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“The point of your life is to point to Him. Whatever you are doing, God wants to be glorified, because this whole thing is His. It is His movie, His world, His gift.”  — Francis Chan
The big idea today is that the depth of your character will determine the vertical depth and horizontal reach of your influence.
The further and faster your influence extends, the deeper your foundation of character and conviction must be.
Public service requires private submission.
Build who you are off the stage and behind the stage and beside the stage way before you start thinking about getting on the stage.
Have you ever met someone and they talked a good talk but didnt walk the walk?  How did you feel? Disappointed?  Let down?  As a youth pastor and as a person I am always thinking what is it like to live on the other side of me?  What do people see when they see my life?  Am I living in such a way that those who see me will want to know God more?
We all are growing credibility accounts with people – and our character will either make deposits or withdrawls in that account.
Spiritual maturity isn’t based on how much truth you know, but on how much truth you live.
Jesus is interested in our heart and our behaviour.  His mission is to transform us  The good news is we dont have to clean ourselves up ever to come to Him but that He is at work in us to make us willing to be transformed.  Christianity isnt a bunch of rules but about a relationship but the way we live our lives does matter and make a difference, first with our vertical relationship with God, and secondly in the horizontal relationships with the people in our world.
 

So lets define – what is character?  We’re going to get onto specific characteristics in a moment, but what overall is character?
 
Character is who God knows us to be. It is who we are when no one else is looking. We are what we have been becoming. The test of character is what we would do if no one ever knew. Character is in large measure a function of our integrity, convictions and moral fortitude.
Character is influenced and developed by our choices. Daniel “resolved not to defile himself” in Babylon (Daniel 1:8), and that godly choice was an important step in formulating integrity in his life.
Character, in turn, influences our choices.
The integrity of the upright guides them,
but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.  (Proverbs 11:3a)
Character will help us weather the storms of life and keep us from sin
Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.
 
So what are some characteristics of good character?
– keep your word
– integrity
– authenticity
– serving
– humble
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

1 Timothy 4:12-13 ESV

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.

Colossians 3:12-15 ESV

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
What shapes and influences our character?
CIRCUMSTANCE
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
WORD OF GOD – Romans 12:2 do not be conformed, 2 Tim 3:16
DAILY LIFE –  the patterns we cultivate shape the person we each become.  Habits, the patterns we live our life on, create standard operating procedures in our life and are the fuel to get to the finish line.
FRIENDS – iron sharpens iron – in good ways, and in bad ways
Never underestimate what God is doing in and through your life and how powerful having a good consistent character is: Even in the most darkest place there are people listening and watching – sometimes you are in the darkest place to shine to those people the light would not reach by any other way… “About midnight Paul and  Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners  were listening to them.” Acts 16:25
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