Pastor Herna

Cultivating Christlike Character

Tim LaHaye in his book, You and Your Family, writes about the family trees of two men who lived in the 18th century. One of them was Jonathan Edwards, the great puritan preacher who shook new England for the Lord Jesus Christ. The other was Max Jukes, a contemporary of Jonathan Edwards. The latter was a godless man who married a godless woman. He had 1026 descendants of whom 300 died prematurely, 100 were sent to prison, 190 were prostitutes, and 100 were known drunks. On the other hand, the former had 729 descendants of whom 300 were preachers, 65 were college professors, 13 were authors, 3 were congressmen, and 1 was vice president of the United States.

From these two family-trees, we can see that the character of an ancestor has a bearing on his descendants. The ancestor is a role model or mentor to his descendants. He shapes their character. If the descendants are guided by an ancestor worthy of emulation, they learn to recognise and imitate his various virtuous dispositions and habits, and emotional and intellectual qualities.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we imitate Him as He is our role model (Ephesians 5:1). God’s ultimate concern for us in our life on earth is not that of our comfort but that of our character development. He wants us to grow spiritually and become like Christ (Romans 8:28-29). Christlike character can be cultivated from Biblical truths that penetrate our heart. This is only possible if someone studies the word of God and meditates on it, along with all its meaning and application. It is a proven fact that doctrine (the teaching of God’s Word) influences one’s character. What someone believes greatly influences his character and actions. If he accepts and follows sound teachings, then those teachings will produce divine character in him—the character of Christ. Paul advised Timothy to “watch yourself and watch your teaching” (1 Timothy 4:6,13,16).

Let us imitate Christ’s character so that we will not be a stumbling block in our proclamation of the Gospel and God’s name will be glorified.