Text: Proverbs 6:6-11

Proverbs 12:11, “He that tilleth the land shall be satisfied with bread.”

A wise teacher will rebuke the lazy person who does not begin things (verses 6:9), does not complete things (verses 12:27), and makes excuses for his laziness (verses 22:13). Character does all things and gets all things done:

Proverbs 10:5, “He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.” 12:11, 24, “He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding. The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.” 14:23, “In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury” or need, poverty. 22:29, “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.”

In character, there is profit; in laziness, there is loss. In plain English, “He that tills the land is the one that will have bread to eat.” How can I have Christian character?

1. ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY!

Learn to get the job done without delay, and do away with excuses. Take full responsibility for what you are or are not doing. Do not depend on others to take care of your responsibilities and what is required of you. 

One of the most exciting, notable, and charactered periods in the history of the world was the era of the birth of our nation. Independence Hall, The Declaration of Independence, the war against the Redcoats, and the Liberty Bell all speak of a responsible people who paid a great price in order to give birth to a nation that was totally committed to the principles of freedom. We often speak of Liberty, but we cannot have liberty without responsibility. They are interrelated.

Children and teens often want more liberty without acceptance of additional responsibility. We do not give them more liberties until they learn to accept responsibilities. A child that is not ready to accept responsibility is not ready for increased liberties because liberties must be earned.  As they grow into adulthood, they must assume more responsibilities in their pursuit of increased liberties. 

History has proven that those who do not assume responsibility live unsuccessful lives and often end up in prison, where both responsibility and liberties are limited.

Someone said, “The purpose of training is to condition the child to control himself from within rather than subject himself to external controls from his environment.”

The result of proper training is a greater willingness to accept responsibility. 

Character development precedes each level of responsibility because one needs character in order to assume responsibility. The very essence of character is the willingness to assume those responsibilities, which are really liberties in disguise. The order is character, responsibility, and liberty. Notice that liberty comes last, rather than first, as most irresponsible people would have it. In other words, liberty is the assumption of responsibilities, which is dependent upon character.

Character building is the training essential to equip the young person or irresponsible to willingly assume responsibilities which result in earned liberties.

Someone else said, “Character is a quality of life, and as such it affects personality, attitudes, and life standards. Character is reflected in the individual’s quality of convictions and objectives and is fundamental to his basic philosophy of life.”

 2. SUBMIT TO DISCIPLINE!

One of the best ways to learn discipline is to be under someone who is a disciplined person. What is true about character, responsibility, and liberty in regards to an individual person applies equally to a nation. 

For every liberty, there is a corresponding responsibility. The more responsible a nation becomes, the more liberties they assume and enjoy. The less responsible, the less liberty they enjoy. Please study Deuteronomy 28 for an example of God’s promise of blessing versus His promise of a curse.

God promised Israel blessings in the Promised Land, which required obedience to His Law. When the people were responsible, they ruled the land independently. When they drew back from obeying God’s Law, they became less and less responsible and eventually lost their liberties, either to a wicked king or a foreign power.

When Israel sat under the preaching of the prophets, studied the Word of God, and heeded His principles, they were a people of character. The more character they had, the more internal strength the nation possessed. The more strength they had, the more their enemies fled from them, because Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” 

Psalm 33:12, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.”

The less they obeyed, the less character they had, the less strength they possessed, and the more they fled before their enemies. In every respect, the loss of character resulted in a loss of liberty because they refused to submit to discipline and responsibility.

3. DISCIPLINE YOURSELF!

Organize and submit yourself to discipline by doing difficult tasks like reading, studying, praying and soul winning. Making excuses is not going to get the job done. Do the job that ought to be done. Notice what Paul has to say about the subject in 2 Timothy 2:1-7

  • Like a soldier – endure hardness and please God.
  • Like an athlete – strive lawfully, live according to the rules.
  • Like a farmer – labor and become a partaker of the fruit.

Four basic principles to help build character once we have it:

  • Exercise integrity in every area.
  • Prepare and believe God for great things.
  • Grasp the importance of the Word of God.
  • Agonize in prayer until you find God’s will in your life.

Do not settle for average, but stand alone if need be. Serve with all your heart, even if you serve alone. The entire book of Proverbs speaks of character and how to be responsible. 

  • It is best obtained in childhood. 
  • Set a regular time to take care of routine responsibilities.
  • Never avoid responsibilities to obtain liberty.
  • Always deal honestly in all responsibilities and liberties.

Remember God’s Divine order: Character, Responsibility, Liberty! Let’s ask God to develop our Christian character!


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Hans Nikoley, GSBC Professor

Bro. Nikoley emigrated from Germany to the United States with his family at age 13. He served full time in the Nevada Air National Guard for six years. At age 32, He was saved, and in 1977, he graduated from Bible College. He pastored for over 31 years, 27 of them at Pomerado Road Baptist Church in Poway, California. Bro. Nikoley has served at Golden State Baptist College in the Bible Department and also as the Student Employment Director since 2007. He and his wife Mary have two children and have been married for 58 years.