And endurance develops strength of character,
and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
Let me develop strong character—a character that does not waiver with conflict or with temptation; I must have a strong character to finish the course, to effect change. I will hope in my salvation and I will hope in this change. Character cannot always be seen but it can always be known. Let my character be Godly, let it reflect your holiness and your grace. Let my character reflect that of a Godly leader.
Character in the battle burns a lot of fuel. When your character runs out of fuel, you will draw once again from your flesh. For character fuel, I like the formula I shared at a recent men’s retreat:
- Nurturing environment. A safe place to sink your roots. This is a healthy combination of community and solitude. A loving family. A few close friends who meet weekly or more often. Daily disciplines of unhurried solitude with God, while sitting in your favorite chair.
- Intentional growth. Taking responsibility for your own soul keeping. Reading. Journaling. Daily exercise. Healthy eating. Learning from mentors. Pursuing help in areas where you are weak, sick, or undeveloped. Anticipatory Development.
- Pursuing God as hard as you can. Even when there isn’t a crisis, pursue him hard today, even harder tomorrow. This develops closeness with God, constantly hearing the Holy Spirit’s whispers, and extra margin for when you’re in a crisis.
- Sowing now what you want to reap later. Pursuing high dreams and aspirations gives you strength to push through the hard times. Then you won’t measure your life by how hard or easy it is today, but by whether you’re moving forward toward your goals. You’ll boldly set seemingly impossible, “only God” goals and push toward them with hope and courage.
Here’s another dimension of sowing and reaping. When you’re laboring with God, you often reap more than you thought you would. You can cash in and retire, or you can take a modest portion for yourself and reinvest toward a greater harvest. That’s when you’re becoming a healthy tree that provides shelter and fruit for others.