“Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others; who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the Lord; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind; who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. Whoever does these things will never be shaken.” – Psalm 15:1-5
Baseball is our national pastime and as such is a big part of culture in the United States and across the world. It is commonly said that baseball, and sports in general, build character. But the reality is that we hear more and more accounts of un-sportsmanlike, unethical, and even illegal conduct at all levels of baseball and sports competition. It seems that character and integrity are secondary to the winning at all costs mentality.
As Christians, we understand the importance of character the minute we open the Bible. If you were asked to reread Psalms 15:1-5 and come up with one word to summarize that passage, what would that word be? I would boil that passage down to one word – character.
Character is that part of us that’s either growing, is stagnant or deteriorating. And when life is hectic and you are trying to keep multiple balls in the air, it can be hard to know which direction it is going. That’s because during the day when we are making decisions, we don’t stop and ask: ”I wonder how this business or relationship or financial decision or course of action will affect my character?” There are not too many character development majors offered in college or even any character development classes for that matter.
Yet, character will always show up in our lives and it will determine our response to failure and pain or even success. Most people only work on their character when it needs to be worked on, which usually happens in hard times or when we mess up. Fortunately, we always have access to God’s presence. You can enter God’s presence, but how do you stay? If you want to have total access to God’s presence in your everyday life, then you must learn to live the Home Run Life and that starts with being connected and then moving to first base and character.
Here’s a critical point. Character will reveal whether you are actively pursuing the Home Run Life. It means I want to proactively try to connect to God and my character will reflect that. The Home Run Life requires more than working on the connection to God when we’re experiencing hard times or if we’ve messed up. Our character must be more than just the pinnacle moments of life. It must become embedded throughout life. It must become part of you, part of your daily routine. We must think about it. We must focus on it. Why? Because our character development in our life is the prerequisite to the power that only comes from being in God’s presence and the Home Run Life.
- Did Sunday’s message change or alter your understanding of your character? If so, how?
- What is it about your character that makes it difficult to live the Home Run Life?
- When your character does not reflect the character of God, who suffers and how do they suffer? When your character reflects the character of God, who is blessed and how are they blessed?
- Are there areas of your life where you have not surrendered to the wisdom of the Lord, but find yourself struggling with fear, temptation, or sin? Please describe them.