It is good to know the reasons that character development is so important:
1. Because the Image of God in Mankind was Marred at the Fall:
- Genesis 1:27, God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
- Colossians 3:10, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.
2. Because We are Fallen Human Beings:
- Genesis 2:15-17, Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. 16 The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”
- Genesis 3:4-6, The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5 For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
- Romans 5:12, Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.
- 1 Corinthians 15:22, For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
3. Because We Live in Guilt and Shame:
- Genesis 3:8-9, They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”
4. Because We Devise the Wrong Solutions:
- Cover Up – Genesis 3:7-8, Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. 8 They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
- Blame – Genesis 3:11b-12, Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
5. Because We are Not Born with Good Character: Character is developed.
- Psalm 51:5, Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.
- Psalm 58:3, The wicked are estranged from the womb; these who speak lies go astray from birth.
- Proverbs 22:15, Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.
6. Because We are Born with Sin Tendencies:
- Exodus 20:5-6, You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
Years ago there were two men, Jonathan Edwards and Max Jukes. These two men lived as contemporaries and their family history was traced for a certain number of generations. Max was a drunken criminal.
- Max Jukes had 1,026 descendants. 300 were in prison. 190 were prostitutes, and 680 were alcoholics.
- Jonathan Edwards had 929 descendants by contrast and 430 were ministers of the gospel. 86 university professors, 13 university presidents, 75 wrote good books, 7 elected to congress and 1 a vice-president of the United States.
Tell me that generations are not affected by what we do. You can break the generational curse when you develop character.
[Based on my classes with Richard D. Leineweber, Jr. c. 2000]