Christian life

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I. Introduction This reflection paper will highlight some of the insights I have gained during the first four weeks of Theology 104. This course provides information relevant to living an inspired Christian life. I have chosen to write my paper on character development and conscience. As believers, we should be constantly striving to develop our character to be more Christ like and to have a clear understanding of what is right or wrong. II. Character Development

a) Theological Definition: The Bible defines character as any behavior or activity that reflects the character of God (Wikipedia, “Moral Character”). The Book of Genesis tells us that God created man in his own image (Gen. 1:26-27, New Century Version). Being made in God’s image is not in reference to physical characteristics; instead it is referring to man’s immaterial nature. The article Original Creation of Man in the Image of God, explains we are not created in the physical image of God, but instead a reflection of God (Towns, n.d.). Since we are a reflection of God, our personal character should mirror God’s Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23 tells us, “But the Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. There is no law that says these things are wrong.” a) Biblical Foundation: As believers we should always strive to live a life that is filled with the Spirit of God and mirror God’s character. When God created man, He gave humans the ability to reason. In fact, God gave man the distinct ability to discern moral judgments (Towns, n.d.).

The Bible is the believer’s tool to character development. By immersing oneself in God’s word, the believer will find his or her life transformed. Towns writes, “Perhaps the greatest influence of the Bible is its convicting, convincing, converting power to all who honestly accept its message and believe in Jesus Christ” (2007, p. 24). The Bible is supernatural; therefore, it can transform and develop the reader’s character (Towns, 2007). The reader will learn what is right and will be convicted to choose the right thing, and live a life that is right in the eyes of God. Character development is a process; however, with God’s help the believer’s character will mirror God’s character.

b) Practical Application: We are born in sin (Psalm 51:5) and Paul writes in Romans 6:1-14 about our sin nature (Gutierrez, 2012). However, because of Jesus Christ, believers can conquer their sinful nature and strive to develop moral character. Peter spurs the reader to character development in 2 Peter 1:5-8: Because you have these blessings, do your best to add these things to your lives: to your faith, add goodness; and to your goodness, add knowledge, and to your knowledge, add self-control; and to your self-control, add patience; and to your patience, add service for God; and to your service for God, add kindness for your brothers and sisters in Christ; add to this kindness, add love. If all these things are in you and are growing, they will help you to be useful and productive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. This verse provides us with necessary ingredients to develop our Christian character. When a life is based on God’s word, the individual will be amazed at its transforming power.

III. Conscience a) Theological Definition: Conscience is the internal or self-knowledge of right and wrong. The article The Material and Immaterial Aspects of Man, says “The conscience is a moral ability of the inner man received at birth to discern certain aspects of the moral law of God” (Towns, n.d., p. 13). b) Biblical Foundation: Despite the fact man is inherently evil, God created man with a conscience. While God in His infinite wisdom gave us a conscience, it alone will not bring us to know and worship him. A person’s conscience needs to be developed through knowledge. Christians are challenged to have a “good conscience” and do what is right. I Timothy 1:19 says, “Continue to have faith and do what you know is right. Some people have rejected this, and their faith has been shipwrecked.”

c) Practical Application: Life if full of choices. Christians are faced daily with the opportunity to sin. While our conscience is our moral regulator, the growing Christian understands the need to remain grounded in the Word. By remaining steadfast and gaining knowledge, the conscience will grow, resulting in the believer being able to further discern right from wrong. Although Christians believe they know right from wrong, they sometimes fall away from God and make poor decisions. If a believer continues on the path of wrongdoing, they will find they are living with a “bad conscience.” I Timothy 4:2 says, “whose consciences are destroyed as if by a hot iron.” Doing the right thing and putting Christ first in your life will result in a “good and clear conscience.”

IV. Conclusion This course has covered many topics in four weeks. The topics discussed during the course have helped me to have a better understanding of how to be an effective Christian and the importance of continuing to grow in my faith. Character development is something that needs to be constantly worked on. Living life with a good conscience will result in peace and contentment. The saying, “What would Jesus do?” has taken on a whole new meaning. I look forward to the next four weeks and continuing to better understand not only Theology but also what it means to be a Christian.

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