I Thessalonians 5:21 instructs to examine all things, and this process is not only for external influences but for ourselves as well. We have a reputation that others see in us, but it may or may not reflect the character within us – which is what God knows about us. However, that opinion others have of us can influence our self esteem. We can think highly of ourselves or very lowly.
Neither the opinions of others or our own self image can be truly accurate measures of the type of person we are. That character that God sees is the true measure – that person we are when no one is watching. It is our character by which God judges us.
The Christian Character
In James 1:27 tells us to remain unspotted, and I Timothy 5:22 warns us not to endorse others quickly in order to keep ourselves pure. I Peter 1:14-15 instructs us to remain holy in character, and Romans 12:1-2 instructs us to remain separate from worldly standards. Finally, Philippians 4:8 encourages to focus on things that are holy and pure. Our focus defines our character, and our focus is to be on God. His character should define our character.
This emphasis on purity and absence from worldly influences is to prevent our characters from being corrupted. I Corinthians 15:33 warns us not to fool ourselves into false confidence and acknowledges the negative influence others can have on us. Returning to I Peter, in chapter 2:1, Peter tells us that we are not immune to these corrupting influences, and I Corinthians 10:12 warns against overconfidence in this struggle. I may think I’m impervious to the influences around me while they slowly tear me down.
My character will be judged by God, and my salvation hinges on it. Galatians 5:16 instructs us to deny lusts of the flesh and walk spiritually. We should know and acknowledge the character flaws we have and work on them, and Galatians 5:22-25 gives us qualities to fill ourselves with. There is personal responsibility in this, according to Philippians 2:12-15, while we place our trust and reliance on God.
Galatians 6:9-10, Colossians 3:1-2, and Matthew 5:16 all encourage us to be full of goodness, always seeking, always aware of the example we set for others. We should be workers of righteousness – not for the respect and praise of others but to please God.
lesson by Tim Smelser