Day 43 – Cultivating Character
Brother Lawrence said that “we must cultivate faith, hope, and love, for these alone can conform us completely to the will of God. All other things are insignificant and we must not settle for them, but rather regard them as a bridge to be crossed quickly so we can lose ourselves in our sole end by confidence and love.”
Brother Lawrence claims that faith, hope, and love are the highest goals of character transformation.
These three Christian virtues are grouped together in verses such as 1 Thessalonians 5:8. “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” (Also see 1 Corinthians 13:13; Colossians 1:3-6; 1 Thessalonians 1:3.)
• Faith is being steadfast in our beliefs, confident in God’s action, trusting in God’s purposes.
• Hope is expecting to receive, refraining from despair, acknowledging that God is at work.
• Love is the selfless, unconditional, voluntary giving of ourselves to others.
A lack of faith may give place to skepticism and doubt. A lack of hope may give place to despair and cynicism. A lack of love may give place to resentment, hatred, anger, or indifference.
Not only do we as Christ followers “put off” our old self in our pursuit of knowing God, we also “put on” our new Christlike self (Ephesians 4:22-24).
Faith, hope, and love not only describe our actions. They describe our character development.
Are we characterized by faith, hope, and love? Do we exude faith, hope, and love? Would others describe us a person who prays in faith, lives in hope, and serves in love?
Character development most often takes place through difficult moments of life.
Our faith grows when we are forced to pray the hardest. Our hope grows when we go through a long, dark night. Our love grows when we are called to love the unlovely. Through Christ our scars change into stars.
Even so, cultivating character, according to Brother Lawrence, is just a quicker pathway to know God, like a bridge to be crossed.
Faith, hope, and love: Seek these. Grow in these. Become perfect in these. Settle for nothing less. God feels more at home within your soul when the character of Christ is present.
Question: Which one – faith, hope, or love – is your current growth point?
This is God’s Word for you today,