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Building Character
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Recently, I read a wonderful passage of wisdom from a book called "Acts of the Apostles" which said, “Not in the freedom from trial, but in the midst of it, is Christian character developed.”1

As I pondered over this adage, I thought about my own journey. Certainly, it was true that the most character-building times in my life had come in the midst of trial. But why? Maybe a better question is, why not? Why wouldn’t it be more likely that we would draw closer to God during difficult times? After all, isn’t God the One we go to when we’re desperate? Isn’t Jesus the Comforter, Counselor, and Prince of Peace? Naturally, if we go to Him for help during trial, we will come out of the trial stronger. Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” 

Trial of Joy?

So, it’s true. Character is built in the midst of trial. But now I’m wondering if it can also be built in the midst of joy? Again, looking at my own journey, I have to say that it is. Think about it. How about at the birth of a child? Or at a marriage ceremony? Or a baptism? Or even a graduation? How about while taking a walk in nature? Of course! We feel close to God during those times, too, and character is built as we sing praises for the blessings we’re receiving.

So what do we make of this character growth business? Should we hope for trials or for joys? Maybe the core of the issue is not in asking for trials or for joys. Rather, we should simply be asking for the constant companionship of Jesus. That way, if we walk into a trial, we know Jesus is walking through it with us. If we walk into a blessing, He’s nearby to receive our thanks. All of this reminds me of a little song I learned when I was a child. I think it is key to the building of character, no matter what the day brings.
"Walking in the shadows, walking in the sunlight
Walking every day; walking all the way
Walking with Jesus
I’m walking every day with Him."

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By Gwen Simmons. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. 

1 White, Ellen G., Acts of the Apostles, p. 467.

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