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What character qualitites would Jesus like to help you develop this year?
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” John 15:4
“It’s a new year! What are you planning to do this year? Start a diet, exercise more, read the Bible more, organize your closets?” We usually ask each other the same questions every year. But those endless projects usually share one common factor: “doing.” And there’s nothing wrong with that. But as I took a closer look at the life of Jesus, I discovered He seems more interested in who I am, rather than what I do. In other words, Jesus cares more about my character than He does my activity. Yes, He gave active instructions to the disciples: “Go…teach…baptize… make disciples….” And we are to follow those same teachings. But how many of Jesus’s parables involved showing mercy, forgiveness, grace, and love—all the qualities of Jesus’s own life?
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Paul echoed this principle in Colossians 3:12 (NKJV): “put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long suffering.” Even James, the half brother of Jesus, emphasized character development. In fact, he offered the right balance between both “being” and “doing”: “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do” (James 2:18, NIV). Both are important, but one is impossible without the other. The disciples asked Jesus, “‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’ Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent’” (John 6:29, niv).
In other words, abide. It’s all about relationship. Stay connected to Jesus so the actions will flow naturally from the character of Jesus growing within. I shortened my New Year’s list this year: “Stay close to Jesus. Abide in Him.” Because when the character grows, the right actions will follow.
Faith step: What character qualities would you like Jesus to develop in you this year?