I recently tweeted out a thought that was inspired by a fiction book I’m reading called “The Noticer Returns” by Andy Andrews… “Your thinking leads to your decisions which leads to results. These 3 work together to create your reputation. Guard your thoughts. Phil4:8”
As I prepare to teach another year at Joy Christian High School, I will also be taking on the discipline of students as part of the administrative team. I’m thinking that not one single student should have to be disciplined. The choices of the student is what leads to discipline having to happen. I say the same thing about the incarcerated. Every prisoner made a choice that led them to be in prison. Our prisons should be empty. What choice did that student or that prisoner have to make that landed them in prison? They weren’t forced. They didn’t have to make the decision that landed them in trouble. They chose to make the decision. They chose to be in trouble. They chose to be incarcerated. Again, they were not forced to make a decision that resulted in trouble.
This has me thinking about why people do what they do.
I think there are some key words we must fully define before we can implement into our lives this phrase I tweeted out, referenced above. We must define words like Integrity, Morality, and Character. At first glance, I think these three words all seem to be the same thing. Below you will understand this to be quite untrue.
I think Integrity at its foundation means to be capable of doing what you were created to do. A bridge can have integrity. A seat belt can have integrity. The chair you sit on. Integrity deals with trustworthiness and reliability.
I think Morality, at its foundation, means to be a person who is doing no wrong. A moral person will not cheat, or steal, or lie. This is a great trait, but in my striving to fully grasp my tweet, we must get very technical. One can be a very moral person and do nothing. I can stay in bed all day, doing nothing, and still be a moral person.
So…are you grasping with me that a person can have great integrity and morals and do nothing? Integrity is capable. Morality is doing no wrong. Character is where the magic starts to happen.
I think Character is active. Character is defined in action. Character is doing the right thing. We actively build character.
A person of integrity can see an injustice, not get involved, and still be a moral person.
A person of morals will not do wrong.
A person of character cannot sit still and do nothing…ever. Character has a spine. Character has action. Character will still experience fear, but pushes through it. Character cannot sit still.
A person of character uses their capability (integrity) and righteousness (morality) to DO!
Doing what is right is a result. Results create reputations.
I could take the negative route here and show that just because there are results doesn’t mean morality and character are present. ie…Adolf Hitler produced many results. But…I want to focus on the positive results…aka…holiness.
Integrity = Capability.
Integrity + Morality = Capability.
Integrity + Morality – Character = Capability.
Integrity + Morality + Character = Results.
It is not a compliment to be told that I am a person of potential. Potential means capable, but capable doesn’t equal results. A person of potential means they have integrity and morals, but lack character. Lacking character means lacking action.
A lack of character/action, I believe, simply demonstrates how you think about yourself.
A person of great potential is a person of integrity and morals but not action. This could mean the person thinks poorly of themselves or of their abilities. This could mean the person has allowed the world or someone in it to influence their identity instead of Jesus.
Jesus is your identifier. He is the one who died so you could live. He is the one who tells you how capable you are. He is the one who tells you how moral you can be. He is the one who created you to be of great character, thus action. He is the one who commanded you to “Go” & “Do”.
This is all about your thinking.
“Your thinking leads to your decisions, which leads to results.” This all creates your reputation.
I can’t think of a more important passage to back this all up other than Philippians 4:4-8.
4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Take a minute to double check the character that is splashed all over that passage. Remember, character is action. So look at the last four words of verse 9. “Put it into practice.”
Put what into practice? Your thinking…as long as that thinking is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, and praiseworthy!
Put your thinking into character, is exactly the same as putting your thinking into action. I suppose it could be strangely translated to say, “put your integrity and morality into character!”
Since we are in Philippians 4…I can’t help but point out verse 13…
“I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”
Do you believe you have that much character? Do you believe that you can do all things? I believe you do. Way better yet…Jesus knows you do. He made you that way.
We all know Philippians 4:13…and it can be intimidating, because our stinking thinking many times will tell us that we cannot do all things. The problem is that we read verse 13 and then stop. We read it as if it says, “I can do all things.” But it doesn’t say that! The rest of verse 13 & 14 dilutes the individual factor.
13b “through Christ who gives me strength.” &
14 “Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.”
Please note…Nothing in that verse says “I” can do all things by myself. It says “I can do all things with Christ.”
The Apostle Paul didn’t make it just a Jesus and “I” thing. It is clear in verse 14 that Paul and Jesus shared in Paul’s troubles with the people of the Church in Philippi. Paul didn’t do anything by himself. Verse 14 basically says, “thank you for sharing my troubles with me.”
They did it together. You were never created to go it alone…in anything. Check your thinking on this.
Your thinking matters. Your thinking is what creates your results/reputation. Your thinking defines your integrity and your morals. Thinking. Integrity. Morals. Character. They matter deeply because they create results. But…
When Jesus returns…I believe He will not judge us by our results…no…He will judge us by our thoughts.
How you think…is everything…It is your thinking that leads to the character you make everyday.