Abraham Lincoln once said, “Character is like a tree and reputation is like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” Since God created humans in His image, He expects us to reflect His moral likeness in our behavior. The world is desperate for people who act with integrity, but it cannot be imposed on a person. It has to come from within. We are influenced and shaped from the time we are born: by the way we are raised, by the examples of our parents, by our peers, by the people we associate with, and by the media. The Apostle Paul, in Galatians chapter 5, describes people without moral character: They practice “sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.” Then he quickly identifies character traits that God’s Spirit produces in those who humbly submit to Him: He says they produce “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” These traits come from God’s Spirit; they are not situational and do not change. That is why the Bible urges us to submit to God’s Spirit and let Him to help us reflect God’s character in every part of our lives.
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