Character is who we are on the inside. Character is who we are when we are alone. Character is not the same as our heart, but it is the quality of our heart. We could call character the measurement or moral assessment of our heart. Our heart is the core of who we are. It is out of this core that everything emanates. There are numerous Hebrew and Greek words which have been translated into the English word “character”. These words vary in meaning including “reputation”, “standing” or “inner qualities”. While there is no single defining word that enlightens us, context appears to be our most helpful aid. Consider the following ways in which the word translated “character” is used.
The theme that the inner life is the foundation of the outer life is a frequent message that Jesus highlighted (consider Matthew 23:25-28). Jesus spoke a great deal about the nature of our heart. In our current cultural context “heart” usually is used to describe one’s emotions, or as that place where we get gut hunches and drives. You know, “just follow your heart!” Hollywood loves to use heart in this way. Biblically, however, “heart” appears to be the mysterious and complex centre of our longings, thinking, motivation, and values. Out of our “heart” proceed our choices, behaviours, and emotions. Our heart has been damaged by the fall, but can be changed by God. Yes, the heart is bent, but it is redeemable.
Consider also how the heart shapes our lives:
Today, take some time to lend to our heart. Take time to reflect on why you are doing what you are doing? Make sure your character and your heart are in a good place so that the fruit of your core honours God.