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Reputation and Character

March 14th, 2014

“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.” Joshua 24:15 NIV.

Choices are made in a moment yet reach far into your future, shaping destiny.

My thoughts and comments today are about “reputation and character.”

When you are young, you can’t wait until you can make all of your own choices, with no one telling you what you can or can’t do. If and when you reach that goal, the problem begins. You make your own choices, but soon discover that every choice has consequences. Some you know when you make them; others you discover much later. Choices are important. Make them wisely.

Many are small; some much larger than they might first appear. Choices are made in a moment yet reach far into your future, shaping destiny. Someone observed, “Our lives are like icebergs. Only 15 percent is visible; that’s reputation. The rest, our character, rests below the surface, hidden.” Reputation is what people think of you because of what you appear to be; character is what both you and God know that you are.

Character is how you handle failures with honesty and successes with humility. You know people possessing Godly character and people lacking it. Somehow you can tell the difference. You may not realize what that difference is but that difference is character, what the Bible calls integrity. Outer charisma never substitutes for inner character. A person with character remains what they appear to be, conduct themselves as they should, and do what reflects true character, whatever the immediate and external pressure to do otherwise.

Every small choice that you make along the way prepares you to make the tough choices when needed. Right choices, when it would be less costly to do otherwise, develop and reveal character. Joseph demonstrated character in spite of temptation. See Genesis 39:7-12 NIV. Daniel demonstrated character in spite of persecution and threats. See Daniel 6:10-15 NKJV. ”Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in You.” Psalm 25:20-21 NIV.

You are the product of your choices, the big ones and the apparently small ones, the obvious ones and the difficult ones with which you struggle. You build inner strength each time you make the right choice. Every time you don’t, you sacrifice some bit of your self-respect. Whether anyone would ever know of your choice doesn’t really matter; you will know you chose to do what was consistent with your character. “The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them.” Proverbs 11:3 NAS.

Blaming circumstances or others for what you are or do lacks character. Circumstances and the actions of others are well beyond your control, but your character is your choice alone. Blame is an excuse and as inaccurate as faulting a mirror for your looks. Developing character and retaining integrity are always your choice. Make that choice on every occasion in every situation.

Joshua knew where real character begins and how it is sustained, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15. The far reaching decision that affects character is your choice to obey the Lord only and always. “As for me, You uphold me in my integrity, and set me before Your face forever.” Psalm 41:12 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that you make wise and Godly choices, no matter the option.

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