Fourteen years ago, while taking a prayer walk in the east Texas countryside, God spoke to my heart that the world was about to change–radically. I thought it would happen immediately (prophetic people sometimes get the right idea but miss the timing).
Looking back, I believe the Obama years accelerated change in America–and now it is upon us.
We’re entering a new world–a new era in history. The critical thing we must develop is the character necessary to survive and thrive in it.
Character is destiny.
Our New World and the Character It Will Require
I believe it’s clear to many that the world as we know it is changing. If we have any sense of history (many don’t), we know that change is normal in a fallen world. Even if we go back just 120 years (let alone 6,000 years of human history), we see many different eras of change:
- The Industrial Revolution with cars and airplanes that altered the way we travel (and shrunk the planet).
- The “Roaring Twenties” abuse of capitalism–after the first World War.
- The Great Depression which affected the entire world for decades.
- World War II–when a dictator began to gobble up nearby nations just as Russia is doing today.
- The baby-boom cultural revolution in the 1960’s and 70’s.
- The Civil Rights movement which enhanced equality, and permanently changed the South.
- The dawn of the Information Age, computers, Internet and an inter-connected globe.
And many more.
Since we live through only two-or-three of these changes in a lifetime, it’s easy to forget their impact–and how hard the adjustments were from one era to another.
Most of us don’t like change.
When Barack Obama became president in 2008, he talked for the first time about bringing “fundamental change to America.” I believe he was referring to many factors, some already in motion, and others to come:
- The breakdown of the American family now focused on transgender rights and the denial of gender.
- The toppling of free enterprise capitalism for some form of socialism (or even communism).
- Increased dependency on government as experienced during the Covid pandemic through economic lockdowns and various mandates i.e., removal of individual freedom.
- Increased tyranny and denial of free speech via the collusion of High Tech and Big Government.
- America’s weakness on the world stage in the inept presidency of Joe Biden (voted into office by 81 million voters “who knew not what they were doing (Luke 23:24).”
- The rise of America-haters (Critical Race Theory and others) superseding minor differences in public policies.
- And still on the horizon: economic tremors or collapse due to out-of-control deficit spending.
All this cultural drift took place during the absence of a much-needed spiritual awakening in United States/worldwide which might have altered or neutralized the destructive elements at work.
Then in 2022, the latest Hitler to arise–Vladimir Putin–invades a sovereign and peaceful Ukraine–putting the whole world on edge. Because the current U.S. government remains beholden to the Green New Deal, oil spikes to $130 a barrel.
Yesterday at the pump I paid $4.50 a gallon for gas (I know it’s more elsewhere). That’s the highest price of my seven-decade lifetime.
I also spoke at a banquet last week where a young Christian leader of a major youth organization told me she had never heard of Billy Graham–and her husband didn’t recognize that “John” was a book in the Bible.
My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6).
While another Hitler–Xi Jinping–the communist dictator of China, is possibly licking his chops over the invasion of the sovereign nation of Taiwan.
Yes, the world has entered a new era and we must be prepared to navigate it.
For forty years, I had the privilege of training God’s people in many nations and American states. Much of this took place in discipleship schools where I taught on revival and other subjects. I was never told what to teach–but invited because of known strengths and the specific truths or emphases God gave me.
I prayed over every week of training. God revealed many different subjects to teach. But He almost always nudged me to share one particular six-to-eight-hour series. I didn’t consider it my best nor my most exciting material. But I knew it was the most important long-term.
Developing Christ-like character.
For the next few weeks, I’d like to combine a burden for what’s happening in the world with a focus on the hope of godly character which we need to survive and truly thrive in it.
Character is the key that unlocks our personal destiny and empowers us to weather the storms of life.
What is character?
Character relates to the totality of the moral qualities you possess in your life. A person can choose poor or bad character traits (stealing, lying, lack of love, unforgiveness etc.) or they can develop godly or God-like character (respect for private property, honesty, love, forgiveness etc.).
Good character is God’s desire for every believer. Left to our human fallenness, sin looms as the biggest problem or stain in our lives. It separates us from a Holy God. It hurts our relationships. Lack of character in a nation destroys its foundations and leads to bondage and lack of freedom.
Since sin is the greatest problem in the world, developing godly character is the biggest solution.
God’s supreme goal for human beings is that they be “be conformed to the image of his Son”(Romans 8:29). That takes place through the salvation of the Cross, being born again and filled with His Spirit, and cooperating with the grace of God by developing his traits (good character) in our lives.
Jesus’ characteristics inside us allow us to fulfill his plan for our lives (Acts 13:36) and to withstand the difficulties that life throws at us (James 1:2-4). That’s why character is destiny. It empowers you to do his work, strengthens you to survive Satan’s attacks, and brings you safely into his heavenly kingdom (even through suffering or death).
When I teach students about building godly character in their lives, I usually ask them to start with three foundational character qualities.
The first: What is one of your greatest natural character strengths? For me, it is faith. I must focus on growing my faith just like exercising a muscle.
The second: What is one of your greatness character flaws? In my case, that speaks of pride. What is its opposite? Humility. So, I’ve set my heart on developing the humility of Jesus (Matthew 11:29).
The third: I encourage the same character quality for all–hard work.
In my life, if I grow faith and humility over a lifetime and combine it with working hard in my calling or vocation, I will probably be successful. Elite athletes do the same: They maximize their greatest ability. Minimize their greatest weakness. And work hard.
Add to it many other wonderful character qualities of Jesus and you will live a great life.
How about you?
“Character is doing the right thing when nobody is watching” (J.C. Watts).
“People are interested in talent. God is impressed by character” (Rick Warren).
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only by experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened. ambition inspired, and success achieved” (Helen Keller).
A new world is upon us. What type of character do you need to survive and thrive?