“Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12 NIV)
It is necessary at times to give extra attention to components of our lives. Sometimes it may be your weight. Sometimes it may be a health issue. Sometimes it may be an emotional issue. However, one aspect of our lives should receive life time attention. That is our character.
What kind of story is your character communicating?
Each of our lives is telling a story. Some stories are good. Some stories are bad. Some stories have a happy ending. Some stories have a sad ending. We have a choice in how that story turns out. Your character will affect the telling of your story. We find a challenging truth on this subject in the biblical passage of I Timothy 4:12. Paul tells Timothy to “Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” Your life story will be based on your character. Paul instructs Timothy to guard his character.
Some people might say “character is not important.” “Does it really matter?” If you study the Bible, you come to understand that character is tremendously important. It matters to God. Consider these scriptures:
“Be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, ” (Philippians 2:15 RSV)
“For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience that we have behaved in the world, and still more toward you, with holiness and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God”. (2 Corinthians 1:12 RSV)
“Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord!” (Psalm 119:1 RSV)
The poet wrote, 'I have to live with myself and so, I want to be fit for myself to know. I want to be able as days go by, always to look myself in the eye. I don't want to stand in the setting sun and hate myself for the things I've done. I don't want to keep on a closet shelf, a lot of secrets about myself; and fool myself as I come and go, into thinking nobody else will know - the kind of man I really am.' Nothing is more important than your character. No matter how rich or successful you become, when you lose your character you've lost everything. And one more thought: if you always do the right thing, you'll never have to worry about remembering what you did!
In His Love & Service,
Pastor Larry E. Campbell
St. Paul A.M.E. Church, San Bernardino, CA