This is the time of the year for advancements and transition! Graduations are happening all over, from Kindergarten to College. Whether you've graduated from elementary school, a trade school or college, we salute you and bid everyone Congratulations!
Advancement is exciting and challenging at the same time. Henry S. Haskins* (American Author & Educator) once said, "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." Although one has obtained all the education needed to receive high degrees of honor, it's important to know that the character of a person is most significant. Proverbs 5:21, "For the ways of man are directly before the eyes of the Lord, and He [Who would have us live soberly, chastely, and godly] carefully weighs all man’s goings." In today's society image has become more notable than character. Style is chosen as significant rather than integrity, morality, or a good reputation. Proverbs 22:1, "Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold." People look good on the outside, having the right clothes, shoes, handbag, or even the right educational degree, but their 'reputation' is less than ethical.
What is good character? Character is a distinctive trait, a pattern of behavior that shows moral strength, self-discipline and fortitude. It's revealed by what is said or done. Most of us have seen shameless indifferent demonstrations of misconduct. Sadly many believe that if it doesn't hurt anyone, it's alright! If you are a person of good character, it was possibly formed during your young age. Should there be one that is of questionable character reading this, and you want to change there is hope for success.
To improve your character skills you can:
1) Realize everyone is challenged everyday to make good or bad choices. The key to choosing right is to look past the options and regard the results you will gain. Jesus saw past the pain and shame of the cross and saw the effect of His sacrifice. Even though there were distractions and the choice to disobey, He chose to see the joy of His obedience. (Heb. 12:2) You too can consider and select the 'right' thing to do.
2) Be selective with whom you socialize. Proverbs 13:20 "Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm." It's true, we become like those with which we associate. Be sure to surround yourself with people of upstanding character, those that encourage and inspire, and who love God valuing His standards. By allowing yourself to interact with such individuals you will be motivated to make honorable choices.
3) Never give up! Although the trials of temptations come to fall back into an old habit or way of life, DON'T! Consider all those people that are superb examples of faith for an encouragement! Use every ounce of faith to push aside discouragement, old friends' enticement, or thoughts of past feelings. If all else fails, run, don't walk, away! Read your Bible to renew your mind to learning God's ways to choosing right. Pray! Have a friend that will be your prayer partner, that you can call upon in times of confrontation. You are more than a conqueror through Christ. (Rom. 8:37)
Proverbs 19:23 Amp. says, "The reverent, worshipful fear of the Lord leads to life, and he who has it rests satisfied; he cannot be visited with [actual] evil." Anyone who decides to live for the right character and not for image makes the right choice. Will it be easy? No, but anything in life worth achieving or obtaining is a value high above fame or fortune. We end with a charge from the writer of Hebrews "....don't become lazy, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises." Remember you have the power to choose!
Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
Pro. 11:25 "The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself."