And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3.17
I’ve been thinking lately about some things that are going on in our world. These particular situations are pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but can be instructive to us as we try to build our lives- with God’s help. Here are just a few of the things that have got my attention, and probably yours.
- Bill Cosby, beloved comedian, is accused of drugging women and then assaulting them sexually.
- The University of Louisville is accused of providing strippers and prostitutes for its basketball players and recruits.
- Chris Brown, one of the most successful singer/rappers in America, is accused of assaulting his girlfriend repeatedly.
This list could go on. I could mention sports figures who abuse drugs, politicians who have illicit affairs, entertainment personalities who behave as if they are above the law. You know these stories as well as I do. People with money, power and fame allow their egos to overwhelm common sense. It is not too difficult to find Christian leaders and “celebrities” who can be added to this list.
Don’t get confused. Don’t be taken in. The rules have not changed and they must not change. God’s laws are eternal and unchanging. There is a standard of behavior that we need to adhere to so that we can live fulfilling lives, reach our friends and neighbors with the truth of the gospel, and stay within the bounds of God’s will.
There are two factors that every person- famous or not- must come to grips with. Each of these is found in the life of every human. Some may have more of one or the other than the people around them, but these gifts come from God.
The first is charisma. This characteristic is obviously seen in celebrities and leaders. This is an almost indefinable personality trait that causes other people to be drawn to a charismatic figure. Charismatic people have the ability lead others. They are attractive to other people, causing them to emulate the leader. Those with charisma have the ability to offer hope and affirmation to others. However, those who have charisma must be careful to temper their charisma with character. Because charisma without character will be a disaster.
The second characteristic is character. Those with character are filled with respect. They respect God and they respect others. They respect themselves and understand the responsibilities they have to God and to the world at large. In the context of the Christian world, character is exemplified by sacrifice. And here is where this issue gets real for us. The world around us will never ask us to sacrifice. In fact, we are taught by the media, by culture, by our jobs and usually by our families as well, that we should never sacrifice. We are encouraged to get as much as we can. To think of ourselves and our wants first.
There you have it. Charisma is a great thing, but it will wreck your life and everyone around you if you do not focus on character. Do the right things and focus on God and your charisma can be a beautiful gift to do God’s will in the world.
Finally, be careful how you respond to media reports. Attach yourself emotionally only to those charismatic people who also exhibit good and strong character. Do not be sucked in to the me-first, celebrity-oriented culture that thinks “everything is alright,” and “if it feels good, do it.” Be a person of character and find people of character.
Pastor Dewey Miller