Placing Popularity Over Principle


“. . . and works righteousness, . . .” Psalm 15:2


Character is not charisma, though we sometimes confuse style for substance. We make false distinctions about others every day.

We mistake external appearance for inward reality. We worship successful lives. In our age competition and self-advertisement, or having the most hits or followers, are lauded. None of which are evidences 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 trap of judging character on such a false basis. In many communities of worship, it would be difficult to respect a disciple who wears old clothes and speaks with a Galilean accent. But the first disciples were indeed men of character.

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. 

Jesus’ authenticity comes through loud and clear. He practiced what He preached. Jesus always: 

• Does right

• Deals with the tension

• Delights in honesty

• Disciplines His words

• Defends the righteous

• Delivers on His word

• Distributes wealth

• Doesn’t use others

In both words and the ways of Jesus, we see what real character truly is – character is the summary of the decisions we’ve made in life and about God. Character is the point where our belief and behavior converge.

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. By living out the great eight traits, our Lord has erased insincerity and demonstrated the length and depth of real character by taking it all the way to the cross.


Were someone to print out these eight traits of Jesus’ character on a card and write your name at the top, would it be true of you too?