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Home > > First Quarter 2010-Lesson Plans > Bible Studies: Conversations (Young Adult) >
03.27.10: The Fruit-Christian Character
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Cultural Context

We live in an age in which individuals define themselves by their occupation. Even in our introductions we say, “I am a doctor, lawyer, farmer”—whatever we may be. Our competence defines who we are. Character is secondary to our talents. Our capabilities are what give us meaning and identity. What we are is preceded by what we can do.

“The proposition that existence precedes essence is a central claim of existentialism, which reverses the traditional philosophical view that the essence or nature of a thing is more fundamental and immutable than its existence” (Wikipedia, “Existence Precedes Essence”).

Necessary Background/Further Resources

Education, by Ellen White (chapters 4, 25)

Preparation

Read the resources. Contrast character and capabilities.

Point of Contact

Questions
• Why do people tend to derive their value from their capabilities?
• What about our competence makes us feel worthwhile?
• What is our culture’s view of character?
• When does our culture view character to be of importance?

Points of Conversation

Read Revelation 14:1.

Questions
• Why do you think Revelation says that the Father’s name was on their foreheads?
• What is the relationship between a person’s name and character in the Bible?
• What does this tell us about God’s people living in the last days?
• Why do you think it is important for us to have God’s character?
• What does this tell us about the issues before Jesus comes?
• How can you be what God wants you to be?
Read Romans 12:1, 2. Discuss.

Questions

• Why do you think that Paul used the word “be”? What does “being” imply as opposed to “doing”?
• According to this passage what is the secret of “being”?
• How does this transformation take place?
The “Be’s” of the Bible are self-evident:
• Be transformed (Rom. 12:2).
• Be kind (Eph. 4:32).
• Be converted (Matt. 18:3).
• Be pure (Phil. 4:8).
• Be merciful (Luke 6:36).
• Be holy (Lev. 11:45).
• Be anxious for nothing (Phil. 4:6).
God desires us to focus on “being.” Our character is what defines us in the eyes of God. Character building is to be our focus as Christians. This is to be our witness.

Parting Thoughts


“True education does not ignore the value of scientific knowledge or literary acquirements; but above information it values power; above power, goodness; above intellectual acquirements, character. The world does not so much need men of great intellect as of noble character. It needs men in whom ability is controlled by steadfast principle” (Education,
p. 225).

• Get wisdom. Speak wisely. (Proverbs 4:7; 15:2). True education imparts this wisdom, teaching the best use not only of one but of all our powers and acquirements. So it covers the whole circle of obligation: ourselves, the world, and God.

• “Character building is the most important work ever entrusted to human beings; and never before was its diligent study so important as now. Never was any previous generation called to meet issues so momentous; never before were young men and young women confronted by perils so great as confront them today” (Education, p. 225).

In short, our essence precedes our existence. What we do flows out of who we are—our character.

Reach Out

Sponsor a writing and/or public speaking contest for middle school and high school students in a public place. Subject: Character. Award prizes. Involve your youth leader and church school teachers.




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