Character or Security?

Religion

LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart. Psalm 15:1,2

A current report from the Barna Group begins with this statement:
A new national survey of registered voters conducted by the Barna Group reveals that the issues that will most affect the candidate people support for President in the 2012 election are most likely to be those affecting their personal security and comfort. The matters that are likely to have the least impact on their choice of candidate are moral issues.
The summary of the report in a Barna Update email states, “Our latest study shows that issues often associated with Christians are of the least interest — even to millions of Christians — while matters that pertain to personal security and comfort top the list.”

That phrase, “even to millions of Christians,” is of great concern to me. Christians are, like other people, aware of the issues facing our nation. Our lives are affected by all the same things that affect everyone around us – Christian or not. National security is important; rising national debt, taxes, wars and conflicts around the world are certainly major concerns. Every local issue that affects our neighbors also impacts Christians; crime in the neighborhood, local weather conditions, county budgets, decreased law enforcement personnel, rising gas prices, and all the rest. But Christians are called to have unyielding principles and an unshakable foundation that grow from faith and confidence in God – and that produce a different outlook and a Biblical response to life’s issues.

Christians must look further than temporary concerns and local issues, and certainly beyond personal self-interests. Christians are to point others to a God who is in control, who does everything well, and who honors those who honor Him. In no way does this make Christians simple minded, out of touch, or ignorant of current concerns. But it does mean that we believe – we know – that character trumps personality; righteousness always ultimately prevails over expediency, and truth is truth – no matter the persuasive appeals to the contrary.

Psalm 15 is a wonderful summary of characteristics of Godly – principled – people. The two introductory verses printed above show the essential character of Godly people – certainly qualities necessary to any leader: they are to be people of integrity (“speaks the truth in his heart”), of right action (“walks uprightly”), and right purpose (“works righteousness”); and this all in the context of a desire to be in right relationship with God (verse 1). These qualities are not only important in the life of each Christian, but are also of primary importance in leaders and officials. Those chosen to lead must not only focus on economic and political issues; our leaders must be people of character and integrity personally and professionally. We – especially Christians – must understand that right actions can only follow right thinking, and that right thinking is only possible when the character, the heart, the core, is right.

Sometimes it’s not just about the economy. Sometimes it’s about character.

Religious article previously ran on 4/8/11.

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