“Above all . . guard your heart.” Proverbs 4:23 NIV
“Character is about what you are when you think that no one else is watching.”
My thoughts today are about “priceless character.”
Character has always been a fascinating word to me. Character is evidenced in visible traits such as honesty, integrity, loyalty, and consistency – being the same inside and out, the same today and tomorrow. That’s the way that God is, good by character and conduct always. “For I am the Lord and I do not change.” Malachi 3:6 NLT. See James 1:17/Hebrews 13:8 NIV.
For those who value Godly character, it just seems obvious to others and natural to them; for those who lack this essential virtue, the compromise or absence is glaring. Character is about what you are when you think that no one else is watching – someone always is! Your character matters to you because you are watching when no one else is, and more importantly, you know that God is watching also. And God cares about “truth in the inward parts.” Psalm 51:6 NKJV.
Character must be considered priceless to you, meaning that your honesty and integrity are not for sale to the highest bidder. You don’t compromise your character for a moment’s pleasure, or for peer pressure, or for business expediency, or for financial gain. Character results when you have sworn your unchanging allegiance to God, and He alone. The Apostle Paul’s’ confidence and courage in the worst of circumstances was rooted in these words, “. .God, whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me!” Acts 27:23 NIV. That is allegiance and loyalty.
The relationship between conduct and character is interesting also. Character will strongly and clearly affect your conduct, shaping your ideas, values, priorities, opinions, choices and decisions, therefore governing your conduct. But also, when your behavior is contrary to Godly qualities, conduct ultimately shapes your character, reflecting internally the breakdown of behavior that has been allowed externally. It is an effective deterrent to always ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?”
For many years, I have tried to follow a simple matrix of three practical questions: (1) Will this glorify God? (See Matthew 5:16 NKJV) (2) Will this edify others? (See 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 NKJV) (3) Will this present a credible witness to those who do not know Christ? (See 1 Peter 3:15-16 NLT). Two out of three is not good enough. If the answer to any one of those is negative or just not clear to you, it is best to make a better choice.
The Bible gives you a practical and helpful key, “Whatever you do, do it heartily as unto the Lord.” Colossians 3:23-25 NKJV. Solomon wisely advised, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23 NKJV. Character begins in keeping one’s heart pure, and keeping it true to God. Accomplishing that will require continuous attention and strict adherence to being controlled by the Holy Spirit (See Galatians 5:22-25 NLT), and glorifying to God. (See 1 Corinthians 6:17-20 NKJV). That all begins in your heart. Keep it right before God and man.
My prayer for you is to always prize and protect true, Godly character.