Shaping a Christ-Like Character: The 4 Tools God Uses

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How do you form a Christ-like character? What tools does God use?

One of the purposes of your life is to be like Jesus more and more by taking on his values and character. Because you were created in the image of God, you innately have a Christ-like character in you, but it hasn’t been shaped yet. That’s the work that God does over your lifetime if you invite him to do so.

Read more to learn how God develops a Christ-like character in you.

Tools to Shape a Christ-Like Character

God uses four tools to help shape your Christ-like character.

Tool #1: His Word

God’s Word should take high priority in your life, as it contains the truths that guide you in fulfilling your purposes. There are three activities that help you internalize and live by his Word: 

  • Accept the authority of his Word. God’s word is an unfailingly reliable standard. When making decisions or examining your behavior, always ask yourself: “What does the Bible tell me to do?” Whatever God’s Word instructs, you must do with full faith in his authority.
  • Fill your mind with his Word. Living by God’s Word becomes easier when it’s always ready to use in your mind. To do this, read the Bible regularly, memorize Scripture, and engage with the text by writing down your questions and observations. 
  • Apply the lessons of his Word. Each time you read and study God’s Word, think about the lesson in it. Then, create a practical plan to use the lesson in your life. For example, if you read the story of the Good Samaritan, you might make a plan to help someone you don’t know within the next week. 

Tool #2: People

God uses other people to develop a Christ-like character in you. God wants you to grow with others, for two reasons.

  1. Other people serve as a support system: They encourage you to make the right choices, help you understand God’s Word in new ways, and share ideas for implementing his lessons in your life. 
  2. Other people are imperfect: When others irritate you or challenge your patience, you face a test of character—will you choose to act like Jesus? Every time you respond with patience and unselfish love in these moments, your character becomes more Christ-like. 

Tool #3: Circumstances

If you always lived in your comfort zone, you would never learn about enduring pain, taking on seemingly insurmountable challenges, or stretching the limits of your faith. God puts difficult circumstances in your way because they strengthen your character, but only if you respond as Jesus would—that is, you remember that God is acting in your best interest, you give thanks for the opportunity to grow, and you keep pushing through your circumstances instead of giving up or turning away from God. 

Tool #4: Temptation

God actually uses temptation to develop your Christ-like character. God will put you in situations where you’ll want to act in direct opposition to the qualities Jesus possessed, such as love, patience, faithfulness, and self-control. When you make the choice to stick to Christ-like qualities in these situations, your Christ-like character strengthens. The choice in these situations is crucial, because your character is like a muscle—it needs resistance to develop and strengthen. For example, you don’t develop your integrity while taking an exam in a supervised setting, as there’s no opportunity for you to cheat. You do develop your integrity when you’re trusted to take an unsupervised exam and have the opportunity to check your answers against your textbook but choose not to cheat.

Shaping a Christ-Like Character: The 4 Tools God Uses

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  • The meaning of life from a Christian perspective
  • The five purposes that you were created by God to fulfill
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Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, and philosophy. A switch to audiobooks has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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