DayBreaks for 06/23/11 – Character
NOTE: Galen is on Sabbatical until 7/11. Until he returns, DayBreaks will be publishing prior devotions (that is, if Galen has access to the Internet!) Thanks for your understanding!
Character. A simple three syllable word. Easy to say, but hard to come by. Character is so very important and so very hard to find these days. I know some men and women who are characters (and let’s face it – most of them are Christians – after all, who should be more filled with the joy and exuberance of life than those who are saved?!?!). Sadly, I know more characters than people with character. Character is supposed to be one of the hallmarks of the Christian (Romans 5:3-4 – “3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.”)
Character and reputation are not the same. Abraham Lincoln described it this way: “Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadows is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” Character is the real. It isn’t a shadow, but rather it has substance. You can’t touch a shadow, but you can touch the tree. Character is solidity that comes from knowing what is true, what is real and remaining loyal to the right in spite of whatever else may be going on. A man or woman who possesses character is like “a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” (Psalm 1:3)
Integrity and character are closely linked. You cannot be a person of character without possessing integrity. I had heard part of a quote before from Chuck Swindoll’s about character that went something like this: “Character is what you are when no one is looking.” Well, I found the exact words, and while that part of the quote was a great one, the exact quote is even better: “True integrity implies you do what is right when no one is looking or when everyone is compromising.”
What do you do when no one is looking at you? When no one sees or can see? Does your integrity hold up? As difficult as living that definition of integrity out in daily life is, it is the last part of the phrase that is perhaps even more challenging: doing what is right when everyone all around you is compromising. You see, when you are alone, it is only you, Satan and Jesus doing warfare. But when you are surrounded by those who are compromising, not only are you wrestling with Satan, but you are wrestling with peer pressure to compromise, too.
Character and integrity don’t care which way the wind is blowing. They care about what is right. The man or woman of character clings to right like a plant growing in the rocky crevasse – tenacious and unyielding. Are you the real thing? Sink your roots deep into God’s soil. Resolve now to be a person of character from this day forward.
Copyright 2001 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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