Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Personality or character?

We live in a celebrity obsessed age, whether it's with A-list film stars such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie or low-rent UK celebs like Jordan and Pete. Paparazzi photographers make a mint from snapping the rich and famous and peddling their wares in the tabloid press. And people just lap it up. They can't get enough of celebrity title-tattle. Our heroes are no longer great statesmen, inventors or explorers, but the likes of David and Victoria Beckham. People even want to smell like their favourite celebs and splash out on celebrity-endorsed aftershave and perfume.

These days you don't have to do anything special to be a celebrity. Some like the late, lamented Jade Goody are famous simply for being famous. What matters is "personality" rather than character. If someone has a charismatic personality, or even better an outrageous personality, then they are worthy candidates for fame and celebrity. But isn't character much more important then "personality"? Martin Luther King had a dream that one day a man would not be judged by the colour of his skin, but the content of his character. Character has to do with virtue - honesty, integrity, kindness and compassion. No amount of "personality" can compensate for a lack of moral substance. What would you rather a slick, charismatic politician who could work the media and play the crowds, or one who could be trusted to tell you the truth?

The Christian faith puts character before personality and decency before celebrity. God is in the business of changing people. By the power of the Spirit he works in believers to make them more like Jesus. The apostle Paul wrote, "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." (Galatians 5:22-23). Having a Sprit-transformed character may not bring you fame and fortune, but only those who have been born again will see the kingdom of God.

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