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His Only Gift

The Gift Of His Character

CHAPTER ELEVEN

One's character is essentially who he is. We are also creators of those things which support the ideas of our character. Man, of himself, can only see what his own character projects. It is like a computer that can only do what it is programmed to do. So it is with mere man. From our earliest years our characters are formed. This formation begins in the womb and ends when we die. Character building is the work of a lifetime, whether for good or for evil. Our characters can only be one of two kinds. The one character is formed after the man as its center and the other is formed with God as the center.

Who Is Our Center?

The man-centered character has a context of many facets. One, and perhaps the most basic of all, is fear. When fear is the basis of one's character, he will bring all things to reality from fear. "The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him...." (Pr. 10:24.) It is also written another way. "The fear of man bringeth a snare...." (Pr. 29:25.) Jesus often stated that all things come to us according to our faith. This is precisely true of fear, since fear is faith in that evil we imagine will come to us. One believes that those things which he fears will come and so it is with his fear. Job said, "For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me." (Job 3:25.) In my own life when I realized this I ceased fearing, for I knew I didn't want that thing which I feared. Even so, there are those who do want what they fear.

This obsession is a mystery. Some who fear nuclear war set out to build atom bombs. Some who fear monsters spend untold hours at the movies or transfixed before their television sets watching monsters. Others who fear relationship problems cannot be pulled away from their afternoon soap opera. What is it that brings a man to destroy himself? Why do men insist on guaranteeing their own failure?

Fear Is Formed

Fear is formed early. When parents train their little ones it is often with no more sense than an animal. Sometimes it is with less sense. A little child innocently walks about the living room of his home and accidently bumps a potted plant. To the child nothing happened. He had no understanding of what a pot falling on the floor means anymore than wind blowing. But often the parent will fly into a rage over this plant of little value and destroy the confidence of the child who now fears, not so much that he will bump a plant, as the monster that attacks for no reason. If the parents continue to act in these circumstances as if they had no mental power at all, the child will only do that in which he has been trained. He will be afraid and often without reason. As fears are created by the things which he sees and hears, he will finally fear for nothing. By and by, according to the laws of the universe, he will bring his fears to pass. Without the gift of God, man is doomed to receive those curses in life related to his fears, since he has no ability to see that life is any different. The earthly mind can only believe that there is something to be afraid of.

There is another trait of character that is closely related to fear and that is the idea of "victim." One imagines that some force out there has done something to him. The victim expresses the idea that "a burglar robbed me." He might say, "A drunk hit me at the intersection." He sees others or circumstances doing something to him. By this, he will continually feel oppressed by others and, in so doing, oppress others. If he is a cowardly type, he will work that out by being oppressive to his child. We have read where one is a victim of a shooting or a victim of an accident. The context of life that designs this idea is the context that will also continue the idea.

Man Of Himself Is Always Self-Centered

Again, it should be noted that the mind of man can do nothing else. He can only see others doing something to him. In this state of mind he is virtually under the control of those who feed him his information. I have a friend who was in Germany at the time of the second World War. It interested me to know how the German people were made to invade the countries around them. He shared with me it was the media. When one listens to the news and he is simply working from his carnal mind, he is virtually captive of that news. He can be made to believe anything. This is easily done when one has a character formed around the proposition of victim. It is more easily accomplished when he has a good portion of fear that lubricates the victim. In this way wars are virtually guaranteed.

Satan cannot make people have wars, but he can give people information that if acted upon will bring war. The only way we can be destroyed is if we destroy ourselves. Our context of life which flows from our character will decide our future. The interesting thing about life is, since circumstances flow from our own ideas, circumstances will ultimately provide evidence for the way we think things are. In other words, the lie will always seem true since there is sufficient evidence flowing from us to support it. The only way one can break this pattern is to accept that God may have told the truth. In accepting this idea our circumstances change because we adopt new ideas as to how life works.

Your Character Creates Your Circumstances

"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." (Pr. 4:23.) It could as easily be said, "Keep your character with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." Life's issues come out of who you are. "No truth does the Bible more clearly teach than that what we do is the result of what we are. To a great degree the experiences of life are the fruition of our own thoughts and deeds. 'The curse causeless shall not come'." (Ed. 146.)

Others have adopted the context of failure. These fail and encourage others to fail also. They have been trained and these train others that life is the "pits" and after that you die. These are certain that no one truly succeeds without some dishonest action. They think those that have, got there by taking from those who have not. If they enter a home where people have more, they consider them evil. If they enter a home where people have less, they see themselves as blessed. Their own failure is only their own creation. How many young children have heard that "you just can't make it in this world" or "you can't fight city hall." As with other human-minded men they can only live after the maxims of the world. These maxims are spoken often and believed completely. The character is made to develop in this way.

Condemnation is another context of the natural man. A young child soon learns what it is to be condemned, usually from parents and peers. He learns that whatever he does is not right. He learns that whatever he does is stupid. Over and over he is reminded of his failings and, so, for his defense he develops the very things he has hated in order to defend himself from them. As time goes on, he continues to be condemned and condemn. When one, such as this, joins religious circles he is often seen as one who is especially righteous, since his major emphasis is on the wrong of everyone and everything. In reality, he is simply condemned and his reactions to that condemnation are predictable.

It can be seen that men everywhere view their particular position as correct. Of all the billions on the earth there are that many points of view and none are the same. Yet, each one of these humans all see themselves as having the true view of life. Everyone's life is the result of their characters, yet, no two lives are the same. This should give one incentive to search out the creations of his own life. It should bring a man to say, "I will make my life as I want it to be." "I will give up these creations of mine that continually bring me suffering." This can be done in any heart. We need not be as the next man, but there is no sense in designing life to cause us harm and death.

Developing A Perfect Character

The Savior of the world developed a perfect character. His thoughts and feelings were righteousness and justice. This character He has offered us. When one accepts the gift of God he accepts God's own character. He now accepts the view of life that God gives through His Son. "But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth." (1 John 2:20-21.) Since the mind of God has become our mind, we are given a new context of life. It is not the old context which operates off of the notion that we are the center of all things, but it is a new view that comes from the mind of God. This is why true Christians have perfect harmony. They are able to see the picture as if from God's eye. The Word of God becomes true for them.

"He who by faith receives the word is receiving the very life and character of God." (COL 38.) If one has been trained in condemnation, he now accepts by faith the word that says, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Rom. 8:1.) When one walks after the flesh he is walking after those things which he can see and feel. He walks by sight and not by faith. This man can only operate from his traditions and family superstitions, thereby, receiving unto himself condemnation. But with the man who walks after the Spirit, all things are new. He sees as he has never seen before. He sees things from a spiritual perspective and not a fleshly one.

When one has been taught that he is a failure, he now understands that, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Phil. 4:13.) "The obstacles that are piled by Satan across your path, though apparently as insurmountable as the eternal hills, shall disappear before the demand of faith. 'Nothing shall be impossible unto you.'" (DA 31.) Since God knows there is nothing impossible, all who are in Him also know that. Even though Mother and Father spent many years telling them how some things were impossible, the Christian now knows those things are not true. Jesus was victorious in every area because He accepted the word of God as true, rather than the word of His parents or the word of His church teachers.

When one is raised with fear as his object of life, the gift of God gives him freedom from that. "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." (1 John 4:18.) "But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil." (Prov. 1:33.) This is the gift of God. Our fear is removed and we are at rest. This is the true meaning of the Sabbath day. No man can keep the Sabbath day while fear rules him. The rest of Christ is the release of the fear of all evil. The character of God is fearless and so it is with all who partake of Him.

Most of life's problems would disappear if men could only see that they are not a victim. If they could see themselves as creators of their circumstances, they would be much more creative of the good. But the natural man cannot see the things over which he stumbles. "The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble." (Prov. 4:19.) Since the wicked only have the mind of man it is not possible for them to see. It is not possible for man to be in unity and peace. He always sees some other force getting at him. Not so with the one who has Christ. These know the cause and effect truth of God's own character. These know that what they sow they reap. The mind of God shows them the errors of the path. They can see what it is that causes man to stumble. This is the development of character. This is victory.

As with Job, God can lead all believers to see the nature of God. "The Lord is known by the judgment which he executeth...." (Ps 9:16.) These learn His ways. As the people of God resist the temptation to evil and resist the temptation to retaliate for the evil that appears to overtake them, they find that this character of Christ that they have is developed. Righteousness and judgment increase by this process. One does not attain perfection of character by sinning less and less. Sin develops a sinful character. A righteous character is developed by a constant resistance of evil. It is developed by never yielding to the tempter. "God calls us to reach the standard of perfection and places before us the example of Christ's character. In His humanity, perfected by a life of constant resistance of evil, the Saviour showed that through co-operation with divinity human beings may in this life attain to perfection of character." (AA 531.)

Temptation Is Not The Problem

Temptation is not the culprit. Yielding to temptation in thought or action is the only thing that will bring man down. Christ shows us that the temptation resisted is the key to development. "Temptation is resisted when man is powerfully influenced to do a wrong action and, knowing that he can do it, resists, by faith, with a firm hold upon divine power. This was the ordeal through which Christ passed." (YI July 20th 1899) As the character is developed and strengthened by constant resistance to evil, the time goes by when the temptation that once put pressure on us no longer does.

This process does not make you better. It makes you more developed. This process can only begin when all sin is removed from the life. Jesus did not begin a life of character development by sinning less and less. He began a life of character development free from sin. When we are freed from sin at the beginning of our walk, we now have the place to stand to develop character. One does not make a tree by having that tree become less and less a cabbage. A tree is always a tree and it develops more perfectly. When a soul receives the new heart he is perfectly new. Now that heart develops more perfectly.

Love The Good, Refuse The Evil

Character is developed perfectly as the thoughts and feelings suggested by Satan are repulsed as hateful. "There are thoughts and feelings suggested and aroused by Satan that annoy even the best of men; but if they are not cherished, if they are repulsed as hateful, the soul is not contaminated with guilt, and no other is defiled by their influence." (RH March 27th 1888) This is true not only with those thoughts which are associated with the passions of the flesh, but with those thoughts that suggest failure, victimization, and condemnation. The character of God resists any thought as repulsive that is against the plain statements of God. When one sees danger and loss ahead he remembers, "Behold, I give unto you power to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you." (Luke 10:19.) When any thought is repulsed that does not harmonize with the Word of God, the perfect character of Christ is developed.

This is God's only gift. He does not give one anything less than this. Our future is perfectly described in the Word of God. We have nothing to fear, for His Word gives us all things. When the character of God has finished its process and the work on this earth is finished, all who have received this gift will leave this earth in a blaze of light. This translation will be the perfect workings of the nature of God. With those who live after the order of the mind of man, there will only be destroying fire. Men reach for their weapons of war and nature responds to the assault. Men will destroy themselves since that is the fruit of the character they have developed.

My encouragement to the reader of this book is to receive this character of God. Yield up to His loving care. He will not fail you. If you will yield up all things and let the sins which so easily come upon you go, you will find that perfect victory which Christ Himself developed. You will grow in perfection with a life that experiences uninterrupted victory.


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