Recently I was preaching a message from 2 Peter 1 where God commands us to add virtue to our faith. Having faith in Jesus Christ will save the soul. The next item to add to our lives after faith in Christ is virtue - we would most likely label that characteristic as character.
We have become a sound-byte society. Talent has become more admirable than character.
Forget the hard work, taking the long road and forging your own path - let's look for the shortcuts in life. Blindly we assume that the destination is the objective; however the path we take to the destination determines what kind of character we will have when we arrive there!
- "If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself." D. L. Moody
- “A man’s character is the reality of himself. His reputation is the opinion others have formed about him. Character is in him; reputation is from other people – that is the substance, this is the shadow.” Henry Ward Beecher
- “Character is the best bank collateral.” J.P. Morgan
- “Not education, but character is a man’s greatest need and man’s greatest safeguard.” Spencer
- “The most important things for a young man to establish are a credit, a reputation, and character.” John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
- “You cannot dream yourself into character; you must hammer and forge one for yourself.” Froude
- “Sow an act, and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character, and you reap a destiny.” Boardman
- “A large part of Christian virtue consists of good habits.”Paley
Sadly, we have strayed so far from the Bible that our society openly embraces the attitude that the end justifies the means. In sports we are told with a wink, "If you're not cheating, you're not really trying." Businessmen brazenly declare the "anything for the bottom line" motto. However, real character is not a quick fix alternative.
Hebrews 12:1-2 states we are to "run with patience that race that is set before us." The Christian life is not a sprint, it is a marathon. We need to engrain this important truth deeply in the hearts and minds of the next generation. It needs to be embodied and on full display to our children and grandchildren in the classroom, the ball fields, the living room and the mall. Without a return to godly character, our society will be totally corrupt by the next generation.
We all want to win, no one really wants to lose - but it DOES matter how we play the game. Ultimately winning and losing will be determined by what you forfeit or gain on the journey.