JOHN SHIRK – Yield signs are commonly found on entrance ramps onto a highway, which means that we are supposed to give the right-of-way to traffic already on the highway. If no one is coming, we can keep going. But if a vehicle is on the highway next to us as we try to enter, then we need to slow down and let them go by before we enter.
Yielding to God means that we give Him the right-of-way to direct our lives. We are willing to submit and surrender ourselves to His authority and purposes. It can be a dangerous thing to interpret a yield sign as though it was a green light. Before proceeding with our plans, it is good to commit our plans to God first.
Sometimes, God will stop us from going forward into a place that is not in line with His will for our lives. At other times, He will say, “Go” into areas that are blessed by His will. God’s guidance will be accompanied by opportunities and gifts of service that bring glory to Jesus Christ. Joshua said in Joshua 24:23, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.” A yielded heart is focused on doing things God’s way in God’s timetable, and for His glory.
A yielding spirit is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – Genuineness can be defined by sincerity and honesty, being real and authentic.
Sometimes, God will bring trials in our lives to refine the genuineness of our faith. When others see our endurance in the faith through tough times, the witness of our faith is proven to be pure and sincere. Speaking of trials, First Peter 1:7 says that “these have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold……-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
With a genuine faith, the expression of our words and actions reflects the intent of our heart. As we follow Jesus, He moves us away from hypocrisy toward a genuine faith that expresses His sincere love for the people He has made. In the Bible, the Apostle Paul described Timothy as a person who took genuine interest in the welfare of the church. Where there is genuine interest in the well-being of others, there is love and a commitment to bring blessing.
Genuineness is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – One definition of praise is to joyfully thank and adore God. When we praise God, we celebrate His goodness and grace. With a heart of praise, we remember who He is and His accomplishments on our behalf. The Gospel message includes the cross of Christ and the empty grave. Our hope rests on the death and resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
Each day is an opportunity to lift up the name of Jesus as the name above all names. Music is an instrument of praise used in the church frequently to bring glory to God in worship services.
Our hearts are edified and the name of Jesus is glorified when we praise Him with sincere hearts. Psalm 147:1 says, “Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!”
Praise is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – Devotion is defined as “profound dedication.” An attachment to a cause or person is usually what prompts us to be profoundly dedicated to that cause or person.
The grace of Jesus is what draws us to wholehearted devotion to the Gospel. We love because He first loved us. When His love captures our heart, we are motivated to live for the glory of His name. We have a cause to live for outside of ourselves, and that cause is the Gospel.
Christians often hear about having devotions, a daily quiet time that includes prayer and Bible study. Colossians 4:2 urges us to “devote ourselves to prayer.” In First Timothy 4:13, church leaders are instructed to devote themselves to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and teaching. And Titus 3:14 urges us to be devoted to doing what is good. Devotion to these practices provides an opportunity to know Jesus better, and to grow deeper in our devotion to Him.
Devotion is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – Agility is a term for the mind and the feet.
It means the ability to think and draw conclusions quickly.
It also means, the power of moving quickly and easily.
First Peter 1:13 is a verse that calls for agility of our minds.
The New International Version urges us to “prepare our minds for action.” And the King James Version urges us to “gird up the loins of our minds.” In the first century, the reader was challenged to literally gather up his long, flowing garment and be ready to move.
Sometimes, when a request is made of someone, their willingness to help can be understood by how promptly and quickly they respond to that request. With a sober mind, we are ready to respond quickly to the voice of God when He calls us into action. One of the pieces of armor that God wants us to wear for the spiritual battles of life is ready feet to take the good news of Jesus to the streets.
Agility is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – The definition of “rely” is to depend on with full trust or confidence.
To fully rely on God means that we can lean all our weight on His grace and trust in His capacity to support us.
His love is able to keep us from falling into the depths of depravity.
His love is able to forgive our sins authentically and completely.
His love is able to bring out the potential that God designed us for.
His love is able to work through us to accomplish His redemptive purposes on earth.
His love expresses His view of us as valuable.
His love is able to lift us to heaven beyond our final breath.
God’s love for us is sincere, powerful, and merciful. His love reaches out to us through Jesus Christ, inviting us to say “Yes” to His plan for our lives and to follow Jesus. First John 4:15 and 16 says, “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.”
Reliance is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – Concern can be defined as a matter of personal interest or importance. Concern is expressed in various ways, including caring, sharing, and praying. A person who is concerned is willing to enter the world of someone else, even if it means hearing about the mess of their lives.
If we sense someone having a difficult day, we can raise some questions to give them the opportunity to open up, and then give them our attention.
What is getting you down? Are you all right? Is there anything I can do to help?
According to First Corinthians 12:25, God’s will for the church is that each “part should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
Concern is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – Transparency is defined by openness, frankness, and candor. There are no hidden agendas in a transparent person. They don’t wear masks, or use deception. Transparency gives others a window into our joys, sorrows, concerns, and shortcomings. Yes, there is risk, and yes, transparency is a vulnerable place to be.
Transparency is also a place of spiritual breakthroughs. This happens in a supportive atmosphere. James 5:16 says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
Leadership sets the tone for transparency to thrive. The Apostle Paul told the Thessalonian church, “You know we never used flattery, nor did we put up a mask to cover up greed-God is our witness.” He also said, “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.”
Transparency is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – Developing a godly perspective comes about as we see the world in the way that God sees the world. With a godly perspective, our interpretation of events and circumstances flows out of seeking to understand how God sees the picture. We don’t need human reasoning to develop a godly perspective. We need Divine revelation. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
Seeking God in prayer and seeking God in the Bible are essentials for better understanding how God views the world.
Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and you will find me when you seek me with all your heart.” With God’s perspective, we learn of His love for lost souls to the degree that He “so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” That is a godly perspective on the world. God teaches us to hate the sin in the world and to love the people in the world, so that they might be saved from their sins through faith in Jesus Christ.
A Godly Perspective is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – Temperance can be described as using restraint with the expression of our thoughts, actions, or feelings. This character quality surfaces in the form of either moderation or abstinence of certain activities.
Ned Holmgren said, “Temperance means the abstinence from all that is evil, and the moderate use of all that is good.” Just because we can do something does not mean it is beneficial or constructive.
Even good things can become a hindrance to spiritual growth if it becomes too important or violates someone else’s conscience. Temperance appears in the list of qualities of the fruit of the Spirit in the King James version of the Bible. Other translations use the word “self-control” instead. With temperance, we are careful not to be sidetracked by anything that threatens to derail us from doing God’s will. The overindulgence of alcohol, food, sports activities, or computer-time can have a negative effect on our well-being and hinder the development of healthy relationships. Temperance challenges us to make time for different activities under the sun, and for those activities to bring glory to God.
Temperance is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.