We live in a day of “fake news”, and people kneeling and standing as “politics and sports are smashed together” with fingers pointed and blame shifted somewhere else.
What we need most is leaders of character, people who keep their word, no matter the cost, who treat all races and peoples with honor and respect, because it is right and it jives with the person of character that they have forged for themselves over the years of public service.
Oh, that there would be leaders who step forward to take responsibility to actually make the necessary changes. OK, the problems have been identified, not lets do something about it. Where are the leaders of character who are stepping forward, people of character and integrity who can be trusted? We need people of character in sports, in business, in politics and in our churches.
You don’t have to spend much time in the Bible to know that God cares about character and integrity. He disciplines those who lack it and rewards those who possess it.
Considered the most spiritual man in the Bible, David paid a high price for his failure of character. He never dreamed that he would pay such a high price for a short term digression. It started with lust, then a pregnancy to murder and a bitter son who also lacked the necessary character to handle his hormones. Not until the God honoring Prophet Nathan confronted the powerful King David with a story of a little lamb, did David come to his senses and see his need to make things right with God to once again become “a man after God’s own heart.
Known as a “friend of God” and the “humblest” man on the earth. Moses was not immune to the temptation of a failure of character. We learn from Moses, that if you are going to lead people, you need to learn to lead sheep (Numbers 20). Sheep wander off, sheep follow other ill informed sheep, sheep need a shepherd and for 40 years Moses learned about leading a group of complaining, ungrateful sheep (people). God provided for these people with a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day. He fed them and gave them manna when they were hungry. Yet they still here stubborn and rebellious, making Moses’ life rather difficult.
Moses certainly could have found many justifications for his failure of character, after dealing with a couple of million difficult people, and for so many trips around Mount Sinai, who wouldn’t blame him for snapping once or twice, and so what if the people saw it, since they caused it?
Moses lack of God honoring character was revealed when he was instructed by God to strike the rock where God would provide water for the people to drink. Moses struck the rock twice! He failed to honor God in front of the Israelites. Immediately he was disqualified by God from entering into the promised land.
Moses Presented his Case to God
Deuteronomy 3:23–25 (NIV) At that time I pleaded with the Lord: “Sovereign Lord, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do? Let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan—that fine hill country and Lebanon.”
What was the big deal? Moses had a failure of character and God took it seriously. There is a trickle down affect when leaders lack in character.
Moses Paid a High Price
Moses got to see the Promised Land, but he was not able to enter in…
He was disqualified for the prize!
Deuteronomy 34:1 (ESV) Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan,
Don’t be Disqualified
Character counts with God! It requires discipline to get the prize…
1 Corinthians 9:24–27 (NIV) Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
Character is forged over time and it matters
Past performance is the best indicator of future character decisions. Character doesn’t happen in a day or is it undone by a week in rehab.
The erosion of character is gradual. It has taken time as we have headed down the slippery slope to think that leaders who lack character are capable of making good decisions to benefit others.
Like the erosion of cliffside soil at the ocean, character erodes slowly. Movies get progressively more immoral, one drink leads to drunkenness, one date leads to marrying the wrong person. Erosion is a silent and slow process. What seemed to be no big deal, is now a monster. It is like the man who recently died because his boa constrictor grew up to strangle him. A tiger kitten becomes a man eater.
Hugh Hefner dies and is heralded by Hollywood as a hero one week and Harvey Weinstein is fired a couple of weeks later and crucified by Hollywood for having the same character qualities of Hefner.
It is hard to think of any job in which the moral element is lacking. The skill of the dentist is wholly irrelevant if he is unprincipled and irresponsible. There is little, in that case, to keep him from extracting teeth unnecessarily, because the patient is usually in a helpless situation. It is easy to see the harm that can be done by an unprincipled lawyer. Indeed, such a man is far more dangerous if he is skilled than if he is not skilled.
Chuck Swindoll noted an insightful letter to the IRS.
GENTLEMEN: Enclosed you will find a check for $150. I cheated on my income tax return last year and have not been able to sleep ever since. If I still have trouble sleeping, I’ll send you the rest.
We chuckle at this person who doesn’t want to come clean unless it is absolutely necessary. Having the character to do the right thing is not the priority. Yet we have opportunities to demonstrate character every day. God sees and God rewards.
You might not be in a position to fix the White House, or Congress, but you can deal with what is in front of you. Character matters! If you work construction, or work the numbers, honor God with your work. Repairing a car or putting wires in a wall, people trust you do do the job right, where no one but God sees. Everyone else might work the system, don’t do it. Get the required permit.
A Lawyer? Police officer? Pastor? Remember, you are there to serve others, so do it as unto the Lord as a person of character and trust God to take care of you.
Character matters as history repeats itself:
From bondage to spiritual faith
From spiritual faith to great courage
From great courage to strength
From strength to liberty
From liberty to abundance
From abundance to leisure
From leisure to selfishness
From selfishness to complacency
From complacency to apathy
From apathy to dependency
From dependency to weakness
From weakness back to bondage