Church of God, New World Ministries

Golden Character

One quest that excites human passion is the prospect of finding gold. Gold is a precious mineral, today it is worth around 1,800 dollars per ounce. The cry of gold has driven men across deserts, mountains, ranges, continents and oceans.

Some few have found riches and fame, but many more disappointments. History books tell of dramatic changes brought to entire civilizations by the discovery of gold. Just look at what the Spanish people did to the Aztec and Inca empires of Mexico and Peru, seeking their golden treasures.

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible speaks about gold, Christians are to build with it, and Laodiceans are to buy it. The New Jerusalem will be made of it: “And the street of the city was pure gold like transparent glass” (Rev. 21:21).

Gold is the first metal mentioned in the Bible (Gen. 2:11-12). Abraham’s great wealth was measured in part by gold: “Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver and gold” (Gen. 13:2). When Abraham sent his servant to find a suitable wife for Isaac, the servant rewarded Rebekah with gold jewelry.

Does God like gold? “The construction of its walls was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass” (Rev. 21:18).

In Ex. 25:31-40 God told Moses about making of the many objects for tabernacle service; one of the objects was candlesticks of pure gold, and according to tradition, the candlesticks weighted at least 66 pounds of pure gold.

Notice I Chronicles 22:11-14: “Now, my son, may the Lord be with you; and may you prosper, and build the house of the Lord your God, as he has said to you. Only may the Lord give you wisdom and understanding, and give you charge concerning Israel, that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. Then you will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statute and judgments with which the Lord charged Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and of good courage; do no fear nor be dismayed. Indeed I have taken much trouble to prepare for the house of the Lord one hundred thousand talents of gold and one million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond measure, for it is so abundant. I have prepared timber and stone also, and thou may add to them.”

The 100,000 talents of gold were around 6.6 million pounds of gold, with the price of gold today, that building could not be built today. But, you may ask, what does this have to do with me, and in what ways can you apply gold to me?

 Notice I Cor. 3: 1-3, “And I brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat; for unto now you were not able to bear it, neither yet now are you able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal and walk as men.”

(v.9) “For we are fellow workers together with God; ye are God’s field, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds thereon, but let every man take heed how he builds thereon. For no other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay and straw.”

Jesus Christ pictures the Christian character we are to build as spiritual gold. Jesus Christ is our foundation and we are to build upon this foundation.  If you notice there are a variety of materials to build a home and a Christian is represented as having different materials available to use in building character. Three of these are valuable and will last, and three are ordinary and easily destroyed by burning.

“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire: and the fire shall try (or test) every man’s works of what sort it is” (v. 13).

“That the genuineness of your faith being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tested with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:7).

   As a member of God’s Church, Christians are being judged now, (I Peter 4:17) and we are being judged by the trials and tribulations and persecution and tests that we go through on a daily basis, and these are likened to fire, that will test the character that each of us is building.

   Now if we are building character with enduring materials, gold, silver and precious stones we shall receive a reward (I Cor. 3:14). If anyone builds character that is easily shaken or destroyed by even small trials and tests, that person is likened to someone who builds a house on perishable material that is destroyed by fire.

As we just read in I Peter 1:7 a Christian of high character and faith is more valuable to God than the best gold purified by the refiner. We cannot lose sight or vision that God is building within His Church, His family to share eternity with.

To many Christians are lax, self-satisfied and complacent with their own spiritual works. God tells us “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich” (Rev. 3:18).

What is it about gold that makes people desire it? One thing, gold is soft, its yellow luster and glow makes gold objects attractive. Gold bracelets, necklaces, rings and earrings, this metal has a way of capturing our attention far above other metals.

Then is it not true, in the same manner, a Christian with the character of spiritual gold stands out from others, a deeply converted growing Christians has a special quality of spirit, nothing else can match, the inner glow of God’s Holy Spirit radiating God’s character.

The Apostle Paul tells us the golden character that should radiate from us: “Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23). The more of these fruits of God’s Spirit abounds in our lives the more golden our character becomes in God’s sight. The beauty of this character will be obvious to others; these traits are what set a Christians apart from others. What we must avoid is to be content with using perishable material just to get by, thinking that our goal is just only to make it into God’s Family.

“If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved, yet so by fire” (I Cor. 3:15). What is it that burns, hay, wood and straw? We must labor long and hard to develop the very nature and character of God.

It takes a lot of hard work and expense into extracting gold from the earth, and there is not a lot of gold in the world today.

During the California gold rush of the 19th century miners worked hard to collect an average of one half ounce of gold per day, it was hardly a get rich venture. Mining for gold and building Christian character takes a lot of work to succeed.

“Therefore, my brethren, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12). God builds His character in Christians just as He created the gold to be mined from the earth; it requires effort to acquire both. It is not enough just to want godly character; we must be willing to work for it with all our being.

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before. I press toward the mark (or goal) for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14).

We have seen the golden art objects buried thousands of years ago still have their original luster and beauty when unearthed. Only a few strong acids can spoil the lasting beauty of pure gold. But under normal conditions it will not tarnish or rust.

Gold’s incorruptible nature pictures Christian character at it best. We are led into sin by the trials and cares of this life, or any of the other character destroying temptations in the present evil world. We are called to remain a Christian that God can count on to be faithful and obedient to Him always, no matter what corrosive influences is at work to eat away the purity of God’s character in us.

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord knowing that our labor is not in vain in the Lord” (Cor. 15:58).

Now another thing that makes gold valuable, it makes surfaces highly reflective. Years ago (not sure if they do it today), but gold leaf was placed on the outer surfaces of some American spacecraft to reflect the intense heat radiation from outer space.

As a Christian, God expects us to give back to Him and our fellow man, the same love, and concern and care that God has given us. Our goal as a Christian is to become just like Jesus Christ. Because He, at all times mirrored to the world God’s very nature and ways. Is it any wonder Jesus said: “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”  As a begotten child of God, we are to shine as lights by the power of the Holy Spirit, setting a clear example to this darkened evil world of God’s way of life.

Pure gold is extremely soft, malleable; it can be hammered very thin. A pound of gold can be drawn into wire so thin that it would stretch 900 miles, or it can be beaten into sheets only three millionths of an inch thick. It would require 3,000 such sheets to equal the thickness of a single 3x5 card. They are so thin that the slightest breeze will blow them away and light shines through the gold.

Gold easily alloys with other metals used to impart greater hardness. Gold is not brittle like pottery or glass, or hard and unmanageable like iron, gold can be fashioned as the craftsman desires.

Who is our Master Potter our Master Craftsman, it the Great God Himself, and He is molding and shaping us so that we become spiritual gold, that we yield, humble, receptive to His correction without resisting or breaking. God is molding us in His character for his purpose to be fulfilled in our lives.

“And to not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin. But present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Rom. 6:13).

Gold is often used in sophisticated industrial applications where a corrosion-resistant and highly reliable electrical conductor is required. Where no chance of failure can be taken, the choice is gold.

Christians too, are to be failsafe conductors of God’s Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit is to flow from God through us to do the work He has in mind. “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure” (Phil 2:13).

Heat causes gold compounds to break down; yielding the bright yellow metal we are familiar with. Heat removes impurities from the metal by forming slag that can be skimmed off the top, but it also changes the chemical composition of gold compounds and returns gold to its pure metallic state.

God intends the heat of our trials and tests to bring out the best in our Christian character; gold tried in the fire is pure and refined.

When we experience personal trials, we should remember that God is refining us to bring out the best, the gold of His character.

Now we all know that there is a counterfeit gold, it is call fool’s gold, but in reality it is only iron and pyrite. But to the unknowing it looks just like real gold. We are to be careful, and be sure that the character we are developing is really God’s gold and not our own counterfeit.

The Ten Commandments, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and the list of the fruits of God’s Sprit are just a few of the many tests we can use to examine our character. This will tell us if we are in full harmony with God’s Word or just some worthless substitute, our own counterfeit righteousness.

We may never find that pot of gold, but our lives and experiences are potential gold mines to yield rich treasure. God is giving us the opportunity to become spiritual trillionaires, if we are willing to yield to Him, to overcome and put forth some plain hard work using the tools of prayer, bible study, fasting and meditation to extract spiritual gold from the experiences of life.

The time is coming when men will realize there is no lasting benefit from seeking security and protection from money and precious metals. “They will throw their silver into the streets and their gold will be useless, their silver and gold will not be able to deliver them” (Ezk. 7:19).

God alone is our sure provider; the opportunity to gain the spiritual wealth God offers to those He has called is there for all who are willing to put forth the effort to develop God’s character. The reward God promises is to become part of God’s special treasure, part of His spiritual Temple.

The gold is there, waiting, the cry of gold has echoed for more than 70 years through the ministry of God’s Church, it’s up to us now to go and get it.

 
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