Building our character is like building a house. First the foundation is established, then the walls are built, and finally the roof is put on.
What are the walls? Walls are the part of the building that holds the entire structure together. They keep out the bad elements.
In Scripture, walls are called the walls of salvation (Isaiah 26:1; 60:18). Building the walls of our character is a part of our overall salvation experience.
It is the walls of our character that help to provide us security and protection.
The walls of our character need to be built-up and maintained in order for our ‘spiritual house’ to function properly, as we shall see below. Our character is strengthen and our maturity increases when we maintain the walls of our character.
But we can ruin and break down the walls of our character, by neglecting our character, which is like neglecting our salvation! Neglecting and ignoring something important always results in a failure.
God’s Word warns us to not neglect the great salvation provided for us through our Saviour, Yahushua Messiah [the Hebrew name for Jesus Christ] (Hebrews 2:1-3)! We must give attention to ‘working out our salvation’ with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).
Though it is certainly true that we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8), we are however to be responsible for strenghtening the walls of our character (that is, to ‘work out our salvation’). We should therefore be diligent to maintain the walls of our character which is an important part of our personality.
The Right Tools
In order to build-up and maintain the walls of our character properly, we need the right tools.
Self-control is one proper, very necessary, tool needed to ‘build-up’ our spiritual house! Building self-discipline and self-control strengthens our spiritual house, and greatly enhances the walls of our character.
On the other hand, when one lives a life-style of repeated self-indulgence, then that person’s character walls are greatly weakened. Weak walls are the result of lack of self-control. Self-indulgence hinders our maturity, and weakens the ‘rafters and beams’ of our spiritual house.
Each one of us has, not only an earthly house [our body], but also a ‘Spiritual House’:
For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved,
we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon
with our house which is from heaven:
If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.
You also, as lively stones,
are built up a spiritual house,
an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices,
acceptable to God by Yahushua Messiah [Jesus Christ].
These verses teach us that when the earthly house of this tabernacle [our body] is dissolved [when our body dies], we will then have a spiritual, eternal house awaiting us. Paul goes on to explain that those who are Believers in Yahushua Messiah [Jesus Christ], earnestly desire to be clothed upon with their Spiritual House.
The Great and Final Day
What kind of ‘spiritual house’ we are building?
Our spiritual house is being built every day — beginning with the foundation, and then being built up by the things we do, and by the things we say in the natural realm.
- If you are not sure if you have established the beginning and vital ‘foundation’ of your Spiritual House, please see the brief article: Good News!
As we saw in First the Natural, Then the Spiritual, the things we do and say in the natural realm, have a huge and profound effect on our eternal, spiritual condition! There is coming a Day when we will all discover how the things we did in the natural realm greatly affected the condition of our spiritual house:
Every man’s work shall be made manifest:
for the day shall declare it,
because it shall be revealed by fire;
and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
If any man’s work abide which he has built thereupon,
he shall receive a reward.
If any man’s work shall be burned,
he shall suffer loss:
but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
These verses teach us that on the great and final Day, it will be revealed what sort of work each one of us has done on our spiritual building. On that Day, we will see and know the condition of our spiritual house.
And we will have one thing with us — the one thing we will take with us into eternity — our character!
Let us therefore, ask ourselves . . .
Are we constructing a spiritual house that is growing strong, steady, and firm?
Are we constructing a spiritual house that can resist the pressures from our spiritual enemy?
Or… are we building a house that is weak, loose, and crumbling?
As mentioned above, self-indulgence hinders maturity and weakens the ‘rafters and beams’ of our spiritual house.
On the other hand, self-control is a building tool, a securing tool! Self-control is a building tool for strengthening our spiritual house!
Acquiring Good Character Qualities
The tools for building the walls of our spiritual house are known as good character qualities.
Acquiring good character qualities takes time and determination to build into our lives. Good character qualities are obtained only with God’s help and by our daily attention to little, seemingly insignificant details. Little things such as going to bed early and getting up early, or saying “no” to ice cream and saying “yes” to an apple.
The most important ‘detail’ we need to give attention to is the daily reading/studying of the written Word of God, along with secret prayer time! This ‘detail’ should be our highest priority since we are urged by Yahushua Messiah to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness!” (Matthew 6:33)
Our soul and spirit need this daily ‘feeding’ upon the written Word of God, as well as the daily nurturing of our secret prayer time with ‘The Master‘! These are necessary ‘tools’ in our efforts to build good character qualities, and becoming valiant in spirit for God.
Gaining good character qualities will require a ‘matter-of-fact’ approach. What may seem like ‘mechanics’ is exactly what is needed. We must endure the simplicity and the boredom of working on one building block at a time. We keep our focus on the good character traits we want to build into our lives — discipline, diligence, patience, humility, gentleness, and self-control.
Poor character qualities, on the other hand, are easily obtained. They are the natural outflow of neglect, slothfulness, impatience, and self-indulgence. Poor charcter qualities are natural features of the carnal, selfish nature.
When one neglects building good character qualities, only promoting a self-indulgent life-style, then that person is more likely to become enslaved to demonic forces. As a result, the inner walls of their spiritual house are broken down.
Building a Strong Spiritual House
But, if we cultivate good character qualities, the walls of our spiritual house become strong. Good character qualities offer us protection from spiritual attacks. To cultivate good character qualities we must begin to be responsible for our behaviour in the very little details of our daily life.
One of the ‘Fruits of the Spirit’ is self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). This fruit is essential for growth and maturity for anyone who desires to become courageous and useful to Yahuwah Elohim [the Hebrew name for the LORD God].
Self-control is a quality we need to exercise and practice every day. With self-control, we can learn patience and discipline for building a spiritual house that is strong, and able to stand against the wiles of the devil (Ephesians 6:11).
When our spiritual walls become stronger, then others can trust us to be responsible and mature. We will discover there are many rewards for learning to have self-control. With self-control, we can seek God’s direction everyday, and seek His help in maintaining a life-style of obedience to God. With self-control, we can learn to deny carnal passions and appetites (1Corinthians 2:9).
Every Bit of Prayer and Determination
But we must be prepared for the enemy’s tactics to try to defeat us. The devil does not want us to learn self-control! But we surely can not learn it without God’s help!!
If we have been in the habit of a self-indulgent life, then growth in maturity and good character qualities will require every bit of prayer, determination, and self-discipline we can muster. If we desire to have a spiritual house that can withstand the tests of tribulation, then we must begin now to build up the protecting walls of our character. To do this, we must be teachable, determined, and humble enough to ask Father’s help in learning simple, basic, practical things of self-discipline and endurance.
What may seem like child’s instruction is actually Father’s wisdom, given to those in the school of the Holy Spirit. It is in His classroom that we learn to be self-controlled, patient, and self-disciplined. But in order to succeed in the school of the Holy Spirit, we need to be willing to un-learn the bad habits that hinder the stability of our spiritual house.
“Success in life is founded upon attention to the small things rather than to the large things; attention to the every day things nearest to us, rather than to the things that are remote and uncommon.” — Booker T. Washington
The building up of our spiritual house needs to be as a ‘line upon line’ issue — a ‘little by little’ work on one area, steadily mastering one small thing. Building the walls is “doing a great work!” as the prophet Nehemiah declared! (See Nehemiah 6:3) Building the walls is an honourable work! But it requires a commitment — a commitment to endure, and NOT indulge — a commitment to deny our selfish ways.
Let us understand that building character is just like building a house in the natural — one step at a time. There will be plenty of moments of pain, agony, revisions, and even enduring boring tasks!
Building our spiritual house is costly — costing us the pain of self-denial. It will mean a determination to say “No!” to the things that weaken our good character. We must say “No!” to bad attitudes or moody emotions. Our commitment to becoming self-disciplined needs to be a daily, steady, ‘never give up!’ commitment!!
“A man must fight long and bravely against himself before he learns to master himself fully and to direct all his affections toward God.” — Thomas, à Kempis
Seeking Father’s Help
Dear Reader, we all have the need to build up our character, and strengthen our spiritual house. But each one of us must seek Yahuwah’s help!
Cry out to Father daily for His help to build up the walls of your spiritual house! Ask Him to strengthen your commitment to resist self-indulgence, to resist the things that weaken good character.
Ask for His help to read/study the Bible everyday because it is His written Word that is the spiritual food that nourishes us and energizes us (John 6:63b).
“There is one thing that God has given me from my youth up, and that is a taste and relish for my Bible. I can say before God, I have never read a book but my Bible, so I know nothing about books. It seems better to me to get the Book of books for food for our soul, for the strengthening of our faith, and the building up of our character in God, so that all the time we are being changed and made meet (fit) to walk with God.” — Smith Wigglesworth
When we read the story of Nehemiah in the Bible, and his efforts to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, we find great encouragement for building the walls of our character. Nehemiah persisted through the enemy’s constant attempts to hinder his work. Yet there came a time when Nehemiah was victorious, and the protecting walls were completed!
So let us consider ourselves as being a ‘Nehemiah’ — someone who is doing a ‘great work’ each day while we build up the walls of our character! Let us remain sober-minded, holding onto every bit of encouragement we can find, so that we may ‘Endure and Not Indulge!‘ (2Timothy 2:3), and learn to ‘Resist the devil and he will flee!‘ (James 4:7)
Remember also: Father has His enabling grace waiting for us every day, if we will only ask Him!
Though we may feel like a failure, though we may feel weak or hopeless or confused at times, remember Yahushua’s comforting Word:
My strength is made perfect in weakness! (2Corinthians 12:9)
Our failures and weaknesses are moments to acknowledge our need for Father’s strength, moments for confessing our sins and failures, and pray for HIS strength to come and make us stronger! Father promises to help those who seek His help! Also, speak out loud God’s promises! This is another excellent spiritual tool for building up and developing the walls of our spiritual house!
Conclusion: Building Our Character – A Good and Noble Goal
Building the walls of our character is a wonderful and noble goal! Everyone needs to work on their spiritual house! There is always room for improvement! And there are blessings for persistent endurance:
Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love Him. (James 1:12)
It is a ‘great work’ to be building the walls of our character! It is an important work! We are building our spiritual house, eternal and waiting for us in heaven! Be of a humble heart and acknowledge God in every thing you do, seeking His help in the smallest of details.
At times, it may seem painful and grievous, but do not become weary! Endurance is vital to this building process! Our patient prayers and efforts will eventually yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness (see Hebrews 12:1-11).
May you and I patiently endure, cooperating with Him as He teaches us to strengthen and build up the walls of our character!
- Growing Up In Messiah
- Ten Blessings For Good Character
- To This One Will I Look– three keys for pleasing God
- Faithful in Little Things – learning the importance of faithfulness in the little things
- Bringing Forth Fruit With Patience
- Faith Comes! – three steps for increasing our faith
- Acquiring A Teachable Heart
- Defense Against Discouragement
- For information regarding demonic forces and deliverance, see: Great Bible Study
- Whom Father Loves, He Corrects
- Prize of the Ironman – a personal story about one man’s character training in endurance and perseverance
- Cultivating Endurance – a brief devotional by Derek Prince
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