Lest you’re concerned God is incapable of creating a composition for your life that would lead to masterpiece living, or feel you may be able to do better on your own, just look at nature. It’s understandable why the compositions found in nature are masterpieces when we grasp the fact nature reflects the artist, God. In Romans 1:19-20, Paul says people “ . . . know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” The composition of nature reflects the invisible qualities of God in the same way we are His creation, His masterpiece, and reflect His invisible qualities. Paul says that in the composition of nature, God’s invisible qualities are “clearly” seen. They cannot be missed or misunderstood.
I’m not sure about how all things work in Heaven, especially right after we die. I often imagine that I’ll be able to peer in on my own funeral as the proverbial fly on the wall. I probably won’t care about anything earthly at that point. All the questions I have for God will more than likely be irrelevant since I’ll have a true eternal perspective for the first time. But I want to hear what my wife, kids, and friends have to say about me after I’m gone. The sum total of one’s character is revealed most in the words of those who are saying good-bye to you for the last time on this Earth. I’d hate to realize at that moment that I’d been on the wrong path with my character and I had hindered God in painting a masterpiece with my life. The importance of having indicators in every area of life keeps us on track. The good news is there are indicators along the way that reveal whether we are taking the right character path or the wrong one.
1. Listen To What Others Are Saying
The first indicator for our character is what those closest to you are saying now about your character. It’s possible those same people will be speaking at your funeral, or at the very least attending and conversing with others about you. Listen with a discerning heart. If for whatever reason you can’t hear what they are saying, set aside some time to seek their honest feedback. Ask them to describe the character qualities they see in you.
2. Look At How You Deal With Tough Times
We’ve all heard the saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” It’s trite, but true. Perhaps more suited for our conversation is, “When the going gets tough, those with a well-developed character get going (and those who are in need of serious character development quit).” In Romans 5:4, Paul reveals the importance of endurance, which “develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” Being on the right path with character will always lead to hope that God will see you through. Ultimately the Artist of your life has everything in control as He paints your life into the portrait that looks much like His son Jesus: “Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man.” (1 Corinthians 15:49) After all, God cares much more about the finished product as a masterpiece than simply delivering you from a momentary problem or trial. All that we see in Jesus and His character is a glimpse of the masterpiece God has in mind for our future. The more we get to know Him, the more we understand Him and His character. The more we grow to become like Him, the more we will live as the masterpiece He created us to be.
3. Compare Your Character To Jesus
The most important thing we can do to assure we are on the right path with our character is to model our lives after the character of Jesus. Paul tells us in Galatians 3:27 to “put on” the character of Christ. We see the character of Jesus as we read in the Bible about His life here on Earth. He endured problems and trials most of us will never come close to experiencing. We also see His character traits identified in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
When we look at the indicators along the way we will not be surprised when we reach the destination that our character will lead us to.
(Adapted from my book Life Palette, Chapter 5, Good, Bad And Ugly)