We live in a time where virtues are not what they once were. Many will say that they have character and virtue still, then turn around and slander another. Many will say they have virtue and see a need for virtue in life while supporting something that is not virtuous, i.e., abortion, same-sex unions, sleeping around, or living with a member of the opposite as if they were married.
I know that many of these are accepted today and seen as perfectly normal and fine. The world and culture say they are good and acceptable. The question then arises, “Does the world determine what is good and acceptable, or does that determination come from elsewhere?” The answer is, it comes from elsewhere. This elsewhere is God Himself. If we are determining what is good and acceptable by what the world says, we are woefully wrong. The world calls for us to do what we want. It says “if it feels right to you, then go for it, because no one can tell you what is right for you.”
That is a sad way to live. If something feels right do it. Of course, they always state something along the lines of, “As long as it is not harmful to another.” Well, many of the things they say are fine are harmful to others. Abortion kills a baby, a human being. Sexual promiscuity of any kind is harmful to others. Sleeping around is harmful in diseases and the destruction it does to people. Same-sex unions are against nature and damaging to those in them. The directive to do what feels right will also lead to people doing whatever they want because if you allow for that terminology to lead, then people will say it back at you while they are doing whatever they want. This is not a good way to live.
So, what do you do in a world that allows for anything? We live a life of character. We live a life that rejects worldly ways. We, “walk not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers” (Ps. 1:1). By this, we are blessed by God. When we do this we gain a place with God.
Psalm 15 is a great teaching for those who keep a sound character in a wicked world. It begins by asking who is the one who has a right to be in His presence to receive an inheritance from the Lord. The answer comes that it is:
2 He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
and speaks truth in his heart;
3 who does not slander with his tongue
and does no evil to his neighbor,
nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
4 in whose eyes a vile person is despised,
but who honors those who fear the Lord;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
5 who does not put out his money at interest
and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved. (ESV).
You see character matters. God is a God of Character and perfection. We cannot earn or work our way to Him. No, only salvation by His grace through faith will bring us to Him. But as His, we need to strive to have the character that these two passages teach. We need to strive to live for God and not the world. We need to not seek to please the world but to please God (c.f. Gal. 1:10; Eph. 5:10; Col. 1:10; 1 Thess. 4:1).
So, I end as I began: What is your character like?
Strive for it to be pleasing to God and not as pleasing to the world. The world will pass away but God is forever. Remember that and seek to please Him alone and everything else will fall into place as it should.