Unfortunately today’s heroes for our children are those, who have achieved success in the public arena, such as athletes, musicians, and/or movie stars. More emphasis is placed on charisma and appearance than on character. While this first is external in nature, character is what a person is from the inside out. Oftentimes those, who fall into the former category are short-lived at best. Because such people lack substance to their lives, eventually they are discovered to have skeletons in their closets. Glaring flaws surface that make them less than worthy of our respect. Examples of this are the great golfer Tiger Woods, the great performer Michael Jackson, or more recently the comedian Bill Cosby.
So, what is it that should make people deserving of our admiration? Rather than merely what is seen on the outside, it should be what people are from the inside out, or character. This is something that is deep and lasting. As I reflect on what the Bible says about this, there are three specific heroes (role models) that come to mind: Job, Joseph (in the Old Testament), and Daniel. What makes these three men stand out is their consistency over time. In the next three blogs, we will look at what we can glean from each of these individually.
I will start with Job, who lived about the same time as Abraham. To begin with, Job received the highest assessment of his character: God considered him to be a man of integrity. In The Message. God’s assessment of Job reads this way: He is honest inside and out, a man of his word, totally devoted to God, and one who hates evil with a passion. As a result, God was confident that Job would stay faithful to Him even after losing almost everything that was important to him. And Job proved this to be true. We are told that maintained his integrity through it all and did not curse or blame God. Second, Job was confident of his own integrity—in spite of his friends’ criticisms to the contrary. Two of the by-products of integrity are personal security and confidence before God. Yet, when all was said and done, Job was humble enough to grow through the experience. He recognized that his knowledge about God had been transformed into depth of relationship with God. Finally, Job, as indicated by Job 31, understood that integrity was a whole life experience. What I refer to as his manifesto on integrity includes everything from sexual purity, to treatment of servants and of those in need. He did not let himself off the hook by limiting integrity to one or two areas of his life.
This should prompt each one of us to ask ourselves these questions:
- What is God’s assessment of our character?
- How secure are we in light of how we live—especially when no one else is around?
- What limits do we set on our definition of integrity?
Let’s learn all that we can from Job!