Too often, in the Body of Christ, believers (including leaders) pursue the exercise of their gifts (charismata) without regard to the development of character. It must be said, however, that from God’s perspective, NO GIFT CAN REPLACE A CHRIST-LIKE CHARACTER. GOD’S WILL IS THAT WE HAVE BOTH THE GIFTS AND A CHRIST-LIKE CHARACTER!
If we have a Christ-like character, we will discover that the spiritual gifts function better. They will also bear more fruit in the lives of others, because there is a greater anointing on our lives.
A LIFELONG PURSUIT
How can we grow in Christ-like character, having balance, integrity, and the fruit of the Spirit? Here are some simple suggestions to start with:
1) submit your heart to God and other Christians;
2) develop a humble, teachable spirit;
3) pursue the development of the fruit of the Spirit in your life (Gal 5:16-26);
4) study the Word continually, always applying it to your personal life;
5) allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the “fleshly” attitudes in your own heart. Repent of these attitudes when they are revealed and make a fresh surrender to Christ often (Rom 13:14).
There is more that can be done. Meet regularly for prayer with other Christian leaders in an atmosphere of openness and mutual accountability. If you are not meeting with such a group, then attempt to organize such a regular meeting. The most dangerous thing a leader can do is to isolate himself. That is where pride, sin and deception can come in.
Surround yourself with other Christian leaders, and bear each others’ burdens (Gal 6:1-3).
We hope you will use these suggestions as an encouragement to be more diligent in your lifelong pursuit of being conformed to the image of Christ.