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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

You are quite a character!

"A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble." (Charles Spurgeon)

The moments we make today may not seem like much when we consider them one at a time, but when they are all added up and seen in their totality, that is a different story. In the moment, the decisions we make, the way we choose to solve life's problems, or the responses we give to one another when hurting, offended, or critical of something we have done make all the difference.


May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God. 

(Philippians 1:11 NLT)

When Jesus is central in all we do and think, the character produced will be consistent with his. When we are at the center of all we do, the character produced will be a little too harsh, kind of wobbly at best, and just plain too self-seeking. The character we see manifest is really a manifestation of what has affected our "core" - mind, will and emotions. When what affects our "core" is our own self-seeking nature, we see mind focused on things that matter to us with little regard for what others think or need, will determined to get what we need even at the expense of the needs of others, and emotions unraveling whenever we don't feel like our needs are being met.

Mirrors might have helped us in some respects, but I think we might have become a little too self-focused because we focus on the image that we think should be portrayed to others rather than on the image God wants to portray. We "doll up", "dress up", "cover up", and "man up", all while considering our "image" in the mirror. What we neglect to see is the image portrayed by our words, actions, inaction, and even our non-verbal cues. Mirrors don't help us see what is at the core of our being - it takes the mirror of God's word and the help of his Holy Spirit to actually "reflect back" a true picture of what is at the core of our lives.

In much the same way as fruit is seasonal in our markets everywhere, the fruit we bear in our lives is kind of helped along by the seasons we go through in life. A particularly dry season may not seem to produce much fruit, but what comes from that season is hardy. A different season of plenty and what seems to be "easy sailing" may produce the fruits of joy and peace, but does it produce the same "hardiness" of these "fruits" as the particularly dry season did? Not usually. It quite possible that both seasons are necessary, but one gives something of "deeper stability" in our character than the other. The hardest season to endure may produce the deepest roots and the most "robust" of fruits! Just sayin!