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Friday, November 20, 2009

Looking Like Jesus

Let's start out this post with a quiz. Look at the list below and see what each of these things have in common.

  1. Keeping an appointment
  2. Arriving on time for a scheduled event
  3. Writing legibly
  4. Returning money given erroneously
  5. Finishing a difficult task
  6. Keeping a promise
  7. Being thankful for what I have
  8. Being in a manner of prayer when others are praying
  9. Using what I have in a thrifty manner
  10. Responding immediately to those in authority over me

Aside from all those items being "nice" things to do or be, do you see a common thread? These are all actions of a person with character. What is character? Dr. Bob Jones Sr. said, "The test of your character is what it takes to stop you." Dictionary.com says character is, "moral or ethical quality." I've also heard that your character is what you are when no one is looking.

Which ever definition you use, character is lacking in our society today. Would a person with character cut you off in traffic, leave the grocery cart in the middle of the parking lot, cheat the government out of tax money, neglect a dirty house, send a utility bill in late or be disrespectful to our flag? No. It's so important that as Christians we reveal godly character in our lives; character that points to our God and gives others the right opinion of Who He is.

A person of character isn't perfect, of course, but they're honest, alert, clean (in appearance and in their heart), avoid the appearance of evil, and are concerned for others to the point that they won't waste their time by being late for their lunch date. Character reveals itself in the way a person works as well as their attitude towards their work. Instead of complaining about their job they're thankful they have one. They will submit to their boss, their husband, and others in authority over them - even a president they might not support in philosophy or policies.

Why is character important? Because we are to look like Christ. I never see our Lord running in late to preach at the temple. Never sleeping when He knew He needed to pray. He didn't neglect paying the tax - He even payed for Peter's part! As we see character exemplified in our Savior, so must we be women of character and teach our children what it means to live a life bearing these traits.

When is our character seen? Not necessarily in planned events. C.S. Lewis put it this way, "Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is. If there are rats in a cellar, you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats; it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way, the suddenness of the provocation does not make me ill-tempered; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am."

As we view Christ in Scripture each day, we need to take account of what His character is like and then ask Him to build those same traits in us. When others look at us do they see Jesus?

****Go here for a good list of godly character traits, their definitions, and their opposites. (At one point in our homeschooling venture I wrote a character trait on the black board in our school room and for one week I taught the definition and how to display that trait. Just a thought.)

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