I have been thinking a lot about character and integrity lately. What is it and what does it mean? Back in July, my husband was sifting through his grandfather’s worn, used bible. His grandfather was a man of prayer and used his Bible daily. He had hand written notes about different verses all throughout. Grandpa Jack was one of the most humble men that I have known and he was highly respected and lived a life filled with honor and integrity. He would never ever tell anyone that and if he heard you say that about him he would staunchly disagree with embarrassment. He did not live his life to be filled with praise of his good works from others; he just lived his life and let his actions speak for themselves.
Well, Ryan stumbled upon something that has just stuck with me and made me think about it constantly. Jack wrote, “Your character determines your interpretation of God’s will.” Hmmm. That made me think. Your character, who you are and what you do, determines your interpretation of God’s will. I can’t stop thinking about that quote. God’s will is something that everyone wants, yet is something that can seem to be elusive. Selfish desires can so easily come into focus. We are human. We sin. We make mistakes all the time. How can we know that we are truly in God’s will?
I began to think about what good character means. Is your character defined by what you say or is it defined by what you do. Do your words and your actions line up? The one true definition that I could find came in Proverbs 31. It is an epilogue of the wife of noble character. It is something that I have heard many, many times and am equally challenged each time. Since become a wife and a mother, that challenge has increased.
It starts in the 10th verse. A wife of noble character is worth more than rubies. She brings good to her family, not harm. She works with her hands, providing for not only her family but also the poor. She makes wise business dealings and plans ahead for her household. She is clothed with strength and dignity. Her children call her blessed. It ends with a caution. Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a women who fears the Lord is to be praised.
It is easy to be charming. It is not easy to get up, provide for your husband and children and do it in such a way that they would rise and call you blessed. It is not easy to maintain a noble character. It is a lot of work. It goes way beyond saying the right thing, it is actually doing it.
So, how does your character determine your interpretation of God’s will? Psalms 29:5 says, “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.”
I am challenged to live my life by my actions and not by what I am saying, but by what I am doing.
So how do I know that my actions are what God wants and not what I want? It is so easy to miss the mark. Matthew 7 talks about a tree and it’s fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. It talks about being known by your fruit, or by your actions. If what you are doing produces good fruit, than that is a good indication that you are doing what God wants for you to do.
I am so challenged by that. Are my actions lined up with my words? Do my decisions produce good fruit? If who I am, what I say and what I do determines my interpretation of God’s will, than I will strive to live my life as proverbs 31. I want to be a wife and mother of noble character. I do not want my own desires to determine what God’s will for my life will be.