1 Peter 1:16, NIV
Be holy, because I am holy.
I was once challenged by someone asking me these questions, ‘Do you believe in Jesus? Do you belong to Jesus? Do you behave like Jesus?’ The last question is a huge one for most of us. I would like to ask it this way, ‘How do we behave when no one’s looking?’
I consider a holy character is the world’s most pressing need. Think about it – if all 6 billion inhabitants of this earth had holy characters, there would be no wars, no hunger, no family break-ups, no crime and no poverty. Of course, that can’t happen until Jesus Christ returns and this whole earth is made new. If we’re hoping for a major move of God, either individually or corporately, then I believe we need to be working on having a holy character.
Our character is not just what we’ve done but who we are. Love is part of our character. Love is being tender-hearted but sometimes it’s being tough. Like Jesus we are to have a radical love for the broken, the hurting and the wounded. A most important chapter in the Bible for us to study is 1 Corinthians 13.
A holy character includes courage. My father, who was in Dunkirk in May 1940, told us of the huge acts of courage done by the allied soldiers who were being evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk. The first boat my father was on was bombed and caught fire, but he went into the water to save a friend before getting to safety on another boat. He ended up back in Margate, very thankful for his deliverance. As I listened to such stories I can remember thinking, “When I grow up, I want to be a woman of courage!”
We make choices that show whether we’re courageous or cowardly. We can choose to do the right thing or the convenient thing. Do we stick to biblical principles or cave in for the sake of our carnal nature, our comfort, our greed, or other people’s approval of us? These choices come at us every day in rapid succession. Do we go with the flow or stop, and choose to be courageous when other people are not?
Things like owning up to the truth takes courage and how much courage is required today to stay sexually pure in a sex-crazed culture? What about when your non-Christian family or friends say that you’re terribly old-fashioned or even a little bit strange? Even to become a Christian takes courage. We have to own up to our sins before a holy God.
Today, take time out to consider your willingness to be courageous on a daily basis because courage is part of a holy character.
Prayer: I thank You, Jesus, that You had the courage to go through with the cross and set Your face steadfastly towards Jerusalem. Help me to stand with great courage in a difficult or hostile place and to behave like You, especially when no one is looking. Amen.