Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.
Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
Any way you look at it, character development isn't easy.
Consider Boot Camp: the training ground for soldiers. Instructors break you down to build you up. They humble you into total submission. They lead you into unquestioned obedience. You become servants with a star-spangled yoke.
For two types of recruits, the training may be even harder: resistant rebels and potential leaders. Both face greater tests because each has greater potential for loss or for gain.
Rebels and leaders have two things in common: passion and persistence.
Through unusually tough lessons, passionate prodigals can become passionate followers of the Lord. 'Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent' (Revelation 3:19). Great joy erupts in Heaven when a sinner turns to God.*
Through unusually tough lessons, future leaders are tested. Because of their rare talents, compliments come frequently. God says, 'People are tested by their praise' (Proverbs 27:21). 'Vain men seek it, weak men are inflated by it, wise men disregard it' (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary).
Therefore, rebels and leaders face the greatest tests. King David understood it:
'Examine me, O Lord, and try me; Test my mind and my heart' (Psalm 26:2). 'You have tried us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined' (Psalm 66:10). Why?Conclusion #1
: 'The Lord gets his best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction' (Charles Spurgeon). If your tests have been especially hard, you're in training to be a leader in His army.Conclusion #2:
'There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance' (Luke 15:7). Rebels (a.k.a. prodigals) can become great leaders, too.
Hollywood is filled with rebels. Don't write them off (a mistake judgmental Christians have made).
## Character Development 2021: Boot Camp (Part 2)
* Luke 15:7 (NASB): 'There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.'
* Why does God test us? Additional study link:
NOTE: This is a 2020 edit of a 2013 Shine Devotion series, Character Development. You may see notes to 'Actors, Models & Talent for Christ.' If you think you're not in show business, think again. Shakespeare said, 'All the world's a stage and all its men and women merely players.' Mostly true. But you're not 'merely players.' You are messengers and ambassadors for the King of kings.
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Character Development 2021 series.