Monday, July 9, 2007

07 09 07 Character Still Counts

“Instead he finds pleasure in obeying the Lord’s commands;
he meditates on His commands day and night.”
(Psalm 1:2)
How do we develop and maintain good and Godly character in a world full of sudden surprises, flagrant accusations, and unwarranted attacks? How does a Christian avoid losing his testimony? We must be committed to one very basic aspect of Christian life: Bible study and memorization. Jesus refuted every challenge with the Word of God. “It is written……” is still our greatest weapon against evil. If the Lord could stand toe-to –toe with Satan, quoting the Word of God while being tempted with all the riches and power of this world, why do we think there is a better source of power available to us?

One of my favorite Bible teachers, Charles Swindoll writes, “We have every right to expect of ourselves and others virtue, dignity, self-mastery, resoluteness, determination, strength of will, moral purity, and personal integrity— in public and in private. The fact that many fail to live up to the minimal daily requirement does not change the ideal. If men like Job and Joseph and Daniel could demonstrate character in the worst of times, you and I can do so now. And because we can, we must.”1

As we hide His word in our hearts, study to show ourselves approved of God, we empower and protect ourselves with the full armor of God. We strengthen our character to withstand temptation to lash out, react too quickly, or lose our religion! We learn to enjoy what His Word is doing for us internally. We are giving control over to the Spirit within us……feeding the new dog, so to speak. Oh, character still counts, more so today than ever before!

As we go throughout the day, people are watching and listening. Ever stand in a long line in a department store and listen to the critical mumbling? Soon everyone is chiming in with a comment about the store, the cashier, the manager, etc. Do we add to the chatter, remain patient, or better yet, add a positive remark? What about the bumper-to-bumper traffic: do we lean on the horn, drive down the shoulder, or honor the bumper sticker on rear of our car (yes, Jesus saves in the back-up too!) Character counts every day; whether at work, in the home, or in the church. Studying Scripture builds character as weightlifting builds muscle; it must be consistent, challenging and if possible, done with a friend (one who can spot you and urge you on to higher goals).

There is an old song which says “if you don’t respect yourself, ain’t nobody gonna’ give a hoot, na na na na na……” You older folks remember ( the Staple singers, I believe)? Character brings respect. Consistent character strengthens our testimony, shows self-respect, and gives public merit to the Spirit of God. As we study and apply His Word, we are better equipped to handle sudden surprises, devastating disasters, even the morning rush hour. Oh, character still counts, without they’ll be total chaos!

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