I’d Pick Character Over Charisma Everyday of the Week and Twice on Sundays

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It’s quite easy to recognize pride when it comes to our ego driven society here in America.  Media tells us that size does matter, that we’re judged by our resume, and value is related to accomplishments.  It’s Darwinian theories being played out in our everyday lives.  Sadly, the Church isn’t immune to vying for attention.

  • charismaa spiritual power or personal quality that gives an individual influence or authority over large numbers of people; giftings.
  • characterA person’s high moral qualities, ethical standards, and life principles; the distinctive qualities that make one recognizable as a person.

We are told to look out for number one, that our needs matter above everyone else’s.  The subtle danger is when we start to adopt that belief.  The Body of Christ is full of egomaniacs who, yes are being used by God, but rarely deflect the praise to God.  False humility is a cover up for a bottomless pit of self-aggrandizement.

Galatians describes our walks adorned with the fruit of the Spirit:  “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  Not only are these the attitudes God wants us to possess, but they also keep us from buying into the world’s cheap definition of success.  Other words need to be added to this list:  humility, brokenness, integrity, and authenticity.

Samson was a man with great charisma and is a perfect example and warning to us.  God used him to defeat the Philistines, stating that the “Spirit of the Lord came upon Him mightily.”  So, he possessed the power of the Spirit, but lacked the fruit of the Spirit.  In fact, while people refer to Samson as a hero, I would say he failed miserably as one who was to bring freedom to Israel.  When he did defeat the Philistines, it wasn’t for his people or to give God glory, but merely for revenge and selfless gain.  His needs superseded the corporate need of his own people.  He severely lacked character.  On the contrary, he was selfish, self-involved, self-promoting, self-centered and self-seeking.

In my experience, the dangerous side of being used in the power of the Spirit is that it draws attention to us.  We forget that God unleashes the supernatural in our lives to confirm His Word, not to boost our self-esteem and reputation.  I know people who could preach like the Apostle Paul, thunder on like John the Baptist, who could quote someone else’s license, yank people up out of wheelchairs, and demons shudder when they show up.  But what are any of those things if love isn’t the motivation and God isn’t glorified?  Charisma elevates flesh, but character demonstrates Christ.

We have a lot of very gifted people and we tend to put them on a pedestal, mistakenly thinking that God is using them.  Well, He might be moving through them, but is He moving in them?

The era of superhero Christianity must come to an end.  We don’t need any more superheroes…we need servants.  We don’t need any more evangelists clad in bright white suits accented by a spotlight who exclaim, “God hide me behind the Cross.”

When it comes to choosing leaders, the very people I surround myself with…they’re the ones who can stack chairs without complaining.  Who aren’t so jaded that they can pick up a broom.  It doesn’t matter if they’re the shyest, most awkward, least talented individuals.

  • They are those with golden hearts who simply want to serve and mean it when they say, “God, whatever, whenever, and wherever.”
  • They are the ones don’t hide behind the Cross in word but in action and behavior.
  • They are the humble servants who realize everyone is vital to the team.
  • They are the ones who aren’t fixated on themselves, abilities, accolades and accomplishments…and very rarely refer to themselves in conversation.
  • They are the ones who are grateful for ANY opportunity as opposed to demanding air time in front of people.
  • They are the Mother Teresas who give all they’ve got without expecting anything in return, not even the applause of man.
  • They are the ones with simple faith who have the simple request, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”

“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you” (Romans 12:2).

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