The fruit of the Spirit give a sure sign of transformed character. When our deepest attitudes and dispositions are those of Jesus, it is because we have learned to let the Spirit foster his life in us.
There are no shortcuts to holiness. There is no easy way to conquer the flesh. Christian character is a matter of growth, not of secrets or formulas. Growth takes time. It also takes the discipline of prayer, of study, of heart searching, of sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s pleading, and of consistent obedience. It must always begin with a renewed thankfulness for the never-ending grace of God, and a sense of being set free repeatedly to a life of holiness.
My basic principle is that you don’t make decisions because they are easy; you don’t make them because they are cheap; you don’t make them because they’re popular; you make them because they’re right.
Character is the product of daily, hourly actions, and words and thoughts; daily forgivenesses, unselfishness, kindnesses, sympathies, charities, sacrifices for the good of others, struggles against temptation, submissiveness under trial. Oh, it is these, like the blending colors in a picture of the blending notes of music which constitute the man.
To wait openhandedly is an enormously radical attitude toward life. So is to trust that something will happen to us that is far beyond our imaginings. So, too, is giving up control over our future and letting God define our life, trusting that God molds us according to God’s love and not according to our fear. The spiritual life is a life in which we wait, actively present to the moment, trusting that new things will happen to us, new things that are far beyond our own imagination, fantasy, or prediction. That, indeed, is a very radical stance toward life in a world preoccupied with control.
Don’t sacrifice your peace trying to point out someone’s true colors. Lack of character always reveals itself in the end.
The future goal is the thing which produces character in the present.