The evangelist John Blanchard has said, “Circumstances never create character; they merely reveal it.” I read another anonymous quote, “Reputation is what men think you are; character is what God knows you are.” Over the next couple of weeks on Sundays we are going to dip again into aspects of character. It is clear in the New Testament that our character is of far higher regard than our gifting or resources. The relatively well off Ananias and Sapphira fell on their character (Acts 5); Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 lists supernatural gifts and tremendous human sacrifices, but concludes this way, “If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
So what determines our character? Our character is determined by what we value. Ananias and Sapphira valued the accolade of people; and they were prepared to lie to get it: they didn’t seem to realise that God would be seeing it all for what it was. In 1 Corinthians 13, the danger of valuing great feats or fantastic performance is set against our calling to value (love) God and one another. What you and I value gives us motivation for what we do and say, and what we are internally most motivated to do is what ultimately comes out.
Jesus’ character is determined by the high value he places on his Heavenly Father and doing his will. This is why he can say “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish his work.” (John 4v34) In other words, this is what energises him, motivates him, empowers him, drives him – the will and work of God. That value system flows out into his daily life. The Psalmist writes “Search me O God and know my heart .. see if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139v24) There is never a bad time to allow God to illuminate how our values need realigning – and may we be open to align to God’s illumination.
With love and blessing,