The Value of Within
Dr. Myles Munroe once said “Your gifting is only as safe as the character it contains”. We are all born with different gifts and talents.
However, if we do not display good character, it will diminish the value of the gift we possess. Throughout our lifetime, we see many influential people who are gifted but, due to lack of character, their lives are short lived.
Our society puts so much attention and value on our image and assumes it is our character. We must understand the difference between our image and our character. Image is the person we present to the world. Our character is who we are when no one is watching. Who we are when no one is watching affects every aspect of our lives. Let’s work on our character just as much as, or even more than, our image.
We can walk securely through our lives when we choose to live a life of integrity. It allows us to be confident in ourselves, not just in our image but who we are when no one is watching us. When the image fades, character will remain.
A double lifestyle leads to anxiety and fear of people knowing the real you. As it progresses, it causes dysfunction which can lead to destruction. Tomorrow is never promised so we should live life making every moment count. When we choose to have integrity, it gives us the security and ability to live life being confident and bold. People of integrity not only have security but they are able to create safe spaces for others to do the same.
Giftings, and our self-created image, may get us into the room, but character allows us to have a seat at the table. Anyone can be in a room and it doesn’t hold any significance. When you have a seat at the table, it represents that your voice carries value. If you lack character, you will never be able to gain trust from the people around you. Without trust, authentic relationships will not form.
We are all wired to want acceptance, love and belonging. When we lack character, it will be hard for us to receive true acceptance, love and belonging from the people around us. God never meant for us to do life alone.
The work we do within will determine how we live outwardly. The work of our character is like a plant. How we tend to the soil and the seed will determine the life of a plant. If we tend to the soil, it will allow the seed to take root which will then produce a plant. But even when the plant is fully alive, it does not mean the work of the soil is done. It is a constant process of tending to the ground to ensure the livelihood of the plant. It is the same for the work of our character. We never graduate from the work within. It is constant as life progresses. If we do the work, it will lead to us living a life outwardly that we are proud of.
Where the world values the outward; God values the inward. Which is why He often allows trials and tribulations to happen to us. Scripture encourages us in Romans 5:3-5, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (NIV)
God is a good Father who loves his children. His love is the reason He partners with us in the development and refinement of our character.
As our influence and power grows, we can have the character to sustain it well. It will be because we chose to do the work. Do the work from within and watch what will come out of it. Shift your value system from outward to inward and it will change everything. It may be hard and difficult at times but you have the power to do it.
Tyler Jones is Student Ministry Pastor at Koinonia Church in Hanford, CA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 559-469-7775.