Today’s Faithful Friday devotional is based on Richard Exley’s How to Be a Man of Character in a World of Compromise. Chapter 1 delves into Proverbs 1, and is titled An Awesome God.
When I was a kid growing up, my dad was my template for what it meant to be a man. As a child, I was always getting into some kind of trouble, and my dad was not one to ‘spare the rod.’ I was spanked often; I was reprimanded frequently. The father of my early youth was a disciplinarian who I feared greatly.
As I grew older, I learned more about him. I learned he was a man of integrity who loved his family and served the Filipino people faithfully in his government work. As age mellowed him and toughened me, I received less reprimands and more encouragement. The fear was replaced by a gentle love for this man of integrity. I realized he wasn’t athletic, smoked like a chimney and drank on occasion, and heÂ brandished a wicked sense of humor and razor-sharp wit, which made me love him more. I loved him, but I no longer feared him.
As I look at the dichotomy of my earthly dad, one who I feared greatly and one who I loved immensely, I see a parallel between him and my heavenly Father, in the sense that my concepts and ideas of them were dictated upon greatly by my experiences with them. In both cases, because my experiences were limited, I did not have the pleasure of knowing more about them, and what I could do to please them. My dad’s long-gone now, but God, my heavenly Father, is still around (and will always be).
I could ‘live the Christian life’ to earn points with God, but that would be beside the point. Impure motives pretty much render all the good deeds worthless; all the good I could do in the world is useless without His grace and Jesus in my life. God loves me regardless of whether or not my life is blameless. So why live the Christian life?
Proverbs tells us why. A life of character, lived according to how God tells us in His Word, is a rewarding life. It’s a good life. It’s a life that allows and empowers us to bless other people because we want to bless them. The objective is not to earn brownie points; the objective is to glorify God with a life of victory, of success, of worth, defined in both the worldly and spiritual senses. Proverbs provides a great template for how we can live a ‘disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair’ (Prov 1:3). If we are looking to live a life that is both meaningful and influential, we would do well to go through God’s Word, especially the practical tips mentioned in Proverbs.
My dad certainly wasn’t a ‘powerful’ man, but he was an influential man. He could sell a refrigerator to an Eskimo if he wanted to. One doesn’t have to be powerful to make a difference; one merely has to set the stage for righteousness in his life, and the influence, the character, the uniqueness of a person from all those around him, will shine brighter than the sun.
Listen to my recording of Proverbs 1
Ask yourself this: Would I consider myself a man or woman of character? Do my actions reflect who I am on the inside and out? Am I consistent in my dealings with people, that they know who I am and what I represent?
Prayer: Lord, let my life be a living testimony of the great work You have done in my life. Help me lead a life of consistency and character, with Your Word as my blueprint for a life of influence and power. Please use me and my life as an instrument to bring other people closer to You. In the name of Jesus, Amen.