What is most valuable to you? If you write a list does your character, make that list? If so, where does it fall? Is your character beneath Jesus, Who is hopefully #1? Or does your family, friends, house, career, stuff, hobbies, activities, etc. come before your character? If we are made new in Christ Jesus, then our character should reflect Him in every aspect of our lives. Thus, it only makes sense that our character is of great value and should follow as a close #2 behind Jesus on our list.
So, keeping your character in mind, how would your family or close friends describe you? Basically, what is the impression that you leave with people? We know that Jesus embodied the Fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23), and it was witnessed by everyone who had encounters with Him that He had the perfect character. Yet, those who chose to judge Him spoke of His reputation. They had ulterior motives and never sought to truly know Jesus’s character, rather they made determinations and created a false reputation for Him.
One of my favorite quotes is: “Worry about your character not your reputation. Your character is who you are, and your reputation is who people think you are.” For my life, I added to this quote: “Worry about your character not your reputation. Your character is who you are in CHRIST JESUS, and your reputation is who people think you are as they judge you from a worldly perspective”.
Proverbs 22:1-21 (NLT)
1 Choose a good reputation over great riches;
being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.
2 The rich and poor have this in common:
The Lord made them both.
3 A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions.
The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.
4 True humility and fear of the Lord
lead to riches, honor, and long life.
5 Corrupt people walk a thorny, treacherous road;
whoever values life will avoid it.
6 Direct your children onto the right path,
and when they are older, they will not leave it.
7 Just as the rich rule the poor,
so the borrower is servant to the lender.
8 Those who plant injustice will harvest disaster,
and their reign of terror will come to an end.
9 Blessed are those who are generous,
because they feed the poor.
10 Throw out the mocker, and fighting goes, too.
Quarrels and insults will disappear.
11 Whoever loves a pure heart and gracious speech
will have the king as a friend.
12 The Lord preserves those with knowledge,
but he ruins the plans of the treacherous.
13 The lazy person claims, “There’s a lion out there!
If I go outside, I might be killed!”
14 The mouth of an immoral woman is a dangerous trap;
those who make the Lord angry will fall into it.
15 A youngster’s heart is filled with foolishness,
but physical discipline will drive it far away.
16 A person who gets ahead by oppressing the poor
or by showering gifts on the rich will end in poverty.
Sayings of the Wise
17 Listen to the words of the wise;
apply your heart to my instruction.
18 For it is good to keep these sayings in your heart
and always ready on your lips.
19 I am teaching you today—yes, you—
so you will trust in the Lord.
20 I have written thirty sayings for you,
filled with advice and knowledge.
21 In this way, you may know the truth
and take an accurate report to those who sent you.
Prayer: Jesus, thank You for being the perfect example for my life. Please continue to groom my character so that it may be reflective of You and help me to live by the Fruits of the Spirit. I want to leave an impression of You with people. I love You, Lord, and ask this in Your Name, Jesus. Amen.
Written by: Jennifer Auer, Pastor Mary Haley’s Assistant