Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Character Really Matters

Jeremiah 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil. (KJV)

Character Really Matters

            Nature vs. Nurture is an age old debate. Which has more influence on our behavior can exhaust even the greatest philosophers, sociologists, or psychologists. Anyone who stop to consider the choices we make can quickly sink into the quicksand of this debate, but is it our inherited nature or our learned behaviors that chart our course through life?

            Don’t worry I’m not writing a doctoral thesis! I’m not wise enough to definitively settle the issue. I’ve just been questioning why people, all people, get stuck in patterns of “negative” or more accurately SINFUL choices.

Jesus compared us to trees. Good trees and bad trees, both are judged by the fruit they produce.  The fruit is the product of our lives. On the surface, it sounds as if we are created either good or bad and have no choice in the direction toward righteousness or evil we travel. We speak and take actions based upon the abundance of our heart. Examine your heart today. Can we, who are accustomed to doing evil, choose to do justice, love mercy, and humble ourselves before God? (Matthew 7:17 & Micah 6:8)

We all sin and fall short of God’s glory. God has an expectation for us, and we disappoint Him. Jesus, in His temporal life, called that generation an evil generation. Humanity has not improved. The church in years past believed in the transforming POWER of God. We held to the conviction God was at work in us changing our sinful nature into the image of His Son. Today we spend more time offering our opinions and evaluating the individual “fit” potential converts bring to the congregation. (Matthew 12:30-35)

Character really matters. God is far more interested in our spiritual condition than our outward appearance. We cannot superimpose our expectations as to how God is building His Kingdom. We should allow Him to place the “living stones” into His house as He has planned. None of us came into the family of God by our own design. We will not be perfected this side of glory. Simply accept God at His Word. We will be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:50-52)

            Stop measuring people by what we think they can do for us, or how well liked they are and begin to see everyone as God sees them. Anyone, who has accepted Christ and is living in new life in Him is a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:16-18)

            If we return to Jeremiah’s question: Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then can you, who are accustomed to doing evil, learn to do good. The answer is: We cannot accomplish a transformation without God. Character really matters. God is daily changing us into the image of His Son. (Mark 10:26-28)

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