one’s temper, and hostility are the opposites. These become evil, rotten fruits when anger is unhitched from our temper and control. They will harden our hearts, and cause us to become people who do not forgive, filled with resentfulness, contempt, defensiveness, bitterness, pride, critical nature, and withdrawal. They kill, they cause wars and hatred, they destroy relationships, society, and, put an end to our effectiveness in being a reflection of Christ’s character and call. Further Questions 1. How would you define Anger? What is the difference between righteous Anger, and bad Anger? Read Nehemiah 5:6-7; how is Nehemiah righteous in his anger? How can this help you model anger in a right way? 2. What makes you angry? How does your response to anger differ from person to person, or situation? When we know that Anger is caused by disappointments, we can have a better handle on it by placing our focus upon Christ, who never disappoints us! 3. How does losing your temper or, resentment counteract the right use of Anger? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church, workplace, etc.) when you lose your temper? 4. What happens to your church and community, and the opportunities God gives you, when you are controlled by bitterness? 5. When have you been filled with righteous Anger the most, and, why? 6. Can you think of a situation when you failed to handle your temper? What happened? 7. What issue, in your church, would improve with a more effective channeling and/or use of Anger?

8. Think through the steps you need to take to put righteous Anger into action in a specific instance, such as, how can I refuse to allow myself to be overcome with anger, when family and friends push my buttons, or provoke me? What can I do to set up a system to warn me when my anger is starting to override my character? Anger can be a good character, when we have it under control. Anger, in and of itself, is not wrong; it is not a sin if we handle it in the parameters of the Fruit of the Spirit, and Love. If it was wrong, God would be wrong, because, there are over 600 instances in Scripture of God being angry. Jesus Himself would have been a sinner, as well, when He became very angry in the temple. God was Just in His anger. God’s anger is called righteous indignation, having a just cause and reason for it. And, that reason is our sin, and willful disobedience to His perfect love and care. When we get angry, we have to ask if there is a just cause for it; if not, it is dangerous and volatile. It will soon become sin, as we lose our control and our temper. We are called to stay in control of our temper, which the Bible calls to be sober, and under self control! Self control is the governor to our Anger, and these two characters must work in unison, lest we lose the soberness of our temper, as well as eventually losing the other characters. When we have self control, anger can give us the motivation to resolve problems, respond to injustice, get God’s point across, or get our attention, so we move in a better direction. Anger can convict us of sin, and place us back on God's path. Anger can help us get a point across that would not be heard otherwise, as Nehemiah did. When we experience disappointments, frustration, and hurt, we will come face to face with anger, because anger is a response to our circumstances. Thus, when we are let down, we get angry. We have to ask, how do we handle disappointments? If not, we will lose control of our temper, and be representative of the ways of the world and the Devil, not Christ. We will cause destruction to His Church, to His people, and to all those around us! We have to know that people will always disappoint us, which will cause frustration and hurt, period! We cannot expect others to always treat us justly. Where our expectations or hopes are not realized, when we do not get what we want, or attain our goals, there will be anger. Pain and hurt that are inflicted upon us will cause anger. Disappointments create frustrations which lead to hurt. Each one of these is impacting to our emotions, and each one is codependent on the other, as each one will cause the other two to flare up. Each one can quickly tilt our temper into uncontrolled anger. When we are wise to our circumstances, with our eyes upon Him, we can have a better grip on our temper. The key to handling anger is the ability to look past the annoyance, pain, and hurt we experience. Then, we can seek resolve to the issue in the framework of Galatians 5:22-23, and not Galatians 5:19-21. This is done by effective

communication, understanding, and seeking reconciliation. It is to be a time of prayer. When we keep those who “bug” us in prayer, we can have a better control, and response, in good Christ-like character. If we do not handle our response to our circumstances in the right way, and let the pain overwhelm us, controlling our emotions and character, then, we will be unable to embrace healing. Self control will help us develop discipline, so we can handle fear, antagonism, and even disillusionment. If not, we will betray relationships, and how we model our Lord. This will accumulate, increasing the anger, until it builds into bitterness and resentment, totally cutting us off from life, and, even God! None of the other characters will be able to function. Here are some tips for handling anger (Colossians 3:8): 1. Anger is a natural defense reaction we all have, so, be sure you handle it as God calls us to. Resolve it quickly (Ecclesiastes 7:9; Ephesians 4:26)! 2. Anger can help you protect yourself, but, make sure it is not your fuel to rationalize yourself out of your responsibility (1 Samuel 31:4)! 3. It is OK to be angry; it is how you handle it that matters. Try to spend time in prayer, and read the Psalms to calm you down! Go for a walk (do not take a drive!) or exercise to help release your stress. Make sure you are praying for those causing you frustrations (Acts 24:16). 4. Focus on Christ, and His interests, not your own. Place your anger in His management (Philippians 2:4). 5. Focus on the root cause of anger, not the person, or situation (Proverbs 29:11)! 6. Ask yourself, have I analyzed the circumstances correctly, or am I overreacting? As a pastor, I would say that 95% of people overreact! 7. Ask for help from an impartial friend, counselor, or pastor, to help you through it. Make sure you do not aim your anger at them (Matthew 5:23-24)! 8. Ask yourself, why am I angry? Why do I feel this way? What I did I do to spur this on? Why am I threatened? What are my “hot buttons,” the things that cause me to be excessively angry? Will my anger be a benefit, or a hindrance? Am I focused on God, or my expectations and comfort? How will my anger benefit my spiritual growth, my witness, and God’s call in my life? There is a bigger picture and reason to life than what you may be feeling (Proverbs 15:18; 29:22)!

9. Seek what your part is in it, and resolve it. Do not rationalize everything as a personal attack upon you. You will do far better to focus on the problem, not the people, or yourself (Matthew 7:1-5). 10. Perhaps God is using you to confront someone; if so, do it with tact (Proverbs 15:1; Ephesians 4:15-25). 11. Realize that sometimes, there is no outlet for your anger, because, it could hurt someone more than help. However, you can always go to God with it. You can also try to write it down in a journal (Psalm 10:1-18; I Peter 5:6-7)! 12. Do you have un-confessed sin? We all do, so, repent! Un-confessed sin will quickly become rationalized and projected onto others, which will fuel your insecurity and anger (Matthew 7:11; 2 Corinthians 5:7)! 13. Anger can teach us about ourselves, our weaknesses, and areas we need to improve on, as well as how we treat events and people around us. Anger will show real love. The key is being able to honestly look at yourself, at what you need to “put off” and, to “put on”. So, seek Christ, and improve, with His precepts working in you (Proverbs 14:17; 29:11; Ephesians 4:22–24: 1 Peter 4:8)! 14. Anger can spur on Forgiveness, the essential component to healing relationships (Matthew 5:43-46; 6:12; Ephesians 4:32-5:2). 15. Let Scripture guide you in how you handle yourself, not the waves of your emotions (Matthew 18:15; Romans 12:17-21; Colossians 3:16)! 16. You cannot change people; so, keep your focus on the power of Christ, that can change lives and attitudes (Philippians 4:13). 17. Anger is no excuse to lose control of your emotions, or, to put others down. Learn how to react more slowly, and see the situation from a bigger perspective (Proverbs 14:29; Ephesians 4:32; Psalm 4:4; 103: 11-12). 18. Never let anger turn into hatred or bitterness. If you do, you will be far away from God’s will (Proverbs 16:14; Zephaniah 3:8; James 1:19, 20)! 19. People will disappoint you, and, at times, be better than you! Be aware that jealousy, un-forgiveness, and envy will incite your anger. Expect it, and have a plan to handle it (Proverbs 3:31; 6:32-35; 23:17; 27:4). 20. When a bomb is dropped on you, do not hang on to it; let it go, or it will explode! You have to come to a point where you let the anger go. If not, you may repress it to explode at a later, inopportune time, or, it will fester inside you, building into bitterness (Proverbs 10:18).

21. You may not be able to change your situation, but, you can change yourself. Letting Anger go can only happen from a growing and or mature relationship with Christ. You cannot do it alone (Proverbs 29:11; Hebrews 4:12)! 22. How you handle anger is directly related to how you understand your relationship with Christ. This will shape your view of people and events, and build the maturity to handle all that life throws at you. Thus, time spent in His Word and in prayer will shape you greatly, and make you one who behaves as a wise person, and not the fool of Proverbs fame. If you want to change your feelings, then you need to change your thinking (Romans 12:2)! 23. A lot of times we become angry because we are selfish, or have skewed ideas or expectations of God. His concern is our growth and maturity, not our wealth or comfort. When we change our thinking, we will change our feelings (Romans 12; 2 Corinthians 5:16-19)! 24. Learn to trust and have confidence in God, and not in your situation. Our security is in Christ, and nothing else (Psalm 23:4; 27:1-14; Proverbs 1:7; 3:310; Hebrews 11:6; James 1:17)! 25. Remember this important point; God uses people and circumstances to improve your character. So, make the most of your harsh circumstances, and surrender yourselves to Christ as Lord (Galatians 2:20-21; 5:16; 1 Peter 4:1216)! © 2003 R. J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

The Character of Virtue
Is the Character of Virtue working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character, the fruit of Virtue, from God’s most precious Word, by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Virtue in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better willingness to be Virtuous toward others? 3. What blocks Virtue from working, and being exhibited in me?

4. How can I make Virtue function better, stronger, and more quickly, even in times of uncertainly and stress? • • Here are positive examples from Scripture: Dan. 1:8; Prov. 31:10-31; Matt. 25: 14-17; Acts 6:8; 1 Tim. 5:2. Here are negative examples from Scripture: 1 Sam. 24:1-15; Prov. 25:28; Matt. 25: 18; 18:21-35; 1 Tim. 5:8.

Virtue (Psalm 103:17;131; Prov. 8:13; Col. 3:12-17; Phil. 2:14-18; 4:8; 1Timothy 4:12; 5:22; Tit.1:15; Heb.10:5-10; 2 Peter 1:3-5; 2:9) is the application of being good from both the conscious will to do what is right and from personal responsibility. It is typically considered as moral goodness, right standards, strength and courage, and modesty and purity—all done in excellence. This is very true, but Colossians makes the definition even more lucid: “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience,” then says they are put together with forgiveness and love, and that they operate in the parameters of peace and wisdom. Wisdom and peace promote Virtue and love, and forgiveness demonstrates this Virtue that we all need to have. Vice, Dishonesty, Disinterest, Immorality, and Evilness are the opposites. These types of rotten characters prevent people from seeing what God wants them to see in you! Being dishonest or caving into sin may be the common approach we see in our society, but these things will tear your life down and remove goodness from you, then neuter your effective use in the lives of others. We cannot model Virtue when our character is not pointing people to Him. In leadership, it will destroy the Church. Rotten leadership is more destructive than a legion of demons as it corrupts godly principles and displays a skewed understanding of our call to follow Christ. Vise seeks its own and not the Lord. Further Questions 1. How would you define Virtue? Are you a Virtuous person? If so, what about in situations that may seem gray? 2. What part does Virtue play in your relationships with church members, friends, co-workers, and family? Have you encouraged people whom you know or work with to consider morality by your personal example (not just words)? 3. How does being dishonest counteract Christian ethics? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church family, co-workers, etc.) when you are a person who is focused on Vice? What about the “little white lie?” 4. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you, when you swear, tell little lies, or tell dirty jokes?

5. When have you been filled with Virtue the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to be good when you should have? 7. Read Daniel's prayer in Daniel 9:3-19. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Virtue? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Virtue into action in a specific instance. Ask yourself, where is Virtue not functioning properly in my attitudes and what can I do about it? How can I monitor myself so those little white lies do not come out? What can I do to be prepared to stand up for Christian principles? How will I handle sexual temptations, peer pressure, or refusal to listen to or participate in gossip while trying to live by God’s standards? A lack of Virtue can be the result of “spiritual warfare.” Ask God to reclaim any ground that Satan has taken over, and then tear down that stronghold (what has been given to Satan that belongs to God). We acquire Virtue by our faith, our obedience to Christ, being persistent in Him, and clothing ourselves in Him. Virtue functions when we are focusing our thoughts and feelings on Christ and we exercise appropriate actions that are in line with God’s precepts. It is not forcing ethics upon others—especially your spouse; rather, it is exhibiting a lifestyle so that others can understand it and desire it, too. We obtain Virtue from holding onto the call and teachings of our Lord. This leads us to a higher level where few people desire to go, but where, as Christians, we must go! It is the effectiveness of our beliefs in actions that are good. If your relationship with God is not growing, then your Virtue is not working! What about when you are faced with a dilemma or a situation that begs the questions, what should I do? How should I behave? This is the age old philosophical problem of ethics (the practice of Virtue). Ethics is the "moral principles" or the code of conduct that tells us what to do. Ethics and values enable us to pursue and model the ideals in which we believe. To build our society and Church on compassion, honesty, prudence, courage, generosity, integrity, fairness, fidelity, and self-control is essential for Church and societal success. These are all examples of Virtues that create an atmosphere of kindness and cooperation. Such things benefit not only the person giving them, but all those around them. In fact, ethics and Virtue are more of a benefit to others than they are to us! They are the unselfish work of the Christian. Philosophers long ago—from the classic Greeks, Aristotle and Plato, to modern theorists—realized the importance of ethics. Without it, society unwinds, becomes corrupt and rowdy, and, then, soon fails. Jesus Himself stated the importance of ethics by saying, so in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets (Matt. 7:12).

Immanuel Kant said, "Everyone is obligated to act only in ways that respect the human dignity and moral rights of all persons." Basically, philosophers and Jesus —the greatest philosopher—are saying, I need to treat others as I would want them to treat me, and everyone must be obliged to do whatever will achieve the greatest good for the greatest number. In so doing, society, business, and even the Church will flourish! Many people today will do all they can to skirt these principles and forsake personal responsibility. And, they seem to get away with it—from politicians to business leaders—until they are caught and/or it negatively affects another person or group. The American utility giant, Enron, flourished in their bankrupt ethics and made billions of dollars until it un-winded and went financially bankrupt. Then people cried, foul. As Christians, we must not wait. When our lives or situations unwind negatively, we must always strive to first do what is right! Christian ethics is Virtue; it is the standard of moral conduct that we, as Christians, model to our families and others around us. It is learning God’s ways and being obedient; then, we uphold them by our example. Being Virtuous means we are doing what is right. It is always doing what is right, even when no one else seems to be doing it. It is not about what others are doing or saying; it is about our relationship to Christ and our responsibility to be the example He has called us to be—regardless of others, our culture, or our situation. When we start to compromise, saying, everyone else is doing it, then, we are doing wrong! This is not Christian, nor is it ethical! Virtue is the display monitor to the computer of your spiritual growth and attitude. Your conduct will display what is really in your heart. You may be able to fake it for awhile, but the monitor will refresh by the situations you are in and it will display the rottenness within you—the rottenness we all have—which is our sinful nature. We can only keep our display showing God’s goodness by allowing the Spirit to infuse, dominate, and control our lives. If not, the vices of life will knock on our door, and we will then open that door because Virtue is absent from our mindset—or, at least, it is tied up by our wishes and desires. Our desire must be for God and nothing else; then Virtue will spring from the depths of His living water within us (John 4:10)! When Virtue is functioning in us properly, we will be making a difference in the lives of others so they may want it, too. It will show them that their life, society, and church can be better by being good. It will shine to the work of the Spirit and the Spirit will use your life as an example to others. We will be then teaching His precepts—not by our words, but by our example—to our friends, coworkers, children, and church. They will see us making wise choices in life and then, perhaps, they will commit themselves to obeying God’s Word. When you obey, you are trusting; then the God-honoring principles will dispense from you. You will be able to hold to His moral standards and be on guard against

destructive influences and behaviors. Virtue is more paramount than what career we should pursue, what major to sign up for, who we should date or marry, or what color socks we should put on. The perfection of knowing God’s will is to follow God’s character. Consistency must be our hallmark because Virtue is not something we do occasionally. Virtue is not meant for only one certain place or time, such as at church. It is not supposed to be put on hold when it inconveniences us or someone else, such as at our work or in our desire for wealth. Virtue is a lifestyle that follows us wherever we go, and with whomever we associate. It is character “oozing” out of us. Integrity is the trademark that produces honesty, truthfulness, faithfulness, authenticity, substance, and reliability, which translates into our moral fiber. For more information and help see (Whatever happened to Virtue?) © 2003 R. J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

The Character of Discipline
Is the Character of Discipline working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and Fruit of Discipline from God’s most precious Word, by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Discipline in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better willingness to be disciplined in my faith development and learning? 3. What blocks Discipline from working and being exhibited in me? 4. How can I make Discipline function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? • Here are positive examples from Scripture: Prov. 22:6; 1 Cor. 14:26-28, 40; 2 Cor. 7:8-10; 12:7-10.

Here are negative examples from Scripture: 2 Kings. 20:12- 19; Prov. 5:12; 15:10; 25:28; Matt. 18:21-35; 1 Cor. 5:1-5.

Discipline allows us to be corrected by God so we can learn and grow and not become conceited or go astray. It lets us learn from our mistakes yet combines self control with determination in order to give us confidence. It is literally throwing off what hinders us so we can be more firm and orderly in the faith. It gives us understanding of what we are not to follow or do, such as myths and desires, and then keeps us from doing it. It is holding onto self control while we learn and grow even through hardships and sufferings. It is not allowing ourselves to be distracted, no matter what, so we can line ourselves up with His goals from His precepts and excelling onward to His glory (Prov. 10:17; 1 Cor. 9:24-27; Col. 2:4-5; 1 Tim. 4:6-8; 2 Tim. 1:7; Heb. 12:1-13). Undisciplined, Disorder, Decadence, and Hedonism are the opposites. These traits will prevent you from listening to correction so you will give into doubt and fear or look to lust to rule your mindset. These types tend to influence leadership and may be the common approach, so it seems, to life and rule, but they will tear down and even destroy the Church. Because we will refuse correction, we will not learn from our mistakes. This is a form of Hedonism, exchanging truth for a lie for the sake of pleasure as it seeks its own and not the Word. We will become the “fool” of Proverbs’ fame and never learn from our mistakes. Further Questions 1. How would you define Discipline? Are you a disciplined person? If so, what about things that can distract you? 2. What part does Discipline play in your personal growth and devotional time with the Lord? 3. How does being Decadent counteract Discipline? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church family, co-workers, etc.) when you are a person who is easily distracted or swayed from truth? 4. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you when you refuse to listen to correction? 5. When have you been disciplined the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to be disciplined when you should have been? What happened? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Discipline? How would your faith grow?

8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Discipline into action in a specific instance such as, how can I remain steadfast with my Bible reading when other things and thoughts seem to be occupying my mind? How can I be more open to listen to God’s correction and not allow my pride to block His call for me? Where is Church Discipline not functioning properly in my church and what can I do about it? Discipline is different from self control because it is allowing ourselves to be corrected by God, and this correction is what hones us. It helps us learn from our mistakes and grow in our faith and obedience. This gives us a “heads up” to what may lie ahead in life so we can control ourselves and think through our situation as well as its resulting actions and consequences. The Spirit will give us the warning; we have to be willing to listen. When we do fail, God, through His Spirit and Word, will give us grace and He will still instruct us; it is up to us to listen! He prepares the path. We must walk on that path by faith and not allow ourselves to be distracted. We will then be able to reject our wrong desires and, instead, do what is right. Discipline is essential to help us remain obedient and trustful of our Lord. Without it, it is very hard (if not impossible) to keep our lives and mindset on the path God has for us. How do we remain on His path? By keeping our eyes on Jesus! When our eyes are on His desires, we can maintain a well ordered life and be consistent in our devotions, character, and growth. We will see the value of discipleship and training to help keep us on track. We will know that the Christian life cannot be done on sheer determination alone, but by also relying on faith and others sharpening us. It is what Paul is saying in 1 Timothy, to train yourself to be godly; this means to exercise godliness as an athlete prepares for a race (1 Tim. 4:7). This gives us the perseverance, from the building up of our faith, to run the race. We gain more discipline by being open and willing to allow the Father to disciple us by disciplining us, because God disciplines us for our good (Heb 12:10). It strengthens us for all eternity! We will be able to not only detect the wrong desires, but be able to thwart them away. Is Discipline important for the Church? If the Church decides to no longer discipline her members, they will go astray. I do not mean to chastise, belittle, manipulate, or cause some form of spiritual abuse; rather, to enforce a set of rules in the parameters of the Fruits of the Spirit that insures compliance to Church standards. Such as, if a leader cheats on his spouse, he must step down and a system of care, discipleship, and restitution must be exercised. If not, the person will get away with it, and the people will observe that values are no longer upheld and thus must not be important. If a person gossips, he or she needs to be lovingly told not to, and encouraged to communicate in a more positive means. If the person continues to gossip, he or she needs to be disciplined because of the heinous nature and distortion it causes. If the person is not disciplined, then the sin continues, becomes cancerous, and rots the church.

Without discipline, your anger, fear, doubt, and guilt will betray you and lead you and your society to ruin! In modern society, we are now seeing the quest to fulfill sinful desires with the connection of it being a “right.” Homosexuality, gay marriage, even pedophilia are being rallied by groups that say this is OK and we have the right to pursue them. Real, godly rights will never cause others harm or stray from His precepts. If they do, they are not godly rights but personal desires which we may think are rights, but, they are not! How can you do this? Do not allow your curiosity and weakness to get the best of you. You can use Discipline to help set up your own boundary limits in dating, for example; stop one step above where you may sin. This may mean not to touch in the bathing suit areas, or to hold off on kissing until you are engaged. This draws the line to stop, a line of demarcation that helps prevent you from slipping away to touch those areas that lead to sexual activity. God desires us to control our desires so we will desire Him (Psalm 37:4). He will speak; we must listen to His correction. Be willing to ask our Lord to help you and think through your situation and the resulting possibilities so you can make the right decisions. When you feel like acting impulsively, stop and pray. © 2004 R. J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

The Character of Persuasiveness
Is the Character of Persuasiveness working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and Fruit of Persuasiveness from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Persuasiveness in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better willingness to be more Persuasive with my faith towards others? 3. What blocks Persuasiveness from working and being exhibited in me? 4. How can I make Persuasiveness function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? • Here are positive examples from Scripture: 1 Sam. 26:19; Matthew 27:19; Acts 5:33-39; 13:43; 14:19; 18:4; 19:35-41; 2 Cor. 1:8-12; 2 Tim. 4:17.

Here are negative examples from Scripture: Deut. 13:6; Matthew 27:20, 43; Luke 11:22; Acts 5:40; 12: 18-23; 18:12-13; 19: 23-31.

Persuasiveness advocates God's Word to others with confidence so they can be changed in their thinking and can conform to His will. It is having confidence in God so we trust Him to use us to deliver His message. Then, we can do this with encouragement instead of being insensitive or pushy. This character will also allow us to ride out the tough times of life and difficult situations and see God’s grace and love in them. It will allow us to stick to His precepts, as well as our friends and family, with honest endeavor. We will be able to give godly, Biblebased feedback with Christ-like temperament (2 Chron. 32:1-8; Esther 7; Luke 16:22-31;18:9; Acts 19:8-10; 26:19-23; Rom. 15:14-16; Phil. 1:6; 12-14, 25; 2 Tim. 2:25). Ambiguity, Pushiness, apprehension, and anxiety are the opposites. When we lack the confidence that our God is great and that He is empowering us, we will be weak and cave into the will of others instead of being surrendered to His will. We will not be able to effectively exhibit His Word in our lives by example or by words. We will be subject to anxiety and trepidation and our fears will empower us—not His Spirit. It is also contrary to be pushy for our will and not point to His will!

Further Questions
1. How would you define Persuasiveness? Are you a person who is confident in the Lord? If so, what about in situations that may be scary such as in witnessing? 2. What part does Persuasiveness play in your relationships with church members, friends, coworkers and family? If someone disagrees with you, how do you respond? How is your response compared to God’s call? 3. How does being fearful counteract Persuasiveness? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church family, co-workers, etc.) when you are more concerned about proving your point than about modeling Jesus? 4. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you when you do not consider it important to influence others to have faith in Christ? 5. When have you been filled with Persuasiveness the most?

6. In what situation did you fail to give a good argument or example when you should have? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Persuasiveness? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Persuasiveness into action in a specific instance. Such as, what can you do to reduce your fear so you can be better at persuading someone about the Truth of Christ? Where is Persuasiveness not functioning properly in your personal life or church? What about your willingness to encourage other Christians or to correct someone, in love, when they stray into sin? The business world would like us to see Persuasiveness as the strength of the argument, as seeking what we can gain if we do it and what we will lose if we do not, and then persuade someone toward it. However, as a Christian, we need to see what we have gained in Christ—the power of His Spirit and the wonders we have in Him. We have already gained; we have nothing to lose. Thus, we should not fear to tell someone about our Lord, and not fear to correct our child when he or she starts to stray. We are not persuading someone just to get our view across; rather, we persuade to show others Christ crucified and the power He has for us. It is about drawing attention to Christ, character, and what is right —not what we think or our limited, personal views. Persuasiveness helps us take what we have learned and what has helped us grow and impart it to others. It is pointing others in the right direction—that of God’s precepts. It is taking the vital truths of our Lord and presenting them in such a way that they are clear, understandable, and contagious. We do this by our commitment to Jesus and our conviction of faith so that others see Him at work because they see Him working in our lives. It is not being forceful or pushy or yelling or exhibiting a strong will so we bully someone into our way of thinking. Rather, it is operating, as all the characters are, in the parameter of the Fruits of the Spirit. It is making sure that we are right by looking into the Word, not our will, and so we persuade by the leading of His Spirit using good arguments and sound reasoning—with love and care. Our confidence for this comes from our faith—not our will. It is also listening to others to discover where they are coming from so we can meet their needs and help them tear down their own mental barriers to faith. Being Persuasive with God’s truth will be honed from God’s character and precepts. Thus, we will never lie or stretch the truth to make our argument more appealing. We will be aware of good timing and what is appropriate to say, how to say it, and when not to say it. It is honoring others while appealing to their conscience and reasoning to see our point. Paul, in 2 Timothy, tells us to be Persuasive humbly. Even when people come against us in harsh ways, we do not respond in a harsh way; we are to tell—gently! We are to tell people the Truth

gently, and then point them to the hope we have in Christ. The Spirit will help lead them to repentance, while we instruct with His knowledge (2 Tim. 2:25). Paul is also saying not to give up; we are never to assume a person is lost, because they are in God’s hands not ours. We are called to deliver the message in the best way we can, not worry about the result, because that is in His control. Persuasiveness is leading others to the Truth with His truth from His Word in His character! In this way, we are helping people change their hearts and minds from their faulty thinking to His Way of thinking and life. It is being conformed in our thinking to His. We must have this thinking ourselves before we can expect others to have it (Rom. 12:1-2). The best means of providing evidence for the truth of Christianity is not rooted in the skill of our argument; rather, it is in the love of the person presenting the argument! It is the development of our faith in Him that points to the Truth! We have to have a life and faith that is revitalized! Our revitalized life will be the quintessential work we do to make His precepts known to others. We do this by seeing Jesus, hearing His call, and following Him by learning His precepts. Remember, your life, and how you live it, is the greatest persuasive power you can have on someone (Eph. 4:2; 5:9; Col. 3:12-15)! "The most persuasive sermon is the example which leads the way.” (Spurgeon) © 2004 R. J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

The Character of Appreciation
Is the Character of Appreciation working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Appreciation from God’s most precious Word, by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Appreciation in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better willingness to show Appreciation toward others? 3. What blocks Appreciation from working and being exhibited in me? 4. How can I make Appreciation function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress?

• •

Here are positive examples from Scripture: 1 Chron. 29:6-9; The Book of Ruth; Acts 9; Luke 17:12-20; Rom. 9:30-10:4; Eph. 3:7-13. Here are negative examples from Scripture: Gen. 25:29-34; 2 Sam. 6:16; 19:5-7; Esther 6; Jer. 18:18-20; Luke 17:12-20.

Appreciation is having admiration for others and communicating your approval to them! It is taking the time to make people feel welcome and special by using the fruit of God’s work in you to encourage and uplift others. It is a form of valuing others; this takes the focus off you and places it on God’s purpose and direction. It is fueled from our heartfelt thanks to God for what we have, for what He has done, and is a lifestyle of worship and adoration. This allows us to give to, and value others with respect and honor (Rom. 12:10; 1 Thess. 5: 12-18; 1 Tim. 5:17; 6:1; 1 Pet. 2:17; Heb. 12:28-29). Insensitivity, Disrespect, Callousness, and Disapproval are the opposites. Pride will not allow you to be appreciative of others, because all you will think of is yourself. You will not be concerned with how others have contributed or supported, or their value and significance. It is thinking I achieved something totally on my own, when it was actually God, along with others working in and with you. Pride causes hurt to others, cuts off relationships and growth, and points only to self, and elevating you to a position to which you are neither called nor worthy. It distracts others from true Christianity and service to our Lord. Further Questions 1. How would you define Appreciation? Are you a person who naturally lets people know they are worthy? If so, what happens when others are not appreciative of you? 2. What part does Appreciation play in your relationships with church members, friends, coworkers, and family? Have you thanked people you know or with whom you work by your words as well as your personal example? 3. How does being Insensitive counteract Appreciation? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church family, co-workers, etc.) when you are a person who is focused on Pride? 4. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you when you neglect to be thankful and appreciative? 5. When have you been filled with Appreciation the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to thank someone when you should have?

7. Read Esther, chapter six. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Appreciation? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Appreciation into action in a specific instance. Such as, where is Appreciation not functioning properly in your attitudes with friends, church folks, family, and co-workers, and what can you do about it? How many people can you think of whom you have helped or who have helped you in the last few months? How many did you actually thank? What are you going to do about it now? How can you be more sensitive to others so you can be better at letting them know they are worthy and appreciated? Appreciation differs from gratitude because gratitude is a response for what someone has done for us—such as, God’s grace. A gift is given, and we say “thank you” in word and deed. Appreciation is honoring others while also being grateful for what we have. It is being thankful and glad for other people, friends, family, and co-workers. This character will enable us to see the right time and place to give a kind word, and when someone is at a critical stage and needs a friend. The world is full of discouraging people who live to put others down; very few people live to build others up. We are too preoccupied with ourselves and our circumstances to see and value others. However, these Scriptures point out how valuable it is to God that we do take the time to honor others. That kind word at the right time can lead a person out of a depression, out of a bad thinking situation, even out of suicide. Your kind gestures set a tone for healthy relationships and point others to Christ. Appreciation is needed more than personal dignity. We are culturally consumed with gaining respect for ourselves, while God is more interested in how we treat others. We are not to focus on personal dignity as David’s wife Michael did; rather, we are to focus on honoring God so we can also honor others, as David did. It is seeing others as worthy, as teammates in life, and as co-laborers in the Lord. The application of Appreciation is what is called “brotherhood.” This is purposefully expressing love to others. It goes against our sinful nature that only desires to seek its own. Because we fear God (Prov. 3:5) we can let the Spirit hone us to His precepts even when they go against culture and what our friends are doing. It may not be cool to say “thank you,” but we are called to say it anyway, and say it with genuine sincerity. First, Timothy teaches that we blaspheme God when we do not honor one another. Did you realize that? It may seem trivial to give Appreciation, but to God, it is very significant and can be the quintessential way God uses us to lead another person to Christ. What we do is more important than what we say! How can we be appreciative people? We can do so by voicing sincere compliments, taking the time to write a note, celebrating victories, and honestly

showing our delight so others feel special. As a Christian, you have the Creator and King of the universe indwelling in you. His delight for you is secure, thus you are called to shine His Light so others may feel the light of delight. You are called to care so they can see the hope of the Eternal God. Appreciation also helps us realize what we have, and to be grateful for the relationships, opportunities, and blessings He gives. Appreciation helps us accept the difficulties and trials of life as part of God’s loving provision and care that leads to our learning and growth for a greater good and maturity (James 1:2-8). We need to know what success really is, and that it is not determined by what we do or what we have. Rather, it is determined by how we follow God's precepts and interact with others using them. Appreciation is essential for showing God’ love and it is proof of His Fruit coming from you! Let us allow our value of others to appreciate in depth and quality! Additional Scriptures on being thankful: Chron. 16:8; Psalm 100:4; Eph. 5:20; Philip. 4:6; Col. 3:17 © 2004 R. J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

The Character of Listening
Is the Character of Listening working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Listening from God’s most precious Word, by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Listening in my daily life?

2. What can I do to develop a better willingness for Listening to others? 3. What blocks Listening from working and being exhibited in me?

4. How can I make Listening function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? • Here are positive examples from Scripture: Jos. 22:5; Prov. 13:3; Mal. 3:16; Matt. 7:24-27; Mark 3:7-8; John 10:3-4; 27, Phil. 2:14-18.

Here are negative examples from Scripture: Ezek. 12:2; Zech. 7:11-14; Rom. 11:25; John 8:43-47; 10:20; 12:37-38; Acts 13:44-50.

Listening means to pay attention, to close our mouths and open our ears to hear God and others. It is also the act of applying God’s Word into our lives! When we listen, we open our minds and hearts to the Truth of our Lord. We will also hear what godly people are saying to sharpen us and know when there is error. It is the person who listens who exhibits good character and godliness. This moves us into the act of actually applying our Christianity, to being doers of the Word (Prov. 28:13-14; Mark 3:7-8; John 8:47; Rom. 12:15; Col. 3:12; James 1:2-27; 1 John 1:8-9). Wander, Disregard, Disrespect, and Contempt are the opposites. If we are reluctant to listen, then we are also reluctant to learn and grow. Listening is an extremely important tool necessary for life, faith, and trials. When we do not listen, we will transition to distrust of others and God, be filled with anger and/or pride, and then be unable to learn in life or grow through trials that are essential in the ecology of our faith and maturity development. Further Questions 1. How would you define Listening? Are you a person who naturally listens to others? Why, or why not? 2. What part does Listening play in your relationships with church members, friends, co-workers, and family? Have you taken the time to be a person who shows real care by opening your heart and ears to others? 3. How does “wandering” in your mind counteract Listening? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church family, co-workers, etc.) when you are a person who is focused on only what you have to say? 4. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you when you neglect to be doers of the Word? 5. When have you been filled with Listening the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to Listen to someone when you should have? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Listening? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Listening into action in a specific instance. Such as, where is Listening not functioning properly in your attitudes with friends, church folks, family, and co-workers? What can you do

about it? What causes your mind to wander and what can you do about it? What are you going to do about becoming a better listener now? There is an old story about a student who comes to the great philosopher, Socrates, to be discipled by him. When this young student came to Socrates, he kept talking and talking and talking, so that Socrates could not get a word in edgewise. Socrates had to put his hand over the student’s mouth and say “I am going to have to charge you twice.” The student asked “Why?” Socrates said, “In order to make you a great leader, I will have to teach you two disciplines. First, you need to learn how to hold your tongue before you can learn the second discipline. And secondly, you will need to learn how to use your tongue correctly.” Greek philosophy put a very high premium on elegant speech, and Socrates was the best of them all. But, he knew very well you could not speak until you could listen. Listening combines the characters of Attentiveness that recognizes the value of others (Prov. 12:15; Mark 4:21-25; 16:24; Hebrews 2:1), and the character of Communicating that gives to others our respect, courtesy, and total concentration (Proverbs 27:9; 1 Tim. 4:12). Both of these characters, together with listening, are God’s call upon us to respond to others. But, Listening goes beyond these as it is a skill that we further develop. It is also the quintessential skill we need in order to be doers of His Word, and to apply His precepts into our lives; it also helps build the lives of others. Is your faith weak? Are you listening to God? The first job of a Christian who wants to grow in his or her faith formation is listening. Effective listening is essential to growing in faith or building a friendship! This must transpire so we can be “doers of the word, not hearers only” (James 1:22). How we choose to listen and lead our life will prove if we belong to God or are living just for ourselves (Luke 8:21). Why is this so important? Because; each of us has a deep need to be heard, whether we admit it or not. It can be a casual conversation or a deep therapy session; if you feel that the other person is not listening, then you feel they do not care about you. Being listened to is a lot like being loved; so, we must take this matter seriously and grow in this skill. Listening is not just hearing; it is actively participating in a conversation with your full attention, and putting your own response on hold. Listening is something we all can do and are called to do, even if we are deaf. Listening is a natural ability and a skill that can be improved on; all its takes is the will to turn it on and let it work. We can also learn techniques to improve our abilities. Listening is the quintessence of effective relationships. Combined with love, kindness, and character, listening becomes the synergy to make us a winner in relationships, to be real and effectual, and to be better used by God. Listening people are the girders that connect and strengthen relationships. Relationships, as well as spiritual growth, are built on listening, both to God’s

Word and to one another. The mature Christian cannot grow in maturity unless he or she listens to God’s Word. Are your relationships becoming stagnant? Then, you need to look for the reason. Are you listening to your friends (the ones who have something good to say)? Until each of us listens, nothing productive will happen. People need to be heard; the one who listens earns the right to be heard and resolve the issue. Make sure others know you are listening by giving eye contact, leaning forward, and being relaxed. Restate to clarify what you heard with as few words as possible, saying, this is what I heard... Be open and say, “I am confused; let me try to restate what I think you said.” Or, “You have said so much; let me see if I have heard it all.” Be the person who listens! The lack of listening and an abundance of anger (especially when it is out of control) will create a very negative atmosphere for the Christian and the Church. "If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success." (Eccl. 10:10) © 2004 R. J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

The Character of Childlike Faith
Is the Character of Childlike Faith working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Childlike Faith from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit Childlike Faith in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better attitude of Childlike Faith? 3. What blocks Childlike Faith from working and being exhibited in me? 4. How can I make Faith function better, stronger and faster even in times of uncertainly and stress? • Here are positive examples from Scripture (Gen. 22:1-18; Mark. 9:20-25; Acts 14: 26-27; Gal. 1:13-17; Phil. 4:8-9; Heb. 11:17-19)

Here are negative examples from Scripture (Gen. 18:10-15; Duet. 31:51-52; Psalm 10:4; Isa. 2:6; John 12:37-41)

Childlike Faith is the wonder and awe at what Christ did for us. It is a synergy of trust, hope, and unpretentiousness that knows the Lord loves us and will lead us. Because of our trust in the Lord, we are more able to take comfort in Him. Childlike faith sees the world as exciting and adventurous, and worth pursuing with our faith so opportunities to please God override our complacency and the attitude of “been there, done that,” even though we may have. It is a part of us that we should never lose. It enables us to maintain our humbleness and enthusiasm and not become just a subculture or routine! We are not to act like children towards others, but our faith and example must be authentic (Psalm 23; 131; Matt. 18:2-4; 34; John 10:1-18; 1 Cor. 1:22-30; James 2:14-19; Heb. 11:1). Lack of Confidence, Apprehension, Complacency, and Timidity are the opposites. These bad characters will seize us with fear and cause us to blame others for our lack of trust as we become self-focused and distrusting. It is being childlike without the trust in Christ. We will fail to see the wonders in the opportunities, relationships, and gifts God has for us, as animosity becomes our defense from our fortress of timidity and excuses. Or, we will just become satisfied with what we have already done and never step up and strive for more ways to please God. Further Questions 1. How would you define Childlike Faith? Are you a person who is trusting and unpretentious? If so, what about in situations that would cause you to boast? 2. What part does Childlike Faith play in your relationships with church members, friends, co-workers and family? Have you lost out on opportunities because you have been timid with your faith, or lacked that wonder, causing you to become complacent? 3. How does a lack of confidence in Christ impact Childlike Faith? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church family, co-workers, etc.) when you are a person who is focused on your fears? 4. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you when you fail to seize the opportunities Christ has for you? 5. When have you been filled with Childlike Faith the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to be wondrous with your faith when you should have?

7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Childlike Faith? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Childlike Faith into action in a specific instance, such as, where is Childlike Faith not functioning properly in my attitudes and what can I do about it? Christ asks us to be the good child. What does that mean to you? What would it be like if most of the people in your church were operating under this parameter? What steps can you take to do a better job at enjoying your relationship to Christ? In Matthew 18, Jesus points out that faith is a responsibility. Childlike faith is not so much a character as it is the essence of what we do and what we bring to everything we strive for in the Christian life. Further, it means trusting, being humble, and not forcing your will upon others as the disciples were doing. This is not about innocence, but rather dependence. Children are dependent on us for their quality of life and the substance we provide. For us, this means we are to be dependent on Him and allow His empowerment to fill us. Do we become good examples and point to the Way, or do we cause others to stumble because of our misdirected ways? Because children are dependent, they must have faith that they will be taken care of. This is a perfect illustration of how we are to have trust and faith in our Lord. Jesus sees the value of faith as paramount over anything else; faith is lifted up as the most important thing we have or do. Yet, all too often, we do not seek faith, but rather just what we can get. Jesus asks us to be the good child. A good child accepts his or her responsibility to the family to learn and grow. A child of God expresses humbleness and trust so he or she will be able to grow in faith and maturity (Psalm 130 and 131). Being childlike in faith and wonder is how we are to grow in our relationship to Christ. Being child-like, as in quarreling and running away, is not. A child is also to enjoy his or her childhood, as we are to enjoy our relationship to Christ. A spoiled child will not learn and grow in maturity as he or she should, and can even become a hindrance to others, just as Christians who refuse to grow in their faith can be. They bring a bad reputation to their church and to our Lord. We are not to aspire to human greatness, but, rather, godliness. We are to evaluate who and where we are by His standards, not the world’s. Give God the room to work in you and others. Refusing to see His call, not loving others, and being full of pride are terrible things—not just for you, but also for those around you. This can and will distort our thinking and direct our actions toward the wrong objective. Childlike faith encourages humility and helps us realize who we are in Christ. Without humility, we cannot come to the Lord, because we will never admit our need, surrender our will, or be able to grow in faith. We will not be able to serve others because we will think they are unworthy, just as the people did toward that soldier’s servant in Matthew 8:5-13.

Faith is the foundation upon which we build our character; it supports the house where the Spirit can dwell and empower us. This is a fruit of the Spirit given to us as we grow and mature. It comes from being "conformed to the image of His Son." (Romans 8:29) Faith and our trust in Christ will be the quintessential aspects of applying obedience and growth in our maturity and character.

© 2004 R. J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

The Character of Purpose
Is the Character of Purpose working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Purpose from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 5. How do I exhibit Purpose in my daily life? 6. What can I do to develop a better attitude of Purpose? 7. What can block Purpose from operating from my life? 8. How can I make Purpose function better, stronger and faster even in times of uncertainly and stress? • • Here are positive examples from Scripture: Ex. 9:13-19; 2 Kings 13:4; 2 Chron. 26: 3-5; Eph. 6:21-22; and Col. 2:1-5. Here are negative examples from Scripture: 2 Chron. 22:1-12; Isa. 10:5-7; Luke 7:29-30; and Acts 5:33-39.

Purpose means knowing who we are in Christ and what He has done for us, then acting out our relationship and redemption by being obedient to God’s will. It is the pursuit of God so He becomes the driving force, inspiration, motivation, and reason for all we do in life. That is, we devote our life, character, virtue, Spiritual Gifts, abilities, and call so the best can be realized in all people and all situations. The meaning of life is not about career, money, or power; it is about relationships and developing character. These are the only real things you can take with you to Heaven (Psalm 57; 138:7-8; Prov. 19:21; John 15; Romans 8; Phil. 2:1-18).

Apathy, Meaningless Pursuits, Idleness, and a Lack of Direction in Life are the opposites. Running from the call of our Lord will only leave us bankrupt and destitute spiritually as well as leaving us with no meaning in life. When we seek to fill our life with meaningless pursuits instead of seeking God, especially as Christians, it will cause major stress and trouble in every aspect of our relationships, career, and life in general. Judas was not willing to abide; thus when his time came, he failed. His purpose became self-focused rather than Christ-focused, causing him to betray his Lord. So, he fell away. Further Questions 1. How would you define Purpose? 2. Are you devoted to yourself or to God? Are you a person who has direction, goals, and ambitions in life? If so, do they match up with God’s precepts? If not, why? 3. How do Meaningless Pursuits or Apathy counteract Purpose? 4. What happens to our relationship with God and with others when we are indecisive or idle with others, refusing to make goals or have a direction in life? 5. When have you been filled with Purpose the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to be Purposeful when you should have? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Purpose? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Purpose into action in a specific instance. What is the most powerful influence in your life? How does this affect you? How is God working to change your purpose to His? What needs to take place for this to happen? What do you need to do to feel confident in remaining in His truth and not feel the pressure to follow what the crowds have to say? Purpose in Scripture is usually stated as seeking after God or after God’s heart. This is not about salvation, because in salvation, it is God who seeks us. Rather, Purpose is our determination to place Him first in our lives and allow Him to lead (2 Tim. 1:8-12). As you can see from the Scriptures, Paul was a man of purpose, a man on a mission from God. He knew who he was in Christ and he knew in what direction God was leading him. Without argument or fear, Paul ventured forward in the purpose God had for him. He is a prime example for us today (1 Tim. 2:1-7)! Examples of the opposite of this were the wicked kings in Israel who sought their own plans and ways. They sought idols, neglecting and even fighting against the God who saved and redeemed them. We can see a

clear pattern in the books of First and Second Kings where the kings who sought God were blessed and the people prospered. When the kings sought themselves and idols, they became wicked and evil, and the people suffered. (Remember, the people also had the choice to serve God; their punishments came to them by their own will and hand.) There is never an excuse to negate our Lord! A lot has been said about what the purpose or meaning of life is. Some say the purpose is up to each person to figure out, while others say it is what people do after they find out what their interests are. It is not enough just to live; we have to have something to live for, a hope and a direction that is imbedded in us as a prime purpose. But, Jesus gives us a clear picture of His purpose for us, which is to acknowledge Him as LORD and worship Him. He is our meaning; He is our purpose (Matt. 16:13-20; John 14-15). Having a purpose in life—a good one that is—gives us the key to make something of our lives beyond our own situation and dreams. Real Christian purpose is rooted in our faith by Christ’s work on the cross. He is our purpose and the meaning of our life, both here on earth and for the life to come. When we have received His confession and have made it our own, then we can confess His wonder to others and God will use His Spirit to empower that confession as a small part of His revelation. Our daily life at home, work, school, and as we are out and about will be more real and impacting, because we will have a life that is worthwhile and have something to do and say (Phil. 2:5-8). How can I do this? 1. Focus on Christ as LORD. Set aside time each day to focus on the purpose for your growth and maturity (Psalm 119:130; Isa. 42:16; John 4: 23-24; 15), and then make it a priority. In doing so, you will be able to “go for it” with passion and vigor. Make sure it lines up with His precepts and not your wishes! Let Christ transform you through His Word and prayer. Attitude is essential! 2. We must learn to yield to the Lordship of our God and not to the desires of our will. It means following His plans, not our own, obeying His will, not our own. When we do this, the discipleship process can begin. Our maturity and character development will commence and further develop. However, when we refuse, we will be the strife and conflict that gives Christianity a “black eye.” We will be the problem rather than the solution (John 3:30; Gal. 2:2021). 3. Discipleship is a lifestyle. As we step into the lives of others, the purpose for loving them is simply because He first loved us; then, we become instruments of His grace. This can start by our realizing that Jesus “authors” our faith, and teaches us how to run the race according to God’s will, His glory, His worship, and His purpose. Thus, we gain a deeper intimacy with our Lord as our Commander and Friend, as our God and our King and the

provider of Grace, as our Love, and our reason for being. In His purposes, we find real contentment, joy, and fulfillment! This is summed up in this adage: we cannot be doing the work of God unless we are the people of God. We have to be growing before we can have a direction and before we can be effective! 4. We must realize our circumstances are temporary. Our life here and now is not the ultimate purpose for our lives or God’s plan. We are in the process of learning and growing. Our situations and relationships will grow and change, while new opportunities will be brought to us; but, most importantly of all, our ultimate meaning of life will have eternal treasure and results. We will be able to take our eyes off our problems, place them on Christ, and follow His lead for more impact and meaning in life that will bring more hope and contentment (James 1). 5. Purpose will bring you a life that has a reason to it. God created you as special and unique; He gave you talents and abilities, and brings you opportunities to use them. Purpose will help you see these aspects, His call, and your prospects. Then you will be willing and able to put your faith into action for His glory. The side effects? A life that is more joyful and content! Yes, there will be ups and downs, but with the Creator on your side, any plans you may have had become insignificant; they would not bring you even close to a life that is meaningful! Purpose has hope; it allows us to live with the perspective of eternity, so we are not bogged down in our dire circumstances. This moves us from the complacent Christian life to the purposeful Christian life, from just playing church to really being a church. It comes from understanding that God’s purpose and plan is to make us His children (1 John). He is the good Parent who guides His children and protects them. At the same time, He does not over-protect them so they lose out on life's opportunities to please Him, to the ultimate good. Here, we are temporarily looking to the hope we have now and to come. Christ will see us through if we trust and obey to be in His way. Imagine the possibilities your life will bring to others and bring Him glory! When we are growing, we will become contagious for the faith. We will then be able to witness because we will have something to say and something to model that people will want. When we are growing, we will become the Church that Christ designed, mobilized in Him to be welcoming and connecting to others for Him. This is the Church Triumphant! Let us, as the Church Triumphant, adhere to His call and eagerly follow. Let us apply our faith and watch the growth and successes that result, and of being contagious to others! It all comes down to the decision to either make our faith real and impacting, relinquishing our pride so we can learn, grow, tell, and teach others, or else planting our rears in the pew, thus making our butt print in that pew our only impact, an impact of a life of

apathy and meaninglessness! Let us make sure our impact comes from a life transformed and carried on to the people around us! Let us follow Him and be His fishers of men (Matt. 4:18-19)! In church leadership, purpose is essential; that means your church needs to have a good vision and purpose. If you do not know where you are going in life and/or in ministry, you will not be able to lead others in a good way (Proverbs 29:18). SEE Purpose of your church ADD LINK) © 2004 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

The Character of Teachability
Is the Character of Teaching working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and Fruit of Teaching from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. 2. 3. 4. • • How do I exhibit Teachability in my daily life? What can I do to develop a better willingness to be more teachable? What blocks Teachability from working and being exhibited in me? How can I make Teachability function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress? Here are positive examples from Scripture: Dan.1: 3-20; 2:17, 49; 3:12-30; Matt. 28:1-8; Mark 16:9; Luke 19:11-19; 24:1-12; John 3:1-21; 20:1-9,18. Here are negative examples from Scripture: Judges 8:33-34; Eccl. 3:1-12; Luke 19:20-27; 2 Thess. 2:3-4; 1 Tim. 1:20; Rev. 2:9.

The character of Teachability has two aspects to it; one is being a learner and the other is to pass it on, to share insights and what we have learned with others to disciple them. It never means being condescending or thinking we know it all. This is not the spiritual gift of teaching, rather the call to pass on God’s love and insights to others. It is first being a learner, absorbing and applying what God has for us, then replicating that in others. To be a person who can teach we have to be a person who is teachable (Ex. 33:13; Psalm 25:4-9; 86:11; Proverbs 9:8-9; Matthew 7:28; 11:28-29; 28: 19-20; John 7:16; 14:26; Mark 4:2; Luke 5: 1-11; Acts 16:1-4, 18:5, 19:22, 20:4; 1 Thess. 3:2-6 2 Tim. 2:2; 2 John 1:9)!

Refusing to pass on to others what you have learned and experienced is the opposite of God’s call! When we are too full of ourselves, we will not see the value in others, so we cannot learn from them or from God. Then, we will not be passing on anything of value or importance; in fact, we will, instead, be passing on a bad reputation for Christ and His Church! Further Questions 1. How would you define Teachability? Are you a person who naturally passes on your knowledge and experience in a loving and encouraging way? If not, why not? 2. What part does teaching play in your relationships with church members, friends, coworkers, and family? If you see someone who needs some instruction, what do you do? What should you do? 3. How does refusing to learn or pass on your knowledge counteract Teachability? What is the cost to the Kingdom of God when the church does not feed its sheep? What does it mean to you and your church to feed sheep? What should it mean (John 21:16-17)? 4. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you when you refuse to learn, or feel you have had enough discipleship? 5. When have you exercised Teachability the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to pass on information or learn something when you should have? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Teachability? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Teachability into action in a specific instance. For example, what can you do to overcome your fear so you can pass on the truth of Christ to someone who needs it? What can be done to make sure discipleship is a main ministry at your church? How can you be involved? Solomon was, perhaps, the wisest person who ever lived. He wrote, guided by the Holy Spirit, the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes as well as the Song of Solomon. However, even though he “wrote” the wisdom books in our Bible, it appears he did not always pass on that wisdom to others, especially his own family. As soon as his son Rehoboam took over, he exercised extreme foolishness and became the very person his father warned us all about in Proverbs− fool (1 Kings 12:1-19; 14:21-31). To be a fool can have many causes, a pride and being too full of ourselves for a start, but usually there is an underlying

problem too. The fool either does not know how or refuses to learn. Or, he/she can know how, yet reject truth out of fear of conviction or to hold on to what he/she thinks is power. Usually, they just never learned and thus, established a lifetime of bad habits that beget the pattern of a fool. Being wise has nothing to do with intelligence or even knowledge; rather, it is applying that wisdom. Rehoboam, who knew all he had to know to be a good king as his father and grandfather were, had the best advisers. However, he refused to apply it and even got rid of his good advisers in exchange for young fools like himself. This leads me to wonder whether Solomon ever took the time to disciple his sons, to show them, not just in writing, but also with hands-on instruction to be a person who teaches. There is no evidence that Rehoboam received any discipling from his father! Teaching is not something we do in a classroom; it is a lifestyle, learning that can be passed on to others. This comes from the willingness to see others’ experiences and knowledge as valuable, no matter what our own experience and education level is, so we can catch what is being taught without any misgivings or barriers People who are teachable will be open to new ideas and truths as long as they do not contradict God’s precepts. They will be careful with motivations and lifestyle! They will not allow bad or false teachings to tamper with God’s truth or their call. They will be willing to submit to others for correction so they can improve their attitude, character, and ability to glorify God. They do not have all the answers, but perhaps can point to where the answers may be. They are willing to admit their mistakes and failings and, with haste, make any necessary corrections. At the same time, they are also able to apprehend real truth and discern what is false. Teachable people are not afraid to point out errors in others, but always in the parameters of the Fruit of the Spirit in a loving and caring way. Being teachable will allow us to make our character real in the lives of others by how we act, react, and respond! Teachable people will have an eagerness to learn and pass on God’s precepts to others in meaningful and creative ways. This means not only the seeking of academic enrichment, but also how to apply it in our lives and the lives of others. We will able to accept good changes in life and ministry and not allow prejudices and bad attitudes to cloud what God has given us to say and do. Proverbs gives us a contrast of being wise and learning versus refusing to learn (Prov.10:8,17; 12:1,15; 12:1,11; 13:1,18;15:31; 21:11; 23:12, 25:12; 24:6; 29:1). Remember, a growing Christian is always learning− matter how old or no how educated! A growing Christian is always seeking wisdom and ways to apply it. When we stop learning, we stop growing; then we are unable to pass on information or apply what we have learned in meaningful ways! "The most persuasive sermon is the example which leads the way.” (Spurgeon)

© 2005 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D., Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

The Character of Devotion
Is the Character of Devotion working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Devotion from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. 2. 3. 4. • How do I exhibit a Devotional attitude in my daily life? What can I do to develop a better willingness to pursue Devotion to our Lord? What blocks the attitude of Devotion from working and being exhibited in me? How can I make my mindset of Devotion to function better, stronger and faster even in times of uncertainly and stress? Here are positive examples from Scripture: 1 Kings 3:5-10; 15:11-15; 18:3-4; 22:41-44; 2 Kings 12:1-3; 2 Chron.5:1-14; Isaiah 38:1-8; Matt. 26:35; Acts 15:24-29; 2 Tim.1:6 Here are negative examples from Scripture: Judges 2:10-15; 1 Kings 11:1-6; 14:22-24; 15:34; 18:28; Matt. 26:34,69-75

Devotion is being devoted to Christ because He is our all in all. It is aligning our personal desires, our plans, our worship, and our hope with God and His principles. It is an attitude more than an act, a pursuit to be offered to God to give Him glory through our pious, fervent, discipline to His Truth. Devotion is bringing our mind, our will, and our heart to God so our whole life is about seeking Him and His will. This is not about feelings; it is rather who we are to be. It is not about what is around us our circumstances and stresses; it is about who He is in us and our response to Him with our passionate pursuit (1 Chron. 22:19; Psalm 34:8; Matt. 6:24; Rom. 6:13; 12:10; 14:7- 8; 1 Cor.10:31; Col. 3:1-3, 17, 23). Neglect, Disregard, and Indifference are the opposites. These bad characters will line us up with the wrong ideas and precepts in life. Our lives will be all about chasing trends, following the crowd, or seeking our desires and not the immutable precepts of our Lord. From a pastor who chases trends instead of feeding his sheep to a businessman who does not honor God in his dealings, all are disregarding what the Christian is built and called to do. This behavior shows an indifference to His Word and a negating of one’s duties, thus indicating a devotion to one’s own misguided ideas.

Further Questions 1. How would you define Devotion? To what are you devoted? 2. How would the desire to live for God improve your relationships? What part does Devotion play in your relationships with church members, friends, co-workers and family? 3. How does Indifference to God and His call impact the attitude of Devotion? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church family, co-workers, etc.) when you are a person who is focused on selfish interests? 4. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you when you fail to glorify Christ? 5. When have you been filled with Devotion for Christ the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to have an attitude of Devotion when you should have? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more of a Devotional attitude? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Devotion into action in a specific instance, such as, where is Devotion lacking in my Christian walk and what can I do about it? What would it take to have a revival in your heart so you become a person who lives for God? What does your church need to do to become seekers of Christ, placing Him first rather than the ideas and agendas of people? When we think of this character, our minds quickly go to the act of “doing our devotions.” Perhaps you see the character of devotion as personal acts of pious devotion such as personal Bible study or reading a devotional book each day such as my favorite, My Utmost for His Highest. These things do not represent the character itself; rather, they are a means of pursuing the character. A consistent, devotional life, and/or pledges and promises are not just to show that we are committed Christians. They are the applications of our consecration to God. They are about who and what we arenot just what we do. They are to line ourselves up to God’s ideas and precepts so we will become more committed and mature in our spiritual formation. The Character of Devotion is rooted in how we react to what Christ has already done and continues to do for us. It is the commitment to “keep the law of the LORD your God (1 Chron. 22:19).” It is the application of our faith with

discretion and understanding. We have to keep His laws and His percepts now in order to be devoted, heart and soul, to Him. He is the noun and object of our devotion. We are to be the verb (the action), and our distinction and function in doing so is the adjective (accomplishments of trusting and obeying Him). We have to have something tangible upon which to place our devotion. If not, we will fill that need with other things that will slowly choke us from His most wondrous plans and opportunities! Are you an offering to God (Psalm 1:2; Isa. 26:3)? Has the Christian faith impacted all of you who you are as well as what you do? To mature in spiritual formation, we must have a desire to be impacted and then impact others with Christ who lives and works through us. This is not about certain times, places, or jobs, nor is it a doctrine; rather, it is an attitude that transcends from an idea to a lifestyle. An attitude of true devotion will glorify God. It will not seek any personal gains, or to be seen by people so as to bask in their accolades. For a minister of the gospel, this is a necessity. If we seek to run our churches for popular reasons, for trends, or for personal or political agendas, we greatly neglect our Lord and forsake His Church. The Christian life is not about selfishness or chasing our own interests; rather, it is to be a means of promoting Christ. Our motives and influences are gauges to make sure we are on track. If His Word and percepts are our influencers and His glory our motives, we will do well. If not, we are in deep trouble as we have been distracted from His will and used by Satan to influence others for his ways! If you want to be an effective, growing Christian, you must be solely devoted to Christ to a doctrine, an idea, or a cause to Him and Him alone! not but Neither are we to see Him just as a Friend without accepting Him as our LORD. We are to see Jesus as who He is, not who we want Him to be. Devotion comes from being touched by the Spirit and then responding to the supreme love and affection of God. Devotion is set by our confidence and faith in Christ (Heb. 11:6); it sees the hope he has for us. As a result, all that we do in life, whether we eat or drink at all times in all places and in all things we are to do all for the glory of God. This character of devotion will help us apply His love first to our own life and then to the lives of others. This applies to all of our relationships so we are willing to be devoted to our family, friends, and especially our spouse. Finding new ways to please and surprise them will further fuel your relationship. © 2005 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

The Character of Godliness

Is the Character of Godliness working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Godliness from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. 2. 3. 4. How do I exhibit Godliness in my daily life? What can I do to develop a better willingness to pursue Godliness? What blocks Godliness from working and being exhibited in me? How can I make Godliness function better, stronger, and faster even in times of uncertainly and stress? • Here are positive examples from Scripture: Gen. 13:3-4; 2 Kings 18:18; Ezek. 47:7-12; Jer. 9:24; Matt. 5:16; Luke 6:31; Acts 11:19-24; Eph 5:1; 2 Tim. 2:22; James 1:27 • Here are negative examples from Scripture: 1 Kings 15:1-8; Jer. 17: 56; 29:20-28; Luke 9:62; 1 Tim. 5:15; 2 Tim. 3:6-9; James 1:26; 4:4 Godliness refers to the act of being pious and living a good, reverent life toward God and others because of what Christ has done in us. It means living out our disposition, respect, and reverence to Christ in all aspects of our life. It is responding from our worship of Christ with the authentic desire to know Him in a greater way. This creates our desire to be pious, which is rearranging our priorities, mindsets, and character to line up with God's character and to be able to see the importance of virtue, then be equipped to use it to value others. This is the essence of real piety, to be “souled out” as in our soul is bought by our Lord and we respond with our lives to say it is real and true to my Lord (Psalm 15; Micah 6:8; Matt. 7:12; Luke 6:31; Eph. 5:1; Col. 3:15-17; 1 Tim. 3:16; 4:8; 6:11; 2 Tim. 3:5; 2 Pet. 1:3, 6; 3 John 11; Rev 14:6). Ungodliness, Irreverence, Impiety, seeking sin, wicked, and outrageous behavior are the opposites. These bad characters come from not reverencing God which lines us up with the desires of the world, preventing us from being a blessing to others and glorifying our Lord and Savior. Impiety can be ignoring the orphans and widows, letting our tongue do as it pleases, or even the heinous acts of child molesting and murder. When we are not worshiping Him, we are engaging in pride and then we will engage in sin. Further Questions 1. How would you define Godliness? What does piety mean to you? 2. How would the desire to be “souled out” improve your relationships with God and others? What part does Godliness play in your relationships with church

members, friends, co-workers, and family? 3. How does mockery to God and His call impact the attitude of Godliness? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church family, coworkers, etc.) when you are a person who is focused on seeking sin? 4. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you when you fail to value others? 5. When have you been filled with Godliness the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to have an attitude of Godliness when you should have? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Godliness? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Godliness into action in a specific instance, such as, where is Godliness not functioning properly in my Christian walk and what can I do about it? What can you do to make your worship of God an attitude that goes beyond Sunday mornings and then into your daily life? Character is often defined as a collection of personality traits within our personality that show our attitude, moral fiber, disposition, and how we treat one another, good or bad. This is best assessed when we seek within us what is being exhibited from us (1 Tim. 6:11; 2 Tim. 2:22). However, Godliness is not just another character; it is a description of who we are to be in our entirety. Godliness is a basic, foundational character upon which the other characters rest. Godliness summarizes the essence of character in general as applied to our entire lives as Christians. It encapsulates the Fruit of the Spirit from God’s work in us. We all have the ability to be good or be bad, to take what Christ has given us and use it, or ignore or even perverse it. This not just about our reputation and ambassadorship in Christ (2 Cor. 5:20); it is how we must be if Christ has a hold on us! In the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, the devout and pious person was focused on his or her worship of God, and then out of that relationship with Him, he or she obeyed and did good and pious works. Godliness comes from our focus, veneration, and affection of Christ that moves us from a religion to a relationship. It is an outgrowth of our growth in Him and not just something we do. This is basically sanctification, where the character and holiness of Jesus are being imparted to us. It is offered to us because He has justified us (Rom. 3:2428; 5:9, 18; Heb. 9:22), forgiven and declared us clean to save us. Then comes the opportunity to grow further. As we get to know Him we grow more in Him and we become more set apart for His use and glory (Rom. 12:1-3; Eph. 2:10; 1 Thess. 4:7; 1 Tim. 4:4, 1 Pet. 3:15). We gain this character slowly, although it is

available to us all at once. It usually takes time and effort to apply it and work out our faith in daily life (Phil. 2). Thus, this is the practical application of allowing Jesus’ work to be exhibited in us. This is not just our trying to learn Jesus’ character and emulating it (which we also do); rather, it is His work in us, transforming us so we naturally exhibit it. Then, by what we learn, we are able to “tweak it” better. Godliness only comes from our submission to God, which produces love, kindness, gentleness… This happens when we are changed by what He has done. You have to ask yourself, “Am I doing this? If not, why not?” When we profess Christ as Lord or make a public testimony, we are declaring that Jesus Christ has a hold on our lives from now through eternitythat transcends human understanding. We are no longer of this world, but belong to Him as His childsaved and redeemed. This is the start of our personal relationship with Jesus Christ as not just Savior, but as LORD over all, over our desires, needs, and plans. This is imparted to us though our intimacy with Him (Psalm 15; 36:9). True intimacy with God is not found in our feelings, works, deeds, the saying of creeds, or even by having the right theology in mind, which is important. Rather, real, true intimacy is a deep affection and knowledge of Christ that is generated by our heartfelt devotion, commitment, and trust. This is, in turn, demonstrated by our willingness and the action of moving forward in our journey of faith. We can learn more on this character and apply it better when we give careful scrutiny and conformity to the will of God; His work in us forms our obedience, dependence, gratitude, and then submission to what He has clearly revealed in His Word. Remember, this comes from our heartfelt worship of Him first! Even though we have a special intimacy with God because of what Christ has done, we have to be careful that we do not rest in this intimacy. Intimacy is important, but God is most concerned with what we do with what He gives us. The intimacy is the frosting; the cake is to do His Will. This is what godliness is all about! © 2005 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

The Character of Discernment
Is the Character of Discernment working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Discernment from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself:

1. 2. 3. 4. •

How do I exhibit Discernment in my daily life? What can I do to develop a better willingness to be Discerning? What blocks Discernment from working and being exhibited in me? How can I make Discernment function better, stronger, and faster even in times of uncertainly and stress? Here are positive examples from Scripture: Gen. 41: 33-41; Deut. 1:13; 1 Kings 3:1-28; 2 Chron. 2:12; Prov. 14:33; 16:21; 18:15; Luke 10:38-42; 23:1316 Here are negative examples from Scripture: Num. 13:31-33; 20; 9-12; Deut. 32:1-31; 1 Kings 12; Prov. 10:14; 14:6; 15:14; Luke 10:38-42; 23:23-25

Discernment is described in Scripture as the love of wisdom. It is the ability to seek a resolution, not blame. To give wise judgment in decisions takes sensitivity to all sides, then the ability to discriminate between the bad/wrong choices and the right/wise choice. We are to be sharp and informed people of God by focusing our thoughts on who God is in order to see what is appropriate as well as discern personal obstacles that hinder the Spirit of God (Psalm 119:125; Prov. 1:5; 3:31; 8:9; 18:15; 16:21-24; 25:5; Matt. 16-26; Rom. 13:11-14; 16:19; Phil. 1:9-11). Foolishness, Gullibility, Judging hastily, and Prevarication are the opposites. An undiscerning Christian will cause massive destruction to the mission and role of the church. He or she can allow false truths to be taught, emotions to get out of control, and sin to go on without repentance or reverence to God. When a body of believers is not discerning, a vacuum will form and suck in all kinds of filth and dirt like a regular vacuum cleaner, except that no cleaning will occur because the bag will be the church. Then the character and role the church conveys to the community will be filth and muck! Further Questions 1. How would you define Discernment? To what are you devoted? 2. How do you make decisions? Do you look for all sides of a situation and biblical precepts? Do you ask God for an understanding and discerning mind? If not, why not? 3. How does indifference to God and His call impact the attitude of Discernment? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church family, co-workers, etc.) when you are a person who is focused on selfish interests? 4. What happens to your relationship with God and others, and with the

opportunities God gives you when you fail to glorify Christ? 5. When have you been filled with Discernment the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to have an attitude of Discernment when you should have? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Discernment? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Discernment into action in a specific instance, such as, where is Discernment lacking proper function in my Christian walk, and what can I do about it? How would the intercession of prayer for all involved help you make better decisions? Discernment is a call for all Christians to exercise prudence in their lives and church; it is also a Spiritual gift! As a gift of the Spirit, Discernment is the ability to know, with assurance, whether certain behaviors or teachings purported to be of God are in reality divine, human, or satanic. The purpose of this gift is to prevent confusion and false teaching from infiltrating the church. Those with this gift will have extra insights and be able to motivate others in this area (Matthew 16:21-23; Acts 5:1-11; 16:16-18; 1 Corinthians 12:10; 14:40; 1 John 4:1-6). But Discernment is not just a Spiritual Gift; Psalm 119:125 and James 1:5-6 tell us we are to ask for Discernment and Proverbs 3:31 tells us we have the responsibility to act upon it! Jesus tells us to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves (Matt. 10:1626). This means we are called to be prudent in our actions and in discernment so to prevent needless suffering and strife in our own lives, while still showing the love and forgiveness of our Lord without compromising the precepts of His Word! Thus, to make the best decisions, we are to interpret what we see and hear by seeking biblical principles, not the approval, acceptance, or selfishness of self and others. Nor are we to become jaded and cynical or take ourselves too seriously (seeking our will and not God’s)! This involves the ability to see all the points of view of a dilemma or evaluation, then to go deeper below the surface to see the “why” from causes, agendas, motivations, and personal reasons, and finally, to distinguish what is best, real, and true as well as evil and wrong before making an intelligent, sensible decision. Discernment is a call to seek God’s purpose in order to make a distinction and discriminate between what is good and right from what is wrong and evil (Phil. 2:5; 4:8). It is always meant to pay attention to and be aware of the needs and ideas of other people as well as personal agendas. In addition, always make sure there is accountability! There is not always a clear right or wrong side. Nonetheless, in a worldly age of pluralism and relativism, we are still called to do our best to exercise wise judgments at all times and then stand for them unless

they are proven to be unbiblical. There are differences between judgment and discernment. We are called to be discerning, not allowing harm to come to us or others in our care, and to be sensitive to potential trouble, attempting to prevent the bad actions of others. We are also to do this without interfering in the personal lives of others, unintentionally sidestepping God’s work in them (Mark 4:19; John 21:21-22). We are called to be discerning of what is right and wrong because the Bible gives us clear absolutes. The relativism that the world teaches is evil and wrong; we must clearly and lovingly proclaim moral and doctrinal standards that are biblical and unambiguous (Acts 5:3-4; Rom. 14:1-12; Gal. 3:1; 1 Thess. 5:21; James 4:11-12; 2 Pet. 2:1-3). This means that we are not to allow immorality and false teachings to come about inside the church, or allow such things to attack the church from the outside. To know the will of God, we must deny ourselves and align our lives to be obedient to and focus on God’s perspective, not our frail ways! We have been informed by Scripture not to place our mind in neutral. We are to use it because when we just rely on our emotions, we will be led away from what is good and right into chaos and confusion. Taking a careful look and thinking clearly will enable us to follow the right path, especially when it is combined with prayer and counsel! So, we must think and carry out what we know is true as revealed by the Word (Phil. 4:8-9)! Discernment also means letting God be in control, as He does not want us to be controlled by our past or to be fearful or cowardly. Rather, we are to learn from our experiences and grow from them. We not only need to be sure we do not repeat mistakes, but also we are not to be tied to them so they become our identity. When we do not have a clue of what to do with our lives or are considering a job change, we need to seek the counsel of the Great Counselor, Our Lord, for He will always respond. But remember, the career choices you make should be based on lots of prayer and considering your natural talents and Spiritual Gifts. If you do not know them, then you need to spend the time to find them. When we skip our gifts and call and just go with the flow, we will become frustrated and dissatisfied in our work; God has a better plan! Remember that career and education are means for us to grow and learn. But, life is about relationships first with God and then with those around us. This is not skipping school for the party life, nor is it being so devoted to a career that we forget God and family. We must find a healthy balance and consider all we learn here and what God’s will really is! Real love requires growth and maturation. Love also needs the knowledge of what it is in order for it to be practiced correctly and purely. For love to increase in our lives and our relationships with God and others, the information and investigations into it must precede its effective practice (Prov. 18:15; 2 Cor. 5:10; Col. 1:9; 1 Thess. 3:12; 4:10; 2 Thess. 1:3). And, in the context of the passages that tell us that as with this precept, so it is with discernment, being wise in decisions needs to be formed in us in the same way!

If we are claiming Christ as Lord, we need to be living the life, not just talking about it, or just showing up for the club meetings (church)! © 2005 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

The Character of Communication
Is the Character of Communication working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Communication from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. How do I exhibit good Communication in my daily life? 2. What can I do to develop a better willingness to pursue effective Communication? 3. What blocks good Communication skills from working and being exhibited in me? 4. How can I make Communication function better, stronger, and fastereven in times of uncertainly and stress? • Here are positive examples from Scripture: Neh. 8:4-8; Prov. 12:17; 15:28; 16:32; Acts 6:8-10; Eph. 6:19-20; Heb. 3:7, 15 • Here are negative examples from Scripture: Prov. 15:28; 16:32; 18:13; Job 32:6-10; Zech. 8:16; James 4:11-12; 2 Pet .2: 10-12 Communicating productively is one of the most important skills in life. Effective communication is being willing to convey our honest thoughts, attitudes, feelings, and actions to others in a kind and active listening manner that reflects and glorifies Christ. This is the foundation of a successful marriage as well as a healthy church and an affirmative friendship. Without communication, a marriage or any relationship in the church, the workplace, or anywhere can never effectively work (Prov. 29:20; Matt. 21:22; Luke 8:18; Rom. 12:10; Eph. 4:15, 2529; Col. 3:5,16, 4:6; 1 Tim. 4:12; James 1:19; 1 Peter 3). Inarticulate, not listening, not expressing and not communicating are the opposites. These bad characters will hinder us from seeking to understand someone, which will lead to misunderstandings, conflict, and strife. God created us as communal beings to commune with Him and one another; we must do our best to seek this and without prejudice.

Further Questions 1. How would you define good Communication? Can you give a good example? 2. How would learning how to communicate improve your relationships? What part does Communication play in your relationships with church members, friends, co-workers, and family? 3. How does not listening to others impact your relationships? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church family, co-workers, etc.) when you are a person who is not willing to express yourself effectively? 4. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you when you fail to listen? 5. When have you been filled with the character of good Communication the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to have an attitude of good Communication when you should have? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more effective Communicating? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put good Communication into action in a specific instance, such as, where is positive Communicating not functioning properly in my Christian walk and what can I do about it? What good communication skills are lacking in you? What can you do to develop them and put them into practice? Communication is, in essence, all about giving and receiving a message. Whether we are deaf and mute or a polished public speaker, we all communicate. We send and receive messages every day to one another many, many times each day. Preferably, we should desire to do this effectively, sincerely, and positively, but in most cases, the message sent is not always the message received by the other person, and rarely are the messages from the hearer and receiver identical. Good communication is a must essential to the understanding of one another. However, although the goal of perfect communication is perhaps unattainable, that does not mean we should not seek to be effective, as all of our relationships and dealings in life will depend on it. The first thing we can do to be better communicators is to have the desire to be heard and to hear the other

person fairly. We can do this when we are sincere, enthusiastic, refrain from over-talking, be truly open, and make eye contact. Open communication is the vital foundation for every relationship, from the workplace to friendships, and especially in marriage, where it is necessary in order to understand and help each other. Without it, one cannot see what is truly motivating the other, or what his or her ideas and intentions are. Nor can we commune, learn or grow our relationship effectively. When you have differing points of viewand you will have willing to talk and listen. Simply by listening, 99 percent of the problems be will be resolved. When you have this down, you will be light-years ahead of the game in your friendships, marriage and workplace. What Can I Do To Be A Better Communicator? 1. Be willing to be open and honest. Be willing to express feelings about the other, and the desires, aspirations, and plans you see for yourself and for your partner. This will build communication and trust! If you cannot express yourself, then get help. Otherwise, it will only escalate from bad to worse. You cannot gain anything by lying or playing games! 2. Communication, as well as understanding and the willingness to work together to commune and solve problems must be a cornerstone of the relationship. 3. The care we give is usually more important than the words we say! Courtesy is contagious! 4. Show interest in others; be positive and sensitive, especially in a marriage. Do this by asking questions, listening to each other fully, and not dominating the conversation. When you see him or her again, remember the important details so you can bring up what was communicated before and ask how it is going, what you can do to help, and so forth. 5. Always communicate without blame; always show the love of Christ! 6. Seek first to understand what the other person is saying and make sure the other person feels understood; this inspires openness and trust. 7. Be sincere; saying what you mean and meaning what you say is the golden rule to effective and edifying communication. 8. You are only responsible for what you say and how you treat others; you are not responsible for what others say to you or how they treat you! 9. Be yourself; be genuine, honest and real. Do not pretend or be manipulative. Remember, integrity is imperative at all times!

10. When there are disagreements, explain your position with logical reasons for it. Do not jump to conclusions or be emotional or manipulative. Any good position will be open for comments, evaluation, criticism, and the opinions of others. 11. Make sure you hear the other’s position correctly. If you are not sure, are confused, if it does not make sense, or it is incongruent, ask questions for clarification. Compliment the other person's idea, whether you agree or not, and be courteous. When giving a critique, be constrictive, positive, true, and respectful. 12. Paraphrase back what they said for clarity. If you think there is a misunderstanding brewing, ask a question, "May I restate what I am hearing from you?” 13. Be aware of your body language. Make sure you are not giving off negative signals or have a callous or insensitive tone. Remember, you may be doing this and not even realize it. 14. The choice of our words and the tone of them will have dramatic effects as it greatly affects the meaning, interpretation, and distortion of the message. Choose your words and tone carefully through prayer with encouragement in mind! Remember that most people will not attribute the same meaning to the same words! Clarify what and how you say something! 15. Allow others to give you constructive feedback whether it is ideas, suggestions, critiques, or confrontation; incongruent or not, listen and be in prayer about what you can learn and improve about yourself. 16. Being defensive or condescending, name calling, labeling people, being prideful, and arrogance are listening, communication and relationship killers! 17. Having selective hearing, ignoring important other information and only willing to listen to what you want to hear will seriously hamper your relationships as well as ability to communicate. 18. Do not jump to conclusions or be judgmental or legalistic! Having assumptions about the other person that may or may not be true hinders listening and communication. 19. Not speaking or communicating clearly, or being dishonest so the other person cannot hear what you say will lead to others forming untrue assumptions to causing serious and detrimental misunderstandings. 20. Keep in mind that when a person’s feelings are hurt, he or she will retaliate, not negotiate!

21. Do not overreact! Always, always ask for clarification! 22. Whether you are a pastor, doctor, lawyer, or a dogcatcher, keeping confidences is paramount! 23. Always be a learner; seek what you can learn from this person, from this situation, and from mistakes made by you or others. To effectively listen, we need to give the other person our full attention. We must be willing to build the skills of empathetic and active listening. To do this, we first need to concentrate on quieting our own thoughts and concerns so we can hear theirs. We all have a natural, internal commentary going; try to shut it off until afterwards. This will help you engage the person and remember what he or she is saying. 1. If you want to interact effectively with and/or influence another person, you first need to understand them! 2. When talking to someone, develop rapport by demonstrating sincere interest in him or her; focus on him or her as a child of God by investing time. This should be the most important person in the room for you! 3. Be empathetic; consider how you would feel in their situation. Good listeners will be sensitive and show care by identifying and having compassion for the other person and not be disconnected or detached. Sometimes, it is necessary in professional type relationships to have set some boundaries when interacting with patients or colleagues. However, it is essential to show empathy and care. 4. Honor and hear others’ thoughts and feelings; express positive feelings and feedback. 5. Listen to the words and try to determine the essence of those words. Keep in mind that what you think they are saying is not always what they are really saying, so ask questions so to clarify and gather more information. 6. Do not jump to conclusions! Do not form your impressions by preconceptions, stereotyping, or generalizing. Having a problem? Ask, what can we do to solve this problem together? What are some steps you see that could resolve this issue? If that does not work, place the issue on what the purpose of the Christian life is about, to worship and glorify Christ. How can we develop a solution that glorifies our Lord (Prov. 19:11; Matt. 18:15-17; Eph. 4:29)?

Remember that LISTENING IS ESSENTIAL! Good friend-makers are good listeners. Be the person who listens (John 8:47; James 1:19-25)! © 2005 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

The Character of Tolerance
Is the Character of Tolerance working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Tolerance from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. 2. 3. 4. How do I exhibit Tolerance in my daily life? What can I do to develop a better attitude of Tolerance? What blocks Tolerance from working and being exhibited in me? How can I make Tolerance function better, stronger, and faster even in times of uncertainly and stress? • Here are positive examples from Scripture: Dan. 6:1-23; Luke 9:50; Acts 10; 28:30-31; James 2:8-13; 3:13-18; Rev. 2:1-3 • Here are negative examples from Scripture: 2 Sam. 12:1-14; Mark 9:38-39; Acts 17:13-15; 19:23-27; James 2:1-4 Tolerance is the recognizing and respecting of others with dignity, which is how we are to be to others as representatives of Christ. It is being forbearing and patient with others even when they are different or weaker. It is seeking to understand and know others beyond our expectations, experiences, or comfort zone. This is a call to endure the immaturity, hardships, and shortcomings of others without becoming judgmental or condescending, yet at the same time, not allowing evil or immorality. Tolerance that is beneficial to the Kingdom of God is not the accepting of sin; rather, it is the forgiveness of it (Isaiah 55:7; Hab. 1:13; Matt. 6:16; 7:1, 13-14; 9:10; Rom. 15:1; 1 Cor. 13:3-4; Phil. 1:17; 2:2; 1 Thess. 5: 12-15). Intolerance, Prejudice, Impatience, and Relativism are the opposites. These bad characters will cause us to be judgmental and allow our pride to rule us. Skewing this character will cause us to think that all beliefs, values, lifestyles, and truth are equal. This mindset will cause our judgment to be hampered so we think that knowing right from wrong really does not matter. Tolerance is not being broadminded or yielding to the flow of popular thinking, forgetting our convictions, or running a church from what is popular and not from God’s Word. Beware! If

Tolerance is stretched too far, sin will abound and become acceptable! Further Questions 1. How would you define Tolerance? What is the difference between rejecting the "person” who sinned and rejecting the "sin?" 2. What part does Tolerance play in your relationships with church members, friends, co-workers, and family? How can you demonstrate Tolerance with kindness even when others make you feel uncomfortable? 3. How does being judgmental impact Tolerance? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church family, co-workers, etc.) when you are a person who accepts relativistic thinking (thinking everything is good and acceptable as long as nobody is hurt)? 4. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you when you harbor prejudices? 5. When have you been filled with Tolerance the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to be Tolerant with someone when you should have? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Tolerance? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Tolerance into action in a specific instance, such as, where is Tolerance not functioning properly in my attitudes and what can I do about it? What can I do to help others mature? How can I inform others, in love, how to distinguish what is right from what is popular? How are you to others for Christ? Do you show Tolerance? Or does your Tolerance stretch beyond God’s boundaries? Are your convictions based on God’s precepts or are you yielding to the polls of opinions? Such questions will help determine where your faith and trust lie! As Christians, we all are at various levels in our spiritual formation and maturity are non-Christians. Thus, to get along and model what God wants as us to do with love and fruit, we need to beware of others’ (as well as our own) judgmental ideas, weakness, pettiness, and irresponsibility. We need to respond to others with forgiveness and grace and allow them to fail so they can learn while we do our best to exhibit good Christian character. People learn best by example, not by forced obligation or manipulation. Character is caught more than it is taught. Modeling is a necessity; teaching it is secondary. At the same time,

we are not to allow the worsening of deliberate sin to cause detriment to others or society, or allow our thinking to go along with it and rationalize it as tolerable. We, as children of God, are all in a process of growth in our social and spiritual development. At some point, we will struggle with what is right and wrong. We are all full of sin. We keep letting it in, and are continually looking for ways to say it is OK. We also need to be more accepting to others. We all need acceptance and should accept others. The struggle for many is not just sin, but what is acceptable and what is not. Accepting others sin or immaturity without counteracting it with character (and words when necessary) will lead to civil and social decay. At the same time, judging others will push them away from the church. So, we have to know when to love and when to discipline and to do so with love. We cannot be known for our negatives, for they will accomplish nothing. Our focus must be on the positive. We cannot glorify God in the midst of envy and strife or in the presence of anger and bitterness. By remaining positive, we can accept others, their unique personalities, and their varying maturity or immaturity. We are to accept people but not their deviant or immoral behavior. For example, we should accept a loved one who is in sin such has alcoholism, drugs, or homosexuality, but not condone his or her sin or rationalize it as OK because others are doing so. We are to help them and only chastise when that is the only way or as a last resort. A balance of acceptance and Tolerance is necessary as long as it does not bring disrepute. Our standard is God’s standard as recorded in His Word, not the standards of culture or media (1 Tim. 4:15-16). Good Tolerance would be focusing on other people’s strengths and not their weaknesses, accepting personalities (that are not dysfunctional), and being patient. When we set the example of authentic Christian living and goodness, we demonstrate faith and not selfishness or judgmentalism. Bad Tolerance would be not accepting others because of some superficial thinking such as the prejudices of skin color, social status, or wealth or because of our pride and arrogance, thus causing us to be callous toward others! The mature Believer should be able to give up his or her selfish desires and inclinations for the good of others, thereby living the example of Christ and His love. Tolerance is also demonstrated in personal, social discipleship. As we cannot flaunt ourselves because of our maturity or lack of it, we must desire to grow both socially and spiritually, and help others do the same. The more experienced and mature Christian is called to walk alongside new and less mature Christians, helping them grow so they can glorify Christ. In addition, Christians are to remove all aspects of pride and arrogance from their thinking and actions! The mature Christian has the obligation, the imperative command to disciple others with time, love, and patience. Just think how much better your church‘玍s impact would be in your community if more people did this!

Tolerance is a mandate, but it has boundaries. As Boldness and Cautiousness are bookends to one another, so are Tolerance and Discernment. Tolerance means not being open to moral or spiritual failure, censure of what is right and true, condoning of what is evil to placate others, or the approval and/or practice of what is morally and ethically inferior. Rather, true tolerance is rooted in the knowledge of God’s forgiveness and understanding. Tolerance still requires discernment and the practical discrimination and sensitivity to what is wrong. Tolerance without Discrimination against the bad will bring a church and a nation down to ruins, as sin will take a hold while we rationalize it away saying we are being tolerant! When Tolerance is combined with Discernment, it will better align with God’s call and precepts. We will be operating in the Fruit of the Spirit and accepting others in love, but we will not be, either passively or actively, accepting what is evil or wrong! Because we want the best for others, we do not want to see them engage in evil that leads to their downfall or pull others with them. We must keep our hearts open to the Spirit with passion, and diligently guard against that which is contrary to God's Word and plan so we are not deceived. Pledge yourself definitely not to be deceivers. If we want to change the world, we first need to change ourselves! © 2005 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

The Character of Righteousness
Is the Character of Righteousness working in you? Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Righteousness from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself: 1. 2. 3. 4. • • How do I exhibit Righteousness in my daily life? What can I do to develop a better willingness to pursue Righteousness? What blocks Righteousness from working and being exhibited in me? How can I make Righteousness function better, stronger, and faster even in times of uncertainly and stress?

Here are positive examples from Scripture: Duet. 7:6; Job 1:1-3; Ezek. 18:5-9; Luke 2:25-28; Rom. 14:8-10; 2 Cor. 4:1-7; Col. 2:20-23 Here are negative examples from Scripture: Jos. 10:1-5; Isa. 61:10; 65:1-7; Matt. 22:11-12; 23; Mark 2:16; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Pet. 2:9-10

Righteousness is defined as conformity to God's Law, both in our hearts and in our deeds, inside and outside. Righteousness comes only by faith in Christ. Righteousness is His character. We are not to be passive; we are to be active in faith. The righteousness of God is His character that vindicates His people. We, as His people, are to show our faithfulness back to Him. Christ's righteousness is given to us (imputed, propitiation) by our faith, which we did not earn; hence grace is the ultimate free gift (Psalm 4:3; Isa. 28:17; 32:17; Matt. 5:6; 24:45; Rom. 3:22; 12:1; 1 Cor. 1:30; Gal. 3:6-7; Eph. 1:3-4; 3:17; 4:20-24; Phil. 3:9; Col. 2:7; 1 Thess. 5:22; 2 Tim. 2:22-24; Heb. 10:10; 1 Pet. 1:15-16; 2:9; 4:1-2; 1 John 2:6). Impiety, Seeking Sin, Wickedness, and Irreverence are the opposites. When we do not seek Righteousness, we are arguing with God or seeking loopholes to escape our responsibility (Luke 10:29; James 4:1). These bad characters will allow us to seek ourselves and sin, and not Christ. These rotten fruits will prevent us from putting on faith and Christ, thus our lives will be in stress and dysfunction. Further Questions 1. How would you define Righteousness? What are you devoted too? 2. How would the desire to seek Righteousness improve your relationships? What part does Righteousness play in your relationships with church members, friends, co-workers and family? 3. How does Irreverence to God and His call impact the attitude of Righteousness? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church family, co-workers, etc.) when you are a person who is focused on sin? 4. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you when we do not pursue our growth in the faith? 5. When have you been filled with Righteousness the most? 6. In what situation did you fail to have an attitude of Righteousness when you should have? 7. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Righteousness? 8. Think through the steps you need to take to put Righteousness into action in a specific instance, such as, where is Righteousness not functioning properly in my Christian walk and what can I do about it? What can I do to develop a better initiative to my responsibility to practice Righteousness?

We are called to be good! However, no one can attain Righteousness apart from perfect adherence to the Law. Christ is the only one in all of human history to do it. No one can attain it without Divine intervention; righteousness to please God must come from God Himself. We all are corrupted by sin, and unable to live according to God's perfect standards. Even though some people are better than others (your neighbor versus Stalin), both are guilty in God's perspective (Rom. 1: 10; 17). Our only hope is in the Person and Work of our Lord. Our ability to be good and holy is only because of the "effect" of redemption (what Christ did for us on the cross, which we did not deserve) not the "cause," (the cause is how we are, as we receive grace and forgiveness then are counted as righteous). Never confuse the two or you will have pride and arrogance because you will think you deserved it. Thus, Righteousness must be a gift from God that we use (Isaiah 61:10; John 17:25)! Righteousness in the Covenant of the Old Testament Law was a requirement. We are not obligated to it under graceno need to follow those 619+ laws we should still desire to honor and glorify Christ and follow His but precepts. If Christ has a hold of us, we can and should respond with a lifestyle and attitude of Righteousness! Our behaviors show our heart and our heart shows who is in it Christ or the desire of sin. If you are grounded in love, you will exhibit love; if you are steeped in sin, you will show sin. Yes, God's mercy endures forever. However, our only hope is in the Person and Work of our Lord (Phil. 3:9). The Jews in Jesus’ time could not see what real righteousness was. They were indulging in self-righteousness as some Christians do today (1 Pet. 2:8). They were trying to earn their way to Heaven. We are to trust in Christ, and what He can do in us and in others instead of trusting in what we can do. The problem was not what the Jews (like some misguided, legalistic Christians today) were pursuing, but how they were going about it. Thus, their unbelief was rooted on their faulty thinking and how they saw righteousness. The Jews saw it through works only, their own efforts. However, their very own Torah said it only pointed to their depravity. And, the point even then was to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and trust in Him what you could do. The Old Testament Law was not to be only a glimpse in a window of the Savior to come, our depravity, what we are saved from, and a governing principle of what faith is. Legalistic Christians see righteousness as coming from following a set of rules made from pride instead of following Christ. Pride is one of the biggest barriers for us to hurdle (Phil. 3:1-11). The Jews had faith in their traditions and legalistic Christians in their regulations; neither had faith in the Lord. The question is, where does your faith lie (Rom. 2:5-16; 3:22; 5:10; 9:30)? Faith is the instrument for Righteousness but not the cause. Christ is the cause. Righteousness comes only by faith in Christ. Sola Fide, (“by faith alone”)

is the Reformational slogan that challenged and solidified what the Bible and the Christian faith was all about. This act is divinely initiated. It is grounded in the obedience of Christ who fulfilled the requirements for us. It is based on the faithfulness of our Lord, and not of our goodness. Our goodness comes from God’s working in us so we produce Fruit. Remember that all have fallen short of God's standards; sin has affected all of our being and all that of the world‘s. Even if we had not actually committed any evil, it is still our nature to do so. We have all sinned, some more than others, but the smallest sin falls way short of God's requirements. This is what "total depravity" and “original sin” are all about (Rom. 3:21-26; 1 Cor. 15:42-49; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 4:24; Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:10). Growing in faith, education, and commitment will prevent the practice of sin even though sin will still be present. The goal of the Christian life is to pursue righteousness, character, and maturity, all of which we get from the workings of the Spirit in us (Matt. 7:16-18; John 15:4-8; Gal. 2:22-23). If you feel stale and dry from lack of love and sympathy in your life, especially with God, you may have a big problem! Drop to your knees in surrendered prayer and seek His face! (Keep in mind that emotional levels differ with each personality; God does not care about our emotional level, only our faith, trust, and response for what He has done.) Seek what is blocking you from pursuing Righteousness and the understanding others and having sympathy. A true test of how Righteousness is working in us is the amount of love and sympathy we have for one another and the lost. This is what leads us to pray for even those we do not like. When we have faith in God, then we must have faith in His Word and be against everything that stands against it! Understanding Righteousness will help us understand who we are in Christ, what He is doing in us, in others, and in the world, and then what He requires of us. We then can respond better and faster to the opportunities and call He has for us. As we draw near to Him, we know and hear Him better! Let us live our lives and lead our churches because of the love and Righteousness He gives to us. Then, we can respond with gratitude and follow His good example in worship and servant hood. © 2005 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

Accountability Questions
Key passages: Proverbs 25:12; 27:17; Ecclesiastes 4:8-12; Romans 14: 1323; 2 Corinthians 12:19-13:6; Galatians 6: 1-6; Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 4:9-13; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; James 5:15-16; Hebrews 3:13

"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." -James 5:15-16 Accountability allows us to be answerable to one another, with the focus on improving our key relationships with people such as our spouse, close friends, colleagues, coworkers, a boss, small group members, or a pastor. Accountability will also enhance our integrity, maturity, character relationships in general, and our growth in Christ. Accountability is sharing, in confidence, our heartfelt Christian sojourn in an atmosphere of trust so we can give an answer for what we do, see where we need help, understand our struggles and where we are weak, and be encouraged to stay on track, seek prayer, care, and support when we fail, and model guideposts for one another to keep us going. Below are some key Accountability questions you can ask yourself and/or have a mentor ask you. These are designed for small groups and mentoring for those from high school youth to seasoned adults. They are for men’s groups, women’s groups, and so forth. Because of the number of questions, all you need to do is choose three or four questions for each week. If there is a particular struggle area, add that one, too. Also, incorporate one of the key passages above and spend significant time in prayer: 1. Did you spend significant time with God through His Word, prayer, quiet time, devotions, and other spiritual disciplines? How much; how constant? Is He your driving force? 2. What blocks your growth in Christ? What blocks growth, in your other relationships, from becoming more mature and effectual? 3. How has your time with God been? Did you pray for others? Are you satisfied with the time you spent with our Lord this week? How so? What can you do to improve it? Did you pray for the others in this group? 4. Have you faithfully served the Lord, His people, and the lost? 5. Did you go and participate in church activities and worship this week? How so? Why not? 6. Did you set spiritual goals this week? What were they? Did you achieve your spiritual goals? 7. Have you made your family a priority? What noteworthy activity or deed did you do for your spouse and/or family? 8. How have you struggled with sin? What are the sins that have weighed down your walk with God this week?

9. What did you do to enhance your relationship with your spouse/friends? What can you do to make that relationship better? 10. In what ways has God blessed you this week? How have you shared your blessings? 11. What disappointments did you face? Did they consume your thoughts? What did you do about it? What can you learn? 12. Have you filled the mandates of your call, work and school, practicing excellence, and being the best 100% as you can be for His glory? 13. Have you committed any sexual sin? Did you look at someone lustfully? Have you been alone in a compromising situation? Have you been flirtatious? Have you struggled with pornography or “romance novels?” Have you exposed yourself to any sexually oriented material? Did you put yourself in a situation with a member of the opposite sex that could appear to be compromising, even though it may not have been? 14. Have you shared your faith? In what ways? How can you improve? Have you had an opportunity to share with a non-Christian? 15. How well are you handling your finances right now? Have your financial dealings been questionable? 16. Have you been trustworthy? Have you lied? Stolen? Cheated? Been Dishonest or Manipulative? Have you elevated yourself over another for your own personal agenda? What about your language and attitude? 17. Have you allowed the media and its distortions in TV, music and movies to unduly influence you? What about peer pressure? 18. Have you been prideful? Have you been guilty of Gossip or Anger? Slandered? Shown Indifference? Been Greedy? Not Controlled your tongue? This hinders people from knowing and trusting Christ the most! 19. Have you demonstrated a servant's heart? How so? What have you done for someone else this week? 20. Did you struggle with a disappointment this week? How did you handle it? 21. Have you respected and treated your classmates, co-workers and peers graciously by showing them compassion and the love of God in your words and deeds? What can you do to enhance your relationships here?

22. How is your level of character, according to the comparison of Gal. 5:22-23 versus Gal. 5:19-21? 23. How did you practice joy this week? Have you had a thankful attitude toward God? Have you struggled with anger toward God? How so? What can you do about it? 24. Have you taken care of the temple of the Holy Spirit with rest, sleep, exercise, healthy eating, etc? What about addictions, gluttony, or substance abuse? 25. Has your thoughts been kept pure? 26. Are you giving to the Lord's work with your time, talent, and treasures? What about financially? 27. What do you need to do to improve your relationships with God and with others? 28. What do you see as your number one need or struggle for this next week? 29. Have you compromised your integrity in any way, or lied about the above questions? 30. How can this group help you? Take it slow and easy. Don't try, or even expect, to immediately delve into the deepest, darkest corners of your life. Begin by having your close friends hold you accountable for things like praying regularly and integrity issues. As you see the benefit and results of this, you will also be building up trust, which is necessary for accountability in more personal and private areas. If you need further help in this area, seek a qualified and trusted pastor or Christian counselor. Also, seek someone to whom you can be accountable. Do not just trust yourself; have a small group or mentor ask you these questions on a regular basis! “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long” (Psalm 32:3). If you fall away from these questions, or refuse to have someone hold you to them, then Satan will have a foothold in your life. These questions are not just for the pastor or church leader; they are for all Christians who want to live a life of integrity and significance. The failure to have accountability will produce sin. At that point, it is not a question of if you may fall, but, rather, when you will engage in sin and destroy everything in your life. The relationships and ministry God has given you as well as your family and those around you, for generations to come,

will be destroyed. Yes, there can be restitution and restoration, but the cost can never be completely repaid. Just look at King David; his sin had dire consequences with which we still live. "The highest proof of true friendship is the intimacy that holds nothing back and admits the friend to share our inmost secrets." -- Andrew Murray The Christian life offers glaring, empirical proof that "all of us make many mistakes," (James 3:2) and we are grateful for the forgiveness offered to us through Jesus Christ (1 John 2:1). © 1990, 2004 Richard J. Krejcir Into Thy Word www.intothyword.org

We are continuing to work on new Character studies, visit our website on the Chrarter page under Bible Studies to see what is current. Character Remember these resources are free for you! Most ministries only sell their materials, we feel we are doing what God has called us too, by going ahead and offering the best materials possible for free and seek support for doing so. There is no obligation but please consider supporting our ministry if you are able to do so. As these materials have cost us a tremendous amount of time effort and financial resources that have taken us years to develop for you! Feel free to pass this around to any pastor who is overseas or on the mission field who may need it! We also have several other “Pastors Training Packs” available in various languages on: “How to Study and Teach the Bible,” “How to Lead and Manage the Church” and many more. As a missions and discipleship organization it is our call to train pastors and provide resources to Christians and Church leaders all over the world. They may printout any information we have posted, reproduce it, make the needed cultural changes and translate it. All we ask of you is to keep us in prayer, keep the name of our ministry and any copyright information on the resources, and tell other pastors what we have to offer. If anyone does translate any of our material, please let us know and give us a copy so we can make them available to others in their language and culture!

Into Thy Word Ministries 129 South Lotus Avenue Pasadena, Ca 91107 info@intothyword.com
www.intothyword.org

Richard Joseph Krejcir is the Founder and Director of “Into Thy Word Ministries,” a missions and discipling ministry. He is the author of several books including, Into Thy Word, and A Field Guide to Healthy Relationships. He is also a pastor, teacher, and speaker. He is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California (M.Div.) and holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Practical Theology in London, England (Ph.D). He has garnered over 20 years of pastoral ministry experience, mostly in youth ministry, including serving as a church growth consultant. © 1986, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 Richard Joseph Krejcir, Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org info@intothyword.com

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