“Satan’s plan was to distort God’s character and incite Adam and Eve to distrust God. Satan knew once they stopped trusting God, they would be powerless to overcome his temptations”, writes Brad Cole in the fantastic book, “Servant God”. Ever since that initial deception, God has been at work revealing His true character to humans, and Satan has continued to try to twist our perception of it. As long as we don’t trust in the integrity of God, we can never experience the fullness of life He intends for us. We have bought the lies of Satan that convince us we need the things of this world to fulfill the desires of our hearts. We have become blind to the fact that all we need is Jesus. Worse still, we have come to distrust in the promises of God, and ultimately in His character.
Every day, we are being watched by other people whether we realize it or not. Those whom we have never met are constantly forming opinions of us. Take an honest look at the way you view the world around you; we all make snap judgments of others based on experience, prejudice or jealousy. The man in the sharp suit is successful, the woman in the low cut blouse is a tramp; the dark-skinned boy is a thug or the light-skinned boy is a dishonest schemer. All this and more from we who profess to follow the teachings of the One who told us not to judge.
J.C. Watts said that “Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking.” Follow that up with this quote from Thomas Paine: “Character is much easier kept than recovered.” If we are going to be observed and judged by people throughout our day, and we desire to reflect the life of Christ, we must become people of impeccable character. I don’t believe any of us would doubt the character of Jesus. He lived a life marked by the highest morality and the highest character. While He may have set the bar at an unattainable level, we should nevertheless strive to reach His marker.
The first step in developing a solid character is to build it on the strongest of foundations – Jesus Christ. If we don’t base everything we do on Jesus, no matter what we do will eventually fail. Jesus is the truth, in Him alone is life. To start with Jesus is to guarantee success in your life. A life that ends in the arms of Jesus cannot possibly be called a failure! When the daily stress of life beats against you, you will need to be anchored in the truth, anchored in someone stronger than yourself. You build on this foundation by developing positive character traits. These traits are the same ones that were modeled by Jesus: humility, truthfulness, honesty, graciousness, compassion, integrity, love, peace and joy. These traits can be developed; they aren’t something you are born with. You must work to incorporate them as habits into your life.
You cannot fake a good character, at least not for long. Most will immediately identify you for the fraud that you are; others will discover it over time. To be certain, you will eventually be found out and humiliated in some fashion or another. It does no good to fake the traits of good character. Instead, work hard to develop each of the habits in your life. Your desire to become a person of character starts with maintaining a positive mindset through all adversity. Positive people are simply more attractive people. You must determine in your own mind that you will begin to cultivate the habits of good character. Once you have set your mind to the task, practice incorporating these traits into your life each and every day. Simply making the decision to be a person of character will reap immediate rewards in your life. You will suddenly find yourself choosing to do the right things for the simple reason that it is the right thing to do. You will be on your way to becoming a person of character.
Does character really matter in the grand scheme of things? Shouldn’t we just focus on reading the Bible and telling others about Jesus? Don’t forget, our goal is to live a life that looks like Jesus. Since Jesus had the highest character, this is why it is important that we too have a strong character. The way we live is our most powerful witnessing tool. When people admire us and desire to be more like us, they really desire to be more like Jesus, because it is He that shines through us. So yes, reading the Bible is vital, as well as telling others about Him. There is no stronger way to tell someone about Christ than to be a person of character that reflects our King in everything that we do.