The Character Inside

The Character Inside - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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It only takes one person to rout the forces of darkness and establish a testimony for the glory of God.

History bears witness to this truth as it reminds us of individuals—Martin Luther, Pandita Ramabai, Sadhu Sundar Singh, Moses, Elijah. The list could go on and on. In every generation, there are the individuals who chose to rise above the easy norm, set their face like flint and thus accomplish great things for God.

From the beginning of time, God has sought for these kinds of individuals, those to whom He can show Himself strong and through whom He can bring about His plans and purposes on earth. Consider what 2 Chronicles 16:9 (NLT) tells us—“The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”

If God were searching among us today, would He find in you the kind of person He is looking for?

Well, God is searching among us today, searching for the one among His people who will make the choice to seek Him and conform his life to His principles, following Him regardless of what kind of compromise or complacency may surround. God is not looking for the majority who claim to be His, but for those authentic few, who, by their character, demonstrate that they are His and that they follow Him above all else.

Satan has done a masterful job of deception within the Body of Christ. Christianity has been redefined to fit modern society. It is now a good moneymaking business. The Christian music and entertainment industry skyrockets, while the Word of God is peddled for profit and the authentic Christian life of surrender and obedience is tossed aside as legalism. More than 2 billion people who do not know Jesus head toward hell to perish for eternity, while the Church laughs its way to hysteria, claiming this is the sign of the last days’ outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Instead of laying down our lives to serve the purposes of God, we try numerous ways to make the Almighty God our servant to fulfill all our dreams and desires. My brothers and sisters, this is not Christianity.

We have settled, content with the fact that we have at least started the race. We have forgotten what Scripture makes clear—it is not how we started the race, but how we run and how we finish. “As Christ’s soldier, do not let yourself become tied up in the affairs of this life, for then you cannot satisfy the one who has enlisted you in his army. Follow the Lord’s rules for doing his work, just as an athlete either follows the rules or is disqualified and wins no prize” (2 Timothy 2:4–5, NLT).

I wonder how many in the Church today would be disqualified in the end. It is a sobering thought.

This was Paul’s same concern for the Church in his day. In his years of ministry, Paul had seen an element of digression in the Body of Christ. That is the reason his epistles address a wide variety of sins, all that had crept into the churches over time. He had seen many fall away, as well as many who physically stayed a part of the Church but in their hearts and their actions were far from God. Soon Paul would no longer be around to address these issues and bring the necessary correction and encouragement, keeping the churches on course. This task is the one to which God had called Timothy.

So Paul, having pressed on for 30 relentless years to fulfill the call of God, now sits in his last prison cell, awaiting his death. Looking back over the years and knowing the seriousness of the task to which God has called his son in the faith, Paul sets out to leave Timothy with a guidebook on how to fulfill the ministry.

However, the essence of Paul’s message did not focus on particular topics as much as it did on this one sole element—Timothy’s character. You see, Paul knew that good infrastructure was not what was needed to ensure the growth and stability of the Church in the years to come, nor was it any external element. It is upon character that people and movements either rise or fall. If Timothy’s character was solid and true, all else would fall into place, and Timothy would finish well the race the Lord Jesus had called him to run.

Excerpt from Chapter 1 of Against the Wind (ISBN 978159589047X) © 2004 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia.

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