I have discovered much from my experiences in life. They have caused me to hope that in the end all things will work in my favour and for my good. It is through those same experiences that character is built. But what it has not yet taught is how to maintain character for the long run. We can deny it all we want but let’s be real for a moment. You and I have mastered the art of being on our best behavior because our conscious being reminds us that the lights are turned on and we are in the eyes of the public.
For many it becomes a fantasy world because we know well how to powder our nose, to smack our lips with bright rainbow colours. Our nails are well manicured, our hair perfectly groomed and many of us are even fortunate to wear top brand clothing line. We walk with a swag in our steps and we have developed the accent and we say all of the right words that makes us fit the part. And so, over time public’s perception of who we are is great.
But what they may never know, is what goes on when no one else is looking and when the lights are turned off. What happens behind the scene when life knocked you over in public when no one was looking and you limped away into a silent retreat to lick your wounds privately? What goes on in your private habitation when the truth be told, you are hurting deep within and you are either too ashamed or too afraid to tell it to anyone else, thinking they may have a different perspective of you altogether?
“Our character is basically a composite of our habits. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character.” ~ Stephen Covey
Do you still have the same level of faith when you find yourself in the valley as you would have had when you were on the mountain top? Can God still trust you to utter the same words of praise unto Him and bless His holy name when you find yourself with your back up against the wall? Can you still say ‘God you are awesome, there is no one else like you’ when both your money and your honey start acting funny?
What is your response to a toddler who despite all that you have done, starts throwing a tantrum? Do you shout at the kid, do you smack the kid and probably utter a few curse words at him/her and then throw that child in a corner for some time out? What is your response to someone who said something mean and nasty about you? Do you respond in like manner with a few adjectives with it?
Consistency to our true character
“…but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:3-5 KJV)
Irrespective of our job position, our title, family relations, our status in society, who our husband/wife is, the number of years you have been a Christian or even been a Pastor, we all are vulnerable to think, to say things and to act differently when we are alone and no one else is watching us, than when we are in public view.
You’ve got to be an extra-ordinarily strong person to resist the temptations of indulging in or craving the deeds of the flesh so that sometime after, when reality sets in, you are not left feeling remorseful.
There is a Japanese Proverb that says, ‘when the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends.’ But my train of thought differs somewhat and I say ‘when the character of a man is not clear to you, and it must be measured, look up to God, the Creator of all.’ By the recalls of Genesis 1: 26-27 we have been created in God’s image and after His likeness [character]
That being said, here are my final thoughts:
Whether you are a Christian [born again believer] or a non-Christian [not yet accepted Christ as your Saviour]
- We get character from God and so to maintain it, we must continue to depend upon Him
- Our circumstances may vary from day to day, but God is the same today as He was yesterday and will forever be the same in the future.
- No variableness can be found in God. His character does not change, whether day or night and neither should we deviate from His
- God’s Holy Spirit in us is the one to depend upon to help us to develop and maintain a Godly and true character at all times.
- According to the above text, we glory in our tribulations which helps us to grow, to build strength and stamina, to gain experience and hope.
What are your thoughts on this? What would you like to add to the things that helps us to be consistent in or to build character? What challenges have you faced in your own life that perhaps threatened or undermined your true Christlike character?
photo credit Lawrence & Annie via cc licence on flickr.com