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Dream Killers & What to do About Them (5 of 7)

Mike Connell

Page 3 of 10
See so your character - here, I'll give you a definition; your character is who you are, when no one but God is looking. See over the years I've found many people try and impress me, try and impress me with their gifts, their ability, they try and do all kinds of things. They try and put on a good show, but what really counts over the long term, is what is this person really like in their inward life? What kind of person is there? What sort of world view do they have? What values do they really have? What kind of attitudes do they have? What sorts of choices do they make when they're under pressure? How do they treat people? That's a big one - how do they treat people? Are people someone that I can use to get where I want to get, or are people someone precious to invest in, because God values them?

So motivation in the world, and particularly with this younger generation, is use everyone and everything to get where you want to get and fulfil yourself. Believe me, that's the path of destruction. The path that God wants us to walk on is quite different to that, and involves the shifting and changing of who we are on the inside. See, the world is concerned with what you look like - God is concerned with what you are like. World's concerned with image and appearance, so it's all about dressing right, being with the right people, connecting to the right people. I've even seen it in the church. I've seen Pastors - I'd look at it and I'd shake my head, I've seen them deliberately try to get near someone, so they can influence them, someone important, someone anointed, so this thing's everywhere. It's something in the heart of people, but God wants to teach us how to grow, and how to develop - so your character's who you really are, how authentic you are. It's who you are when no one's looking.

So let's have a look then at how God develops your character, and then we'll look at one example and I want to show you, this guy and man, there's this great guy. This really is classic, but most of the time we look at guys in the Bible, we say that couldn't be me - but actually it's there to teach us. So here it is in James, Chapter 1. How does God develop your character? Well actually God provides help, you actually develop your character. God provides you the help, you're the one who develops the character. Here it is, James 1, My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing the testing of your faith produces patience or courageous endurance. But patience, let patience develop in your life or do its complete work - now notice this - so you may be mature and lacking in nothing. In other words what God's saying is that there is a process to get you from where you are to where God wants you to be. Lovely to have the vision and the dream - don't let it go. Develop it, plan it, work towards it, but there is a journey to get from where you are to get to where you want to be.

In that journey, unfortunately there is a thing called trials, pressures, difficulties, set backs, pains, griefs, disappointments. Believe me, if you're alive today, that's part of your life. There wouldn't be anyone in the room hasn't griefs, disappointments, set backs, frustrations, things not happening like you planned, like you wanted, people doing all kinds of weird things, people letting you down, people doing all kinds of crazy stuff. All of us face this. This is life, so if you're going through pressures, trials and difficulties, then welcome to life. Everyone has that life, including Christians. In fact Christians often have some additional pressures, trials, difficulties and hassles just because they're following Christ. Never wanted it, it just happened, you know? Talk to Paul.

So it tells us here, two things to do in the face of pressures and difficulties. The first one we realise is that pressures, trials and difficulties are used by God to develop courageous endurance inside you, to develop character that can stand and last the distance. That's the point of them. They produce something in your life. Notice it says, notice the trying of faith works. It actually produces something in your life, so the trying of your faith is where you are tested to see the quality of your trust and walk with God. How authentic are you? How deep are you? How committed to God are you? Do you walk out your faith? Is it something you do on Sunday, come and sing a few songs, look nice, feel good, go home? Or is this something that day by day you are walking out, trusting God?