“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
A Call to Character, by Randall D. Kittle

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While I was praying, the Lord came to me with a strong visitation and spoke to me saying, “The next move of My Spirit in the Church will not be based upon spiritual gifts given to men, but upon My presence resting upon people. I am forming a nameless, faceless generation. The vessel will be unimportant and often seem unimpressive. They will simply be those who usher in My presence. It will not be giftedness, intellect, skills, or charisma — but character that will determine those whom I can use.” Suddenly, I was given a vision in which I saw a sailing ship that looked like it was from the 17th century. It was moored and had its gangplank on the dock. I could see people going up and down the gangplank loading the ship and stowing supplies below its deck as it prepared to sail. Then I noticed a billboard on the dock in front of the ship which had two signs. The top sign read: Time of Departure – Immediately; and the other said: Destination – The New Land of the Next Move of God. The ship then pulled in its gangplank, hoisted its anchor, unfurled its sails, and shoved off. As the wind filled its sails and it began to move out toward the horizon, I could see the name on the back of the ship. It was the H. M. S. Character!

The Lord is telling us that character is the vehicle that will bring us into the next move of God. Character is what determines the measure of responsibility with which God can entrust us. In God’s kingdom, when He can trust us with more responsibility He will bestow upon us more authority. Many believers want to have an increased measure of authority in the kingdom, but are they walking in the responsibilities they have been given so God can trust them with more? We need to begin to develop and display godly character, and we need to start
immediately!

Preparation for a Power-Surge
The Lord showed me in an unusual way why character is so important to Him in this hour. I was awakened very early in the morning sensing the presence of the Lord and wondering why the Lord wanted me up so early. Suddenly, through the heavy shades of my bedroom, I saw a big flash of light that appeared somewhat like lightning, but it was winter and there was no thunderstorm. A moment later, I saw a brighter flash and sparkling lights that looked like fireworks. Then I heard a loud “Boom!” and all the power in our house went out. In fact, all the power in our area went out because the transformer on the main street near our house had blown up. After the power company restored the power to my house, I went in to work. A short time later, we suddenly lost all the power in the church building. I found out from a neighbor that the transformer in our building’s neighborhood had failed. That afternoon one of my friends arrived late for a meeting with me. When I asked them what had happened, they explained that they had gotten delayed in traffic. It seemed that while they were driving down the street a transformer along the road blew up, and the stop lights had lost their power.

After three different occurrences of electrical transformers blowing up in one day, I decided to ask the Lord if there was something He was trying to speak to me through this. God showed me that the transformers had been destroyed because they were unable to handle the power that surged through them. He told me that this same thing has happened repeatedly in the Church. God had willingly poured out His power, but the character of those through whom it was to flow was unable to handle the power surge, and their lives literally exploded. Think of the numerous “big names” in ministry whom God anointed and was using to advance His kingdom only to have their entire ministry eventually blow up in front of everyone because their character was insufficient to handle the power.

The Lord wants to pour more power into the Church, but we need an upgrade to handle it! It is the longing of God’s heart to send His awesome, life-changing power to His Church. He desires it far more than we do. It is only His mercy that stops Him from pouring out His power upon us right now, because our current character could not handle the power God wants to release without failing.

Character is Critical
In this day, the Lord wants us to realize that not only does character count — character is critical! Across the body of Christ there are innumerable saints who are not realizing the destiny God has for them. Their calling, their whole promised potential as men and women of God, has been pawned due to lack of character. Inadequate character has caused the spiritual gifts of many to lie dormant and unrealized. One of the biggest hindrances to the kingdom of God advancing is the unrealized callings of the saints. It saddens me just to think of all the believers I know personally who have been given marvelous gifts from the Lord, but whose gifts are now gathering dust instead of gaining God glory — all because they never developed the character to accompany the gift. Remember, while the Lord delights to give us His spiritual gifts, it is up to us to develop the character that will release them and make them truly fruitful. The landscape of the Church is littered with lives that once shimmered with great potential, but now are castaways of spiritual shipwreck because of lack of character.

This breaks the very heart of our Heavenly Father. Imagine how your heart would grieve if your child had great potential with endless possibilities but they weren’t fulfilling it because of their lack of character. You would cry yourself to sleep at night, sobbing over this needless waste. That is the heart of Father God who grieves that His children are unable to be all He created them to be. Most believers were meant to live a life of so much more than they have settled for. God wants character formed in us that will allow us to walk out the destiny He has prepared for us! While people may perish due to lack of knowledge, destiny lays unfulfilled due to lack of character.

Tamed By Our Own Desires
Perhaps the best example of this in the Bible is Samson. Samson was the Lord’s supernatural gift to Israel. God sent an angel to Samson’s mother while she was barren to prophesy that she would bring forth a son and that he would become a deliverer of Israel. “For behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son … and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines” (Judges 13:5). Though he was born to be a deliverer of Israel, he wound up a captive to the Philistines — blinded and grinding grain in their prison. Samson had a supernatural birth with angelic visitations, an awesome anointing from God, and a calling from the Lord to be a deliverer. How, then, did he fail so miserably by fulfilling so little of the spiritual destiny God had for him?

Any overview of Samson’s life clearly shows a glaring lack of character. As high as his supernatural strength towered, there was a character flaw just as deep of a man lustfully fulfilling his own desires. When Samson was twenty years old, he took for his wife a Philistine woman from Timnah. To satisfy his desire for this woman, he went against his parents’ counsel and actually married a Philistine — one of the very people he was supposed be fighting against. What an obvious sign of Samson’s divided heart. He wanted to serve God. He wanted to fulfill his spiritual calling. But he also wanted to satisfy the fiery passions of his wild heart. The deliverer of Israel was literally “in bed with the enemy.” This was not one, isolated poor decision. It was the beginning of a lifestyle of “womanizing” that would eventually lead to his downfall. Whether it was his imprudent and improper marriage, his ill-advised night spent with the prostitute of Gaza, or his love affair with the deceitful Delilah, the character flaw of satisfying the lustful cravings of his heart continually caused him to abort his higher calling of bringing deliverance to Israel. Samson was a man towering in supernatural strength because of God’s gifting and his firm faith in God. But he was also a foolhardy, lustful man, who dishonored and wasted this God-given power because of his flawed character.

We cannot afford to have a divided heart — a heart that wants to lay hold of our spiritual destiny, yet still harbors character flaws that feed our flesh and offend our God. The greater the power, the greater the need to have pure hearts. And God is about to greatly increase the power-level of His anointing upon the Church as the end of the age unfolds. Undivided lives fixed upon the Lord will be the vessels God chooses to pour His power into and through in the days ahead. Anything less will result in needless tragedy and unfulfillment of our full spiritual destiny.

The Beginning Of Character
The Lord is urgently crying out, calling His bride to character. But what is the character He so earnestly desires for us to have? In the vision of the ship, the name of the ship was the “H. M. S. Character.” The Lord was telling me that the character He is looking for must begin by possessing “H”– Humility, “M”– Morality, and “S”– Stewardship.

Many years ago there was a best-selling book called,
Dress for Success. It was written primarily for those seeking success in the business world. It explained how wearing certain clothes — particular styles, fabrics, colors, etc. — could help you spring forward into certain success. How can you know if you are dressed for spiritual success? “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’” (1 Peter 5:5). Humility is the first essential ingredient the Lord is looking for us to exhibit in our character. We must clothe ourselves in humility, for “Whoever humbles himself like a little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4).

True humility has both total God dependence and total God confidence. It declares like John the Baptist,
“He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). While it realizes that without Christ, I can do nothing (see John 15:5), it also knows that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). To have humility is to be Christ-like, for this is how Jesus, the most humble person who ever walked upon this earth, described Himself. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29).

The second facet God is longing to see formed in our character is morality. God is looking for character that takes the righteousness He has given us and walks it out producing holiness. I’m not talking about some external legalism put on from the outside. True morality is far more than following a list of “Do’s” and “Don’ts.” Spiritual morality is taking the grace we have been given and learning to walk above sin. It is having the fear of the Lord that longs to honor God in every aspect of our lives. It is possessing a heart of obedience which pleases the Lord more than sacrifice. And it is being holy as He is holy so we can come into new depths of intimacy with the Living God.

The third dimension God is desiring to see in our character is stewardship. Those through whom the Lord will display great power in the days ahead will be those who understand that they are merely stewards of everything they have. When we become a believer, all that we have belongs to the Lord — our money, our time, our talents, our skills, and our relationships. If our finances are self-serving instead of God-centered, it is a sign that our hearts are not centered on Him. If we refuse to live within our means because of the pulls of our society, we are mortgaging the character God is seeking to bless. Stewardship means our talents and spiritual gifts belong to the Lord, and we can’t just “take our marbles” and go elsewhere when we are hurt or disappointed. Stewardship means that we are willing to cut off relationships that draw us away from God regardless of how fulfilling or long-lasting they might be. We must heed the warning of 1 Corinthians 15:33,
“Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” Stewardship means that we learn to “number our days,” to manage our time by aligning the schedule of our lives to fulfill our spiritual destiny.

God is so desirous of us having this kind of character because He is longing to pour His power out in unprecedented proportion. As the Lord showed my friend Bobby Conner, “God is trying to get us in such a position that He can trust us with His glory.” It is one thing to cry out in prayer or in song “Show us Your glory.” It is quite another to yield our lives to the working of the Holy Spirit until a character that God would love to embrace is formed in our lives. Let us rise to the call, deny our flesh, and embrace God’s cry to humility, morality, and stewardship, for only then will we be able to come into the new land of the next move of God.


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