Stop Acting Out of Character
Published October 23, 2023
Table of Contents
2. Acting in Character
3. Acting Out of Character
4. How One Becomes Complacent
– Relaxing because of who you are
– Being tolerate, fearful, and ashamed
5. Be True to Yourself
– Grow and mature in your identity
– You are a blessing
6. Coming Under Fire
– Carrying out our responsibility
Watch & Listen
Do you know who you are? Over the past few weeks I have asked this question with the hope of inspiring all who will read, watch, or listen to these sermons to know that they are, or should be, a child of God. When you come to know that you are a child of God, then you should always be true to your identity as His child. Sadly, there are many who declare themselves as a child of God but they don’t play the part; they act out of character; they don’t walk in the identity of Christ.
Acting in Character
So, how does one go about walking in the identity of Christ? In Matthew 22:36-40, Jesus called on true believers to act out of love: we are to love the Lord, and in that love, we are to love all people. Earlier in His ministering years, in Matthew 5:43-46, Jesus taught that the character of those true to the faith is, again, based on the love of God; we are to not only love those that love us, but we are to love the stranger, as well as those that despise, hate, and persecute us.
Jesus said that when we move in this manner of God’s grace, compassion, and love for all, we will be perfect, just as our Father in heaven is perfect (Matt. 5:48). Now, when Paul taught Jesus’ lesson, he summed up by saying we are to aim to be imitators of (exactly like) our heavenly Father (Eph. 5:1).
Many of us already know what our character should be but that does not stop us from acting out of character, does it? Rather than moving out of love, some of us move out of bitterness, wrath, and hatred which we know does not produce the righteousness of God (Jas. 1:20). We often blame the devil for when we act out of character, but when do we hold ourselves accountable for when we act out of character?
Acting Out of Character
The true cause behind our acting out of character is when we become sluggish – complacent – in our hearts (in our faith). As I have said before, complacency is another great adversary that all believers face. Let us remember that the church of the Laodiceans, the lukewarm church, suffered greatly because it had a complacent, apathetic, spirit (Rev. 3:15-16).
Now, we know that the Lord despises the spirit of complacency because it causes His children to act out of character. So, let’s consider: How does one become complacent in their hearts?
How One Becomes Complacent
One of the first places where complacency actually starts is through gained knowledge. Now, this one is quite scary because I want you to gain the knowledge of knowing who you are as a child of God. However, many stop walking by faith once they gain this knowledge; they kick back thinking they got it made. Yet, the Lord calls on His children to know Him and to be in fellowship with Him.
Relaxing because of who you are
History shows us what happens when one knows they are special in God’s eyes but become complacent. Israel and Judah both fell into sin because they sat stuck in their souls on the thought of being God’s chosen; they didn’t believe they needed to live in obedience to His instructions and could still please Him with their offerings (Is. 1:11-13). During Jesus’ day, He came to the Jews with the divine truth and many turned Him away saying that they were already free from sin because they were Abraham’s descendants (John 8:31-33).
Today I say to you that history is seemingly repeating itself within the church as many have joined church, been baptized, and proclaim to be a child of God but they fall to sin because of complacency; they were baptized and saved which means there is nothing else to do in the eyes of many.
The “have it made” mindset, I want you to understand, is incredibly dangerous because there is no care to grow and to improve. Stagnant faith is dead faith which is completely out of character for a child of God. Dead faith is why so many of us are struggling to stay on the path of faith and overcome all that we go through.
Being tolerate, fearful, and ashamed
Another reason that has led some believers to become complacent is our tolerant and accepting mindset for things being the way they are. Many of us can see something wrong and don’t say anything so that there can be “peace”. Let’s ask the Lord if it is good to tolerate sin being around us and to not do anything about it? Yes, let’s ask the one that went into the temple and turned over tables because of the wickedness He saw taking place within (Matt. 21:12-13)!
In his second letter to Timothy, Paul wrote that the believer should be ready to testify in season and out of season; we are to be ready at all times to convince, rebuke (correct), exhort (encourage), with all patience and teaching of the divine truth (2 Tim. 4:2). Paul said to Timothy that the day would come when many would turn away from sound doctrine; in that day he said that the child of God must be ready to stand for what is holy and righteous (2 Tim. 4:3-5)!
As I have said before, the day of spiritual apathy is upon us as many are growing more and more accepting of sin and living in the midst of it. If it is not our tolerance of sin, many of God’s children are fearful and ashamed to stand true in their identity in this sinful world.
To be ashamed and afraid is also out of character for the child of God. Paul, again, wrote to Timothy that we should never be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord because God saved us from sin (2 Tim. 1:8-9). You see, Paul had gained the spirit of boldness to which he had no shame to move in his identity as God’s children; he wanted all of God’s children to have this same boldness.
Be True to Yourself
The spirit of boldness is what led Paul to write to Timothy that for the cause of ministering the good news, he would never be ashamed because he knew who he believed in and who he was in his heart (2 Tim. 1:12). Do you know who you are? Proverbs 28:1 tells us that the righteous are to be bold as a lion — it is time for us to stand boldly in being true to who we are as a child of God.
Grow and mature in your identity
To be bold and true to who we are, the writer of the book of Hebrews encouraged believers to leave the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ and to go on to perfection (Heb. 6:1). This statement speaks to the fact that we should always be growing and maturing in who we are; from the sinner, to a baby in faith, to being strong and an elder of faith, you are to grow.
Knowing that the Lord loved the world and gave the world His only begotten Son to save the world is the very foundation of our faith. Foundations, I want you to understand, are meant to be built upon. With this in mind, the writer of Hebrews stated that the child of God should move with diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end (Heb. 6:11).
Yes, the world can try to beat us down and drown us in the way things are, but we were saved not to be tolerant to living in this world of sin but to be intolerant of it. As the Lord does not abide with wickedness, you should be diligent in your growth as a child of God to cut out all wickedness from you (1 Cor. 15:33).
Through our diligence, we should abide by the word of God; we should diligently meditate on, and study His word so that it becomes a part of our being. As we learned earlier this year, when the word of God is a part of our being, we become a righteous tree of God rather than a lowly and deprived desert shrub (Jer. 17:5-8).
So, in our growth, we should diligently consult the Lord in our fellowship with Him. One of the best things that you can pray for is for the Lord to keep you encouraged,uplifted, and motivated to walk in the Spirit despite all things you may face in life. To the Galatians, Paul wrote that when we walk in the Spirit, we are able to walk true to who we are and produce the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).
As I have said in this series, when you are true to who you are, you will have the power to overcome Satan and his temptations. When you are true to yourself as a child of God, you will withstand the storms of life that try to prevail against you. When those that are around you try to compromise and corrupt you, when you stand boldly in who you are, you will not compromise nor falter.
You are a blessing
At the start of this series, I spoke of just how important it is for you to know who you are for the reason that there is power in knowing who you are. However, in my key verses, we will see another reason given as to why we must live knowing who we are and be true to our identity.
In the first of my key verses, the writer speaks of the earth and how it drinks in the rain that often falls upon it (Heb. 6:7). From drinking the rain, the earth is able to bear herbs that are useful to those who cultivate the land and receive its blessings from God. Now, for those that happen to glance at scripture, this won’t mean much, but because we had a series of sermons earlier this year about the harvest of God, we know there is significance in this verse.
You see, the writer of Hebrews is likening the earth to all of us, God’s children. Now, if you do not remember that series of sermons, you and I drink in the blessings that we receive from God to produce the righteousness of God (holy and righteous fruits). You see, the child of God is meant to be a blessing in this world, not a curse. As Jesus said, you are meant to bear long lasting fruit (John 15:16).
Coming Under Fire
However, if you’re acting out of character, you won’t be able to produce the righteousness of God. It is very important that we heed these words from the writer of Hebrews which said, “but if it (the earth) bears thorns and briers, it (the thorn and briers) is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned (Heb. 6:8).
I want you to understand that within these key verses, the writer is speaking what should be true to our character as a child of God. You see, the reason why it is so important that you are true to yourself as a child of God is because one day you and your works will come under fire; we will all be judged by the Lord.
This is why Paul said to the Corinthians that it is a small thing to be judged by the court of mankind (1 Cor. 4:3). Paul and the writer of Hebrews understood that we must keep growing unto perfection so that when we stand before the judgment seat of Christ, we will please the Lord!
In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote, “each one’s work will become clear; for the Day (day of judgment) will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is (1 Cor. 3:12-13).” I want you to understand that who you really are, which is shown through your works (how you live), be tested by Christ. Christ will determine whether you lived in a Christ-like manner and produced the righteousness of God or if you acted out of character.
Paul wrote, “If anyone’s work which he has built on [the foundation of Christ] endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire (1 Cor. 3:14-15).” Now, Paul was making it very clear that sincere believers will not lose salvation. However, though you may not lose salvation, if your works – who you are – does not endure the fire, you will lose the reward that others will gain because they were true to their identity in Christ.
Carrying out our responsibility
We should all be striving to be true to our identity in living in holiness and righteousness. Yes, there is power in overcoming your inner demons, your sins, and growing into our final form of incorruptibility. Yet, there is even more that comes to being true to yourself. We must understand that at the judgment seat of Christ, Christ will judge whether or not we carried out our responsibility as a child of God.
Something that many believers have either forgotten or don’t realize is the weight of responsibility that we carry in being ourselves. This, again, reminds me of how my parents raised me; they would always tell me to be myself and to be proud of who I am. My parents, especially my dad, would tell me not to ever let anybody bully me for who I am.
I feel that too many of us are letting the world bully us into living irresponsibly; we let the devil weigh us down to the point that we give in and act out of character. When we act out of character, we mislead and fail not just ourselves but we also mislead and fail those that look to us for guidance on their spiritual journey. Let me tell you this: the last thing you ever want to do is mislead others away from God unto destruction.
To the Corinthians, Paul wrote, “When you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.” When you mislead others by acting out of character, Jesus said, “whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea (Matt. 18:6).”
Don’t forget who you are. Don’t ignore who you are meant to be. You and I are meant to lead people to Christ! Don’t you ever be ashamed or fearful for being a child of God!
I encourage you to, again, know who you are and to walk forward with boldness in the responsibility of being who you are meant to be. To do otherwise is a grave sin to yourself, to those around you, and to the Lord. When we are true to ourselves, we not only claim our power, but we will be able to stand before the judgment seat of Christ boldly receiving the added rewards that the Lord has for us; we will stand in our true identity as a blessing from God.