Monday, August 18, 2008

Authority: Designated or Real

                     “…for as the man is, so is his strength…”  (Judges 8:21)

       The nine words above may be a brief excerpt, but they say a great deal. They come from the story of Gideon, and were said of his son, who lacked the courage to perform a just task that his father had asked him to carry out. It was something he had been the authority to do, but something he lacked the ethical integrity to fulfill. The evaluation of this lapse tells us that it is not what a man or woman has, or what position he or she may hold, that determines his or her real strength. Rather, it is what they are—their character—that is their true measure.

        All of us, both men and women, hold, or will hold, some kind of designated authority in this life. But without personal integrity, it is, for all practical purposes, meaningless. The sons of Eli we read about in the first four chapters of 1 Samuel had positions: they were priests. Unfortunately, they lacked the character and integrity to carry out these important duties in a godly fashion. You and I may wear the title, “wife and/or mother,” with all the designated authority that this brings. But it is up to us to retain the moral authority that gives real meaning to these lofty positions.

        If we are not careful, we can become like Jacob, who feared that his father, Isaac, might get close enough to him to find out that he was not who he said he was. (This is why many refrain from allowing anyone to get close to them.) Jacob’s overriding fear was that he might “seem” to be a deceiver (Gen.27:12), not that he might actually be one. In the same way, you and I can worry more about appearing to be a good Christian, wife, or mother than about actually being one. Maybe if we spent less time trying to look good, we would be more apt to be good.

       “Reputation is what people think you are; character is what God know you are.” ~ Bob Jones, Sr.

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