True of You
“they said to Him, ‘Teacher, we know . . .’ “ Mark 12:14
Character is not what one does when no one is looking, it’s not even who one is when no one is looking. Character is not charisma, though we sometimes confuse style for substance. We make false distinctions about others every day.
We give honor to whom honor is not due. We mistake surface appearance for inward reality. We worship successful lives. Yet, how many of our Lord’s apostles appeared to succeed in life? In our age of competition and self-advertisement, having the most hits or followers aren’t proof of real character. Still we continue to choose popularity over principle.
Some seek social status – they strive and scheme to gain entry in more influential cliques by any means necessary. For others, they tread into the dangerous territory of over-valuing money as proof of an individual’s spirituality. Even good Christian people fall into the tendency of judging character on such a false basis. In many communities of worship, it would be difficult to respect a saint who wears old clothes and speaks with a Galilean accent.
Nobody made more judgments of others than the religious and political leaders of Jesus’ day. They were elitist, giving preference to the powerful and to the wealthy. But even they could see that Jesus lived differently, spoke differently, they knew the real thing when they saw it.
They cover their hostility with puffery. However, the content of their flattery of Jesus was true. Jesus’ authenticity comes through loud and clear:
- Jesus is truthful;
- He’s not concerned with the opinion of others;
- He does not show partiality;
- He truly teaches the way of God.
In Jesus, we see what real character really is – character is the summary of the decisions we’ve made in life and about God.
It must be our aim to turn our focus to Christ and learn to love what He loves, to value what He values and despise what He despises. Our Lord has erased insincerity and defined the depth of real character by taking it all the way to the cross.
Were someone to print out these four traits of Jesus’ integrity and place your name at the top, would it be true of you?