This series is exploring a simple concept: you reap what you sow. In anything in life, if we sow good seeds we will reap a good harvest, and if we sow the wrong seeds we won’t get the result we want, or we’ll have no harvest at all. This week we look at character: a set of features or traits that shape the inward nature of a person; in other words, the inward values that shape our outward actions. We’ve shaped our character since we were born, and there have been people who have influenced us along the way: parents, family, teachers, coaches. If we were lucky we were shaped with good influences. Even if we were not, the good news is that God wants to shape our character – he wants to shape us in a certain way and he is constantly at work doing so. God is good, loving, kind, just, and is mindful of us – this is his character. He created us in his image, but since the Fall of Adam and Eve, all humanity has separated in some way from God; and since God is not controlling and manipulative, he let us go and is now separate from his creation. As a result, we have a deep longing in our hearts to know God, to love him and to connect with and love others.
Think about any good movie that has a hero who wants something and has to overcome some conflict to get it. In the story of salvation, God wants a relationship with us, and he has to overcome our sinful nature, our walking away from him. What is our story? We can tap into our deep longing for God in order to reconcile with him and strengthen our character. In Galatians 6:7-9 we hear a part of this story: “Make no mistake: God is not mocked, for a person will reap only what he sows, because the one who sows for his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows for the spirit will reap eternal life from the spirit. Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up.” Part of our story is overcoming our tendency to sow in the flesh. We sow in the flesh in many ways, but all of us desire to sow in the spirit. Start with seeking out character traits that God wants for you (for example Proverbs 11): I suggest just writing down a few that you desire for yourself. It could be patience, kindness, purity, self-confidence, patience, or many different other things. Questions to reflect on:
How would you describe Christ’s character? What traits are reflected in your character?
Where do you think you need to grow most to be like Christ in your character? Why do you answer as you do?
What’s in your way of having the type of character you want? What needs to go in order for you to get there?
What are you sowing in God’s name or that you are proud of?
How can you increase the sowing of good deeds in your life?
How do you feel about the idea that reaping a good harvest or reward from having good character might not come in this lifetime, but in eternal life? Is it still worth pursuing good character?