Bigger on the Inside Than the Outside
As a believer there are two sides to our life as we walk with Jesus. The public and the private sides. These two aspects of the Christian life resemble the two parts of a tree. One part you see: your public life in the church and in your world is like a tree’s truck and branches. That’s the part that bears fruit. However, who the believer is in private is what can’t be seen, like the tree’s roots. If the roots are shallow, the the tree won’t survive. Drought will dry it up. A storm will knock it down. But if the roots are deep, the tree can thrive in almost any circumstance.
What does it mean to develop deep roots as a believer? It means having strong character. What kind of character does a believer need to have? Good character demonstrates four characteristics:
1> Integrity … this is the alignment of your values and actions. You know what is right and you do it. Integrity has consistency. You know what is right and wrong and not just what is good and best. And, you do the right thing every time. The second definition has to do with decision-making. Believers do the right thing, even when it’s hard, even when it is not best for them personally. They put others and especially the Church ahead of themselves.
2> Authenticity … A Christian should never pretend to be someone they are not. Believers don’t have to be perfect – just open and honest with others. This can be a real struggle for many believers. They want to meet other people’s expectations and so can be tempted to compromise their beliefs and standards. To be a good example as a believer, you need to acknowledge who you really are and be willing to let people witness and see your authenticity even if it means not meeting their needs. It is difficult to be a people pleaser and be authentic.
3> Humility … This is an essential quality for any believer who hopes to have influence with others and truly represent Jesus to others. I see humility as making the everyday choice to credit God for my blessings and to credit others for my successes. Rick Warren said, “Humility is not denying your strengths. Humility is being honest about your weaknesses.” No matter how you define humility, know that it means three things:
A> You possess self-awareness and can criticize yourself
B> You are confident and comfortable enough that you don’t feel any need to draw attention to yourself
C> You revel in the accomplishments of others and are eager to help them shine
4> Love … the final character quality to embrace as a believer in order to have strong character is love. You must care about people. You must respect them. You must value them. People can always tell when you don’t, and that creates an instant disconnection that short-circuits influence and impact.
So, when we are looking inside we need to see integrity, authenticity, humility, and love. If these are the roots of the tree (our life) then there will be fruit and the fruit will be good fruit.