Character Conduct – May 1st, 2014

Dearly Beloved
In our last devotional, we talked about “Lent and Character.” I’d like for us to finish the work-week in the same vein. The scripture reads: “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
1 Corinthians 3:16 says “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in You?” So as a Christian, you know you are not your own; you can’t do whatever you want to do.
Ephesians 2:20-22 says that we “are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” We are anchored in, to Jesus thus we ought to be what He is.
If you serve in any type of leadership capacity, the expectation is that you will have a much higher or an upright character; same if you aren’t. Pick up a newspaper or switch on the television to the news channel. Go online, whether it is Face book, Tweeter or Instagram and you will agree with me the daily media appears to be almost always covered with scandalous stories. And these discreditable news stories involve political leaders, religious leaders, business executives, major sports figures, and entertainers. 
You can recall some of these stories: a state governor accused of trying to sell a seat in the Senate, the former chairman of the NASDAQ stock exchange who faced the music when he pleaded guilty to a “ponzi” type of scheme where he freely helped himself to billions of dollars belonging to investors. A well known pastor is caught cheating on his wife, doing drugs or caught in the throes of homosexual activity. Even the White House is not immune if you recall the time when a sitting US President bobbed and wove all over but finally had to admit that he had engaged in sexual improprieties with a young, “naive” intern.
What about now? Today? A mayor whose ongoing wild mal-conduct is fueled by alcohol and crack cocaine; a billionaire engaged in sexual misdeeds and who’s caught on tape spewing venomous hatred against a whole race of people to this mistress of his. Standards. Conduct. Character. And we have seen that character is what you are when no one is looking. That is the real you. A person’s character is who they really are. You are what you think.
Talking about “thinking,” don’t we all think about so many things that we know are shameful and very ungodly? And don’t we always attempt to hide these things from the public? Some people even go as far as saying what I do in private is no one’s business. Is that really true? If so, then just ask the billionaire I just talked about. Once Abraham Lincoln said, “Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” Mull it over, please.
You know, just to be sure, I looked up the meaning of the word “reputation,” and the dictionary says it is “the beliefs or opinions that are generally held about someone or something.” Your reputation is what others think of you, and what it is that they think may or may not be true, but your character is who you really are. You can hide your true self and have everyone think of you as the kind of angel that heaven will compete with earth over. But your character is still who you are; you can’t separate yourself from what you do.
But you know what? Wherever the Lord is, there is always great news even though sometimes it doesn’t feel like that. And, beloved, here is some very wonderful news for you. In reality, character is a choice, as is conduct, and you can choose to change that character or adopt a new and proper conduct! You know the buzzwords that flow from motivational speakers, like the word “reinvent.” So if you don’t like who you are, then reinvent yourself. But you can only do so if you first recognize and are willing to admit that there is something nasty about you that has to be eliminated. Right? And the Holy Spirit will enable you.
Matthew 15:18-19 says, 
But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’19For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
It is about the heart, all about the heart’s condition and Jeremiah 17:5 says, “The heart is desperately wicked and who canst know it? I the Lord search the heart.” My character is important and your character is important because it is a demonstration of our heart, what is in our heart. Now look at this: just like a garden or a yard, we will reap a bountiful harvest of joy, power, and righteousness sometimes here on earth but definitely upon Christ’s return if we tend to our character.
Proposed prayer: Dear Lord, you look on the heart and not on outward appearance. You have said that we should rend our heart and not our garment. Whether conduct or character or habit, it is always a matter of the heart! So please help me to be true to myself because I can’t hide anything from You. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer, in Jesus’ name.
Have a wonderful weekend.

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