Here are six things that Paul spoke about:
- Righteousness doesn’t refer to the believer’s imputed righteousness which we receive from Christ at salvation but outward righteousness. Because God saved us and made us righteous, believers should pursue a lifestyle of righteousness (Ephesians 2:10). This includes, but is not limited to, serving others, caring for the neglected, evangelizing the lost, making disciples believers, and worshipping God. The man of God is in constant pursuit of these things.
- Godliness can be translated as god-likeness. The word has the connotation of reverence for God. It focuses on inward qualities instead of outward ones. A godly person has a holy reverence about them—desiring to honour, please, and reflect God in everything.
- Faithfulness could mean dependability. The man of God is trustworthy in his endeavours. His yes means yes and his no means no. Or it could mean “faith”—daily depending on God as we abide in him and seek his face (cf. John 15:5). The man of God knows that on his own, he can do nothing, so he constantly abides in God’s Word and prayer. He has great faith in God. Are you pursuing greater faithfulness and greater faith?
- Love is the Greek word “agape”—referring to godlike love. Often in our culture, we think that one shouldn’t have to work at love—it just happens. We just “fall in love,” as it is effortless. However, that is not true of biblical love. It is an act of the will that takes work and sacrifice. God commands us to not only love our neighbour but to love our enemy. We must work to love our enemy—we must stretch ourselves. It’s the same with loving others. Are you pursuing love?
- Endurance in Greek means to “bear up under” something. It is how the man of God strives to go through trials and difficulties. Our natural response to trials is to quit or give up, but enduring bears gracious fruits in our lives. Romans 5:3-4 says we should rejoice in suffering because it produces perseverance (or endurance), perseverance creates character and character hope. Sadly, instead of enduring, most waste the grace in trials by complaining, getting angry at people, and angry at God. If we endure, God can develop character in our lives through trials.
- Gentleness refers to our response to difficult people. Instead of responding in anger or with impatience, the man of God seeks to respond in a gentle manner. It has the connotation of power under control. How do you respond to difficult people?
Are you pursuing a godly character? It doesn’t just happen—it must be continually pursued.
If you had to pick one of the six character traits to focus on in your spiritual life, which would you choose and why?