A life of pretence has two faces – public and private. The public one is an image it seeks to project. The private one is a secret it strives to protect.
The problem with pretentious living is that it drains energy, creates toxicity & leads to profound instability. Amidst the confusion, other people end up suffering too…big time. In his straight talking letter, the apostle James says ‘A double minded person is unstable in all their ways‘ (James 1:8). Ok, maybe that’s not exactly PC, but it sure makes a lot of sense. How can anyone possibly sustain living as two people when being one person is already hard enough?!!
Character only has one face. It is the same everywhere it goes. Integrity is at the centre of what it says and does. That doesn’t mean it’s constantly correct. No way! But when it comes to trustworthiness, Craig Groeshel put it well when he said ‘people would rather be around the one who is always real than right‘.
If ever there was a time when our world needed people of profound character, it’s today. The hallmarks of good character are not sensational – but they’re more valuable than pure gold. These are things like faithfulness, honour, truthfulness, purity….the list could go on. God cherishes them very dearly because they reflect his heart, even if they don’t seem to be rated very highly in our world.
Character is not exempt from the allurement of temptation. There will always be times in our lives when we are tempted to lie, to cut corners, to live promiscuously, to yield to carnality. Yet the bible teaches us that we don’t have to surrender to temptation’s deceitful charm.
One of the most intriguing incidents in the entire bible is when Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness. This was during a time of weakness as Jesus had been fasting for a lengthy period. In Matthew 4:1-11, each time Jesus is faced with the facts of temptation, he responds with the truth of scripture. This passage powerfully teaches us that no-matter how unrelenting temptation might be in taking advantage of our feebleness, we CAN overcome – not in our own strength but by the truth of God’s word permeating our lives. This is the very foundation of great character.
Character lives with a humble dependancy on God’s grace. This is not a license to sin but a reality that compels us to follow God’s truth. It’s goal? The glory of God. Now that’s a cause worth living for.