Building Internal Character – Introduction
Proverbs 12:1-3, “Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish. A good man obtaineth favour of the LORD: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn. A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved.”
These verses deal with the integrity and wholeness of man. Once we have experienced a personal revival, we must then begin to work on our internal character and personal integrity.
Matthew Henry said, “Those who have grace will delight in the instructions given them. Those that stifle their convictions are like brutes. The man who covers selfish and vicious designs under a profession of religion or friendship, will be condemned. Though men may advance themselves by sinful arts, they cannot settle and secure themselves. But those who by faith are rooted in Christ are firmly fixed.”
The root is the source of the tree, and all that grows on the tree is dependent on the depth and strength of the root. It is the part of a plant that provides stability and nourishment. Most of the references to root in the Bible are symbolic, based on this important relationship of the root to the plant. “To be rooted” means to be established; “to be uprooted” means to be disestablished. This metaphor of the word root is used in the messianic passages that refer to Jesus as the descendant of David.
Isaiah 11:10, “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.”
The Book of Revelation (5:5) speaks of Christ as “the Root of David,” and “the Root and offspring of David” in Revelation 22:16, indicating that Jesus is both human and divine.
The root also speaks of judgment and destruction in 1 Kings 14:15, and of restoration in 2 Kings 19:30.
The spiritual life has a spiritual foundation as in Ephesians 3:17, “Being rooted and grounded in love.”
The Christian who loves instruction knows what is really of superior value; therefore, he will listen to instruction.
Getting people to listen to the Word of God is not the problem; the problem is in getting them to obey. If we do not care about learning, we can go to school for years and not learn a thing; but if we are eager to learn, there is no end to what we can learn.
Part of learning is a willingness to accept correction when needed and learn from others’ wisdom. In most cases, the person who refuses constructive criticism has a problem with pride. Such a person is unlikely to learn much.
The word established in verse three means to be successful, and Solomon says that real success comes only to those who follow God. What kind of success does wickedness bring?
We all know people who think nothing of cheating on tests or on their tax returns. Is that what they call success? On the other hand, what about parents who mistreat their children at home and are overly kind to others outside the home?
How about the leader who mistreats his workers but gets ahead in business? Is he successful? This kind of success is only temporary and is bought at the expense of character. Those who cheat grow more and more dishonest, and in the long run, cheating leads to more evil.
Real success does not compromise personal integrity. If you are not a success by God’s standard, you have not achieved true success or godly internal character.
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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.