A Study of Character

I’ve been thinking a lot about character lately. I think I’ve always just assumed that as long as I did the right things that meant I was a person of good character. It has weighed heavy on my mind though recently and I find myself craving to know what the Bible says about good character (mainly focusing on the story of Joseph in Genesis). The story of Joseph (the dreamer) has been the one the Lord has used to speak to me. So, I went through and picked out the scriptures that show the sequence of events for Joseph during that season of his life:

Genesis 42:7 “Joseph recognized his brothers instantly, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them.

Genesis 43:29-34 “Then Joseph looked at his brother Benjamin, the son of his own mother. “Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?” Joseph asked. “May God be gracious to you, my son.” Then Joseph hurried from the room because he was overcome with emotion for his brother. He went into his private room, where he broke down and wept. After washing his face, he came back out, keeping himself under control. Then he ordered, “Bring out the food!” The waiters served Joseph at his own table, and his brothers were served at a separate table. The Egyptians who ate with Joseph sat at their own table, because Egyptians despise Hebrews and refuse to eat with them. Joseph told each of his brothers where to sit, and to their amazement, he seated them according to age, from oldest to youngest. And Joseph filled their plates with food from his own table, giving Benjamin five times as much as he gave the others. So they feasted and drank freely with him.
Genesis 45:3-5 “I am Joseph!” he said to his brothers. “Is my father still alive?” But his brothers were speechless! They were stunned to realize that Joseph was standing there in front of them. “Please, come closer,” he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives.”

This was, understandably, a very emotional time for Joseph. He went from anger, to tears, to the softening of his heart and making the choice to go above and beyond for his brothers. I’m sure he really just hoped he would never see his brothers again. It’s almost easier to harden your heart and push the memory of past hurts to the back of your mind. The only problem with that is that you hold yourself back from God’s blessing. He can’t use a person with a hardened heart. We can’t be tangled up in unforgiveness and expect to be able to sense the Lord’s leading, or be used to minister God’s love to someone else when we can’t love certain people in our own hearts.

I’ve been listening to message after message and podcast after podcast just to trying to keep myself in check with this. As with anything, I am tested in this area pretty much daily now that I am focusing on it. Yesterday I found myself just thanking God for His presence because it’s truly the only place you can find comfort and encouragement sometimes.

I was listening to a message by Holly Wagner of Oasis Church and she said “Character is tried under pressure”. That stuck out to me and really made me realize that hard times aren’t just hard for no reason. I can choose to get stuck in my head and feel worthless and less than or I can realize that this season is a test of my character and operate every day with that in mind. Realizing that each test is to perfect my character for those things that the Lord has prepared for me. I want so much to be known as a person of good character. I’m flawed and have made wrong decisions in the past out of anger or hurt, but I have to give those to the Lord and focus on the days ahead. So, I’m looking ahead. I’ve asked the Lord to “prepare me for things He has prepared for me” and this is part of that process, step-by-step, one day at a time.

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