Character, Calling, and Contribution (Part 1) by Jim Herring

Character, Calling, and Contribution (Part 1)
Jim Herring

Pastor Jim HerringRev. Jim Herring is gifted Bible teacher who ministers God’s Word in a passionate, powerful, and practical way. The focus of Jim’s ministry is to help believer’s overcome the trials of life, walk by faith, and reach their full potential in life.

Jim graduated from Rhema Bible Training Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma specializing in Pastoral ministry. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Church Ministry from Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Texas.

Jim and his lovely wife, Samantha, are the founders and senior Pastors of Abundant Life Family Church in Fort Worth, Texas. They lead a vibrant, thriving, and multi-cultural church in the heart of Texas. Jim and Samantha are also the proud parents of two children, Annabel and Andrew.

Character, Calling, and Contribution We live in a comparison-centered world. People compare: houses, cars, spouses, physical qualities, clothing, and professions. I remember being in high school and comparing who had the coolest tennis shoes. Of course, I fell into the trap and always tried to secure the coolest “kicks” as we called them.

Yes, the world is comparison crazy. However, the church is certainly not exempt from the delusions of the culture. We compare preachers, singers, musicians, programs, facilities, congregational size, suits, dresses, and even jeans (for our contemporary friends).

Paul addressed this very issue in the book of 2 Corinthians.

2 Corinthians 10:12 (NKJV)
For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

God tells us that it is unwise and foolish to compare. Why? Well, there are not many positive things that emerge from comparison.

  1. If someone has more or better, it can lead to depression or jealousy.
  2. If we have more or better, it can lead to pride.

Rarely does comparing ourselves with others produce anything beneficial. Besides, God does not consider any of those things when evaluating our life. Your possessions do not impress God. Your physical attributes do not impress God. Beauty fades and possessions don’t last forever. However, there are a few things that God is concerned about. What separates people in the eyes of God? What does He use to evaluate our life? There are three major markers and they all start with the letter “C.”

Character   •   Calling   •   Contribution


Character answers the question, “Who am I?” It is glaringly obvious that there are differences in character when people are involved.

We have people who are:

  • Honest or dishonest
  • Humble or prideful
  • Kind or mean
  • Generous or stingy
  • Good or evil
  • Active or passive
  • Bold or timid
  • Compassionate or uncaring
  • Dependable or unreliable
  • Forgiving or unforgiving
  • Grateful or ungrateful
  • Loyal or disloyal
  • Patience or impatient
  • Punctual or tardy
  • Self-controlled or out of control
  • Sincere or artificial
  • Holy or profane
  • Stubborn or teachable

What is Character?

  • Character is who you are when no one is looking.
  • Reputation is what people think about you, character is who you really are.
  • Character is made by what you stand for, reputation is made by what you fall for.

I like something the great D.L. Moody once noted, “Character is what you are in the dark.”

Your character and the development of your character are very important to God. He strongly desires for us to properly reflect His nature and attributes.

Romans 8:29 (NLT)
For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

We were chosen and created to be like Him.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (The Message)
All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.

God wants us to become more and more like Him and that occurs as we renew our mind and develop our character.

In addition, to becoming like Christ, character is necessary for use in the Kingdom of God. When the Bible gives instruction on selecting leadership, character is always at the top of the list.

1 Timothy 3:1–7 (NKJV)
This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Often people dismiss the importance and application of this passage because they mistakenly think, “I am not a Bishop, so this does not apply to me.” However, this passage can also be understood to address ALL church leaders. In other words, these are the qualifications of church leadership.

Notice, the Message paraphrase actually reads this way.

1 Timothy 3:1 (The Message)
If anyone wants to provide leadership in the church….

I want to point out something very interesting. In this portion of Scripture, Paul was writing to Timothy regarding selecting leaders to help in the church. What is glaringly missing from these qualifications? Paul said nothing about spiritual gifts, the anointing, charisma, or talent. In fact, out of all the things mentioned, only one or two could be even considered a gift. Everything else Paul spoke of deals with character.

God is very interested in your character and the development of it.

Notice the list again. See how much emphasis God places on character.

  • Blameless – good reputation
  • Husband of one wife – sexual integrity
  • Temperate – self- controlled
  • Sober-minded – clear thinker
  • Good behavior
  • Hospitable
  • Able to teach
  • Not a drunk
  • Not violent
  • Not greedy for money
  • Gentle
  • Not quarrelsome
  • Not covetous
  • A good family leader is present.

Some have titled this list as the “Qualifications for a Bishop.” However, I believe they represent the marks of maturity that EVERY Christian should strive to develop.

Ok, I know God is passionate about my character development. I know I need it. Now for the million dollar question. How do I develop my character?

How Can I Develop My Character?

1. Recognize that we all need character work and be honest with yourself.

I have a good friend that taught me a valuable lesson. “You can’t fix a problem you don’t have.” Until you are willing to admit that an area of your character needs work, it will never improve. Liberation begins with acknowledgement. God’s Word clearly tells us that we must confess our sins before we are forgiven and cleansed (1 John 1:9).

Acknowledgment always precedes transformation.

2. Seek God for areas of your life that need work.

Psalms teaches us a significant prayer that every believer needs to incorporate into their regular prayer life.

Psalm 139:23–24 (NLT)
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

David prayed, “Point out anything in me that offends you.” Over the years, I have experienced a few delays in my prayer request for certain things. However, I have discovered that God is very quick to answer this particular prayer. There is no delay or waiting for an answer if we pray this honestly with an open heart. However, I must warn you. Be prepared for the answer. I remember praying this passage one day. “Lord, point out anything in me that I need to work on.” I thought God would share a thing or two I needed to adjust. However, in my heart I heard, “Do you have something to write with?” Unfortunately, I knew God’s list of the things I needed to work on was much longer than my finite mind could comprehend. God does have a sense of humor!

3. Ask those close to you (who love you and know you).

Once I was driving done the road in Fort Worth and I changed lanes. My wife aggressively started speaking in her prayer language because I pulled over and someone was in that lane! Fortunately, I missed them. Here is the point. I looked in the side mirror before I made my move. However, I had a blind spot.

All of us have blind spots in our character. Often we can’t see the beam in our character because we are so focused on the speck in another person’s character. We need an outside (and objective) character appraisal. Here are a couple of tips when utilizing this approach.

  1. Only ask people who love and know you.
  2. Don’t ask a “Yes Man” or “Yes Woman.”
  3. Don’t argue about or resent their thoughts or observations.
  4. Thank them.
  5. Resist the fleshly urge to return the favor.

4. Pray for transformation.

The Bible tells us that there is great power when righteous men and women pray. God is poised and ready to give you wisdom, strength, and power to become more and more like Him.

James 5:16 (NLT)
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Remember, God is a transformation specialist. He is the original Transformer, not Optimus Prime.

5. Ask God for opportunities to start working the new character traits.

Earlier in my marriage, I remember coming to the realization that I was selfish. I acknowledge it and started praying and working on it. I wanted to be generous and more considerate of my wife and children. God began to show me how to do that. One day I was watching ESPN around the time my children head to bed. My wife was tucking them in and praying for them. I was checking out the latest basketball news and suddenly, I felt the Lord ask me a series of questions.

“What are you doing?” I said, “Watching ESPN.”
“What is your wife doing?” “Putting our children to bed and praying with them.”
“Which is more important?” – I was busted! Thankfully, He presented me with the opportunity to be less selfish and better. #seizethemoment

6. What does God’s Word say about the area you need to work on?

When God deals with you about your character, look into the Word to see what it says. His powerful Word will challenge you, change you, help you, and strengthen you!

For instance, greatness does not come through being selfish. It comes through serving others. What does the Word say about that?

Matthew 23:11 (NKJV)
But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.

We are transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2).

7. Thank God for the progress.

When God does a divine work in your life, the right response is praise and thanksgiving. Thank you Lord, for giving me eyes that see! Thank you Lord, for your transforming Word. Thank you Lord, for the power of the Holy Spirit transforming my thinking and character. Thank you for helping me grow and reflect more and more of your character nature, and glory! Thank you, Lord for continuing the good work that you started in me!

Philippians 1:6 (NLT)
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Character matters. It does take work and effort. However, the benefits are awesome. You become more like Him and a better person to know, love, and live with. #letsgrowtogether!