To put it simply, sometimes we reach for the CHEESECAKE and ignore the CARROTS! More often than sometimes we desperately snatch at money, power, and the approval of others while allowing the real treasure to sit in decay. I believe that personal character falls into this category.
I’ve heard it said that character seems to be lost in our modern age. With no real “right” and “wrong”, the only true standards are the ones that individuals have set for themselves, resulting in a generation of morally flimsy couch potatoes. Thankfully, this does NOT have to be OUR story!
In a world where character seems so hard to find, I am ready to stand apart. Integrity, honor, and truth are PRICELESS treasures that you and I can start CULTIVATING and SPENDING! Here are just some of the ways that we can start this journey TODAY.
Wow. Entire BOOKS have been written on this subject! But for today’s blog, a paragraph will have to do. What does it mean to put others before yourself? Though I OFTEN fail in this area, I know that it means sacrificing your time, energy, and possessions so that others may gain some value. This means LISTENING more than you speak. It means being ON TIME for every promised occasion. Did you agree to help? Then come through for them! And never ever share with others what was expressed in confidence. As you grow in this area of loving others, you will become known as a person of character and a trustworthy friend!
Integrity is one of THE most difficult virtues to develop! It means your private life and your public life line up. You talk the talk AND walk the walk. It means doing your best no matter what it is or who is watching. It means having a firmly established sense of what is right and wrong, as well as the courage to stand your ground when these truths are opposed. Integrity. A lifelong journey to be sure!
While truth may be a “debatable” topic in our day and age, I am NOT going to beat around the bush with you! There IS truth. There IS right and wrong, and the One who designed these functions of the Universe is none other than Jesus Christ our Lord. This is where people get caught up. Can’t you be a person of beautiful character WITHOUT God? In a sense, sure! You can most definitely try. God designed humans to be capable of all kinds of joy and generosity. But sadly, there is more at work in this world beyond peace, love, and joy. I think you will soon find that the standards of an upright character become impossible without the help of your Maker, and the burden of evil becomes to much to bear without a reference point.
Which leads us to the piece of advice.
The truth is, you simply cannot make your own character beautiful. This is because character-building is a combination of what you DO and what happens TO you. Obviously enough, the later category is something we have zero control over! That’s why it is good to know that we have a Father in Heaven who has already laid the plans for this beautiful journey. HE is the one who allows things to happen to us outside of our desire and control, and HE is the one who turns those trials into the brushstrokes of a masterpiece. In fact, everything in your life can be seen as a part of this tapestry, from every-day frustrations to much deeper sorrows. Building character is God’s specialty.
I can only offer a few humble thoughts when it comes to building our characters. After all, I’m only at the beginning of my character-building journey! But it is better to recognize sooner than later that a beautiful character is more valuable than the riches and fame of this world. So let’s just bask in this glorious news today! All that money, power, and fame we’ve been coveting mean NOTHING in the long run! Instead, we can have joy knowing that day by day our characters are slowly being perfected by the Master Craftsman. So let’s start saying NO to the empty promises of “cheesecake” and YES to the beautifying of our inner characters!