Welcome to Faith Connections Friday! I am so glad you are here! This blog series is for those who would like to deepen our faith connection. Our Monday blog starts our week with the intent of providing encouragement and inspiration. Friday starts our weekend to help redirect our focus. We have opportunities to worship corporately on weekends so we can be refreshed in our faith and connect with others in our local church body. As we wrap up our Friday, I will also include a short prayer that will help us focus on the content. It is my prayer that you will find the messages uplifting and inspiring as you start your weekend. Thank you for joining me, and I look forward to each Friday!
For our first series, I wanted to identify select attributes or characteristics of God and an associated life principle. We will go through the alphabet and examine a characteristic starting with that letter. An attribute or characteristic defines a person, how they are identified. Scripture teaches and encourages us to reflect God’s character and be like Him by “putting on” some of His characteristics (Colossians 3). Some of God’s characteristics we cannot put on, yet we can still learn from them and be encouraged.
An obvious part of the word, “characteristic,” is “character.” Character is basically associated with moral uprightness. Christ followers are continually in the process of becoming more Christlike through reading and meditating upon Scripture, prayer, and renewing our minds (Romans 12:2).
What we choose to think about is crucial to developing our character. Philippians 4:8 says we are to focus our mind on what is true, worthy of respect, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, or praiseworthy. What dominates your mind? Are your thoughts positive or negative? If you are struggling with negative thoughts or habits, one challenge this week is to turn around and speak declarations that are positive and Scriptural. Find verses that will help you focus more on those listed above. For example, if you struggle with your weight, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). If you struggle with negative thoughts, we are to “bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Say the Scriptures and declarations at the beginning of and throughout each day over and over, and your thoughts will change.
One of the most-quoted passages of Scripture at weddings is known as the “love chapter.” First Corinthians 13 describes the qualities of love as patient, kind, not arrogant or rude, does not dishonor others nor does it demand its own way, and love does not anger easily. Love always protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres. Have you considered that these (and the qualities listed in Philippians 4:8 above) are also attributes of God? He is all these things. And these are characteristics that we can develop in our own lives.
Helen Keller said, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” As we mature and experience life, we have opportunities to develop our character. Through difficult circumstances, we can choose to view them as training exercises to make us more like the character of Christ. Romans 5:3-5 says that difficult circumstances produce within us perseverance, character, and hope.
Our Faith challenge for this week: Review the passages in the Scriptures referenced. Identify one or two characteristics that you would like to develop in your life. As you worship in the corporate setting, focus your attention on the songs and the message to help guide you to developing these characteristics. For example, there is someone at work who makes you uncomfortable. Pray for them each day this week. By the end of the week, you will most likely have a different attitude about them. They may not be as hostile or difficult, OR your attitude may be different. Prayer does not always change the other person, but it will always change you.
Be blessed, my friend!
Father, thank You for this precious one. May they be encouraged and inspired to develop their character to be more like You. If they are currently in a challenging situation, may Your Word encourage them and bring them hope. Thank You. In Your name I pray, Amen.