5. Pursue godly character in your own life (2:19-23)
Paul contrasts two different kinds of vessels in a mansion- ones that bring honor to the owner, and ones that bring no honor or dishonor to him. The point is the vital importance of godly character in Christian leadership. Godly character is more important than gifting and/or technical competence. A leader who has godly character inspires other to godliness by the beauty of his character. This integrity brings honor to God, is useful to God, and is prepared for whatever good work God wants him to do (2:21). Unlike inanimate vessels, we can choose what kind of character we will have.
How do we acquire godly character?
- On the one hand, this godly character comes from God (2:23- “call upon the Lord”). It is the fruit of the Spirit, not mere moral will-power and self-improvement. Our integrity brings honor to God.
- On the other hand, we must go after this with all our hearts. Notice how aggressive the verbs are: “abstain from;” “cleanses himself from;” “flee;” “pursue;” Do you prioritize the formation of God’s character in your life? We should pray for specific godly character we need in our lives.
- We must pursue it “with those who call upon the Lord with a pure heart” (2;23). We cannot grow in godly character without close Christ-centered friendships. There will be gaping holes in our lives without these close friendships. People who say they are overwhelmed tend to be under-engaged with God and with others.
- Move toward them vs. withdraw from them, ignore the elephant in the room, etc.
- Conduct yourself with ‘kindness” and “patience” and “gentleness” vs. quarreling, blowing up, being self-righteous, etc.
- Focus vertically on what God says by “teaching” and “correcting” and calling them to “repentance” (return to trust in God’s wisdom and goodness) vs. focusing horizontally on social conformity, how their sin affects them and others, etc.