A good person produces good deeds from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil deeds from an evil heart (Luke 6:45 NLT Ed. 1).

A number of years ago, on the Monday before Thanksgiving, we awoke to a sea of stench. Raw sewage flooded our house and ruined our carpet, tile, and bedroom furniture. When we replaced our furniture, we were given a much greater allowance than we expected for our bedroom suite. Our bedroom suite was ten years old, but it was solid ash. The adjuster told us it was almost impossible to replace because nearly everything today, except very very expensive furniture, was made of laminates and pressed woods with a pretty veneer. "It's mostly sawdust and glue with a pretty shine on the outside. This won't come close to truly replacing the quality of your furniture today. We're sorry. But you can get a nice replacement suite that is fairly comparable."

When Stephen R. Covey wrote The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, he made this key point: during the first 150 years of success literature in the USA, the focus was on developing character, but during these last 100 years it has focused on developing a powerful and winning personality. In other words, our culture has focused primarily upon "sawdust and glue with a pretty shine on the outside."

Many of us collapse like a sink hole.
A number of years ago, Gordon MacDonald struck a deep note of truth when he wrote Ordering Your Private World. He emphasized that we spend most of our time on our façade — the part of us that is visible. However, the part of our lives that ultimately determines who we are is what happens in our private worlds. When trouble comes upon us, many of us collapse like a sink hole because there is nothing of substance underneath the façade.

What are you spending your time working on — your façade or your character? Jesus says that ultimately the inner person will show itself. So what are you preparing for your show? I'm trying to honestly ask myself, "Who am I really?" It's not an existential question or a faith question. It's a character question. I'm trying to be honest with myself about my character. "Is the public persona I want to portray congruent with the person I am inside?" I'm not always pleased with what I see, but at least I see and can begin to address the gap!

Let me encourage you to continue in your pursuit of character. You visited HEARTLIGHTSM Magazine to grow in character. We want to be a positive voice in your Christian walk. Howver, your online time must not replace your personal time with God as he forms his character in you through prayer, Scripture and the Holy Spirit. Check out Today's Verse from God's Word for daily meditations and Daily Light for a Bible reading plan and one of our prayer plans (Rebels with a Cause is one of our current plan) to help you in your disciplined prayer life.

Don't get caught with only a façade. None of us wants to be "mostly sawdust and glue with a pretty shine on the outside." Be more than a façade; be a person of holy character! And this week, we want to have articles to encourage you to do just that. Be blessed in the journey, and let me know what you are doing to grow in character in your life? I'd love to hear from you on my blog.