The famous actor Gregory Peck was once standing in line with a friend, waiting for a table in a crowded Los Angeles restaurant. They had been waiting for some time, the diners seemed to be taking their time eating and new tables weren´t opening up very fast. They weren´t even that close to the front of the line. Peck´s friend became impatient, and he said to Gregory Peck, "Why don´t you tell the maitre d´ who you are?"
Gregory Peck responded, "No, if you have to tell them who you are, then you aren´t."
There´s a great deal of wisdom in that statement. There´s a big difference in who we think we are, who others think we are, and who we really are. Someone has well said that, "Reputation is who others think we are. Character is who we really are." As Christians, we ought to be more concerned with character than with reputation. Christianity is more than just knowing the right facts. It´s more than going through the right motions. It begins in the heart; it´s who we are.
There is a continual process of growing and adding Christ-like virtues to our lives. Peter wrote, "Add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love." (2 Peter 1:5-8). We never stop "becoming"; it´s an ongoing process. There´s always something positive to add to our lives, always something negative to try to get rid of.
We have different ways of measuring growth. When Sueanne and I would take our children to see the pediatrician, the nurse would always check their height and weight. Then that information was written onto a chart that gave us a picture of how they were growing. When we get to be adults, we measure our growth by whether or not we can fit into last year´s pants.
But how does a person measure his growth in Christianity? In Ephesians 4:15-16, Paul says, ".but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into him who is the head -- Christ -- from whom the whole body.causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love." Paul says that it´s time for us to grow up, it´s time for us to mature. But what is the goal of our growth? Jesus Christ is!
My favorite picture of the growth of Christianity is found in 2 Corinthians 3:18: "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." Paul says it´s as if we´re holding a mirror in our left hand, and a picture of Christ in our right hand. Now when we look in the mirror and see our reflection, and we then we look at Christ, they don´t look much alike. But every day as we mature, we grow up, we become more like Christ, striving for the day when we look in the mirror and see the reflection of Jesus Christ.
Knowledge, conduct, and character must always go together. We learn God´s will so that we might obey it; and in obeying it, we serve him and grow in Christian character. While none of us is perfectly balanced in these three areas, we ought to strive for that balance.
May God bless you as you seek to "know" His will better, "do" more in service to Him, and "become" more like Jesus Christ!