(1) A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
Loving favor rather than silver and gold.
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Many in this world would disagree with God on this point. They would happily trade their names, reputations, and characters for a life of comfortable living. This, however, is a darkened perspective disseminated by a corrupt culture. The converted know that wealth can go no further than the grave, but their characters and good names pass through that barrier.
Wealth is physical, while character is spiritual. Which is more important to us? More importantly, which is more important to God? Whose character traits do we want to carry through the grave—our neighbors' or our God's? Jesus gives us the obvious answer in Mathew 5:48, “Therefore you shall be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
The apostle Peter writes in I Peter 1:14-16:
. . . as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy for I am holy.”
Peter's instruction has everything to do with God establishing His image in us, implanting within each of His children the riches of His holy character. It is God who orders life; His purpose for us stands in the face of all the adversity we may encounter. We must work to serve that purpose and avoid frustrating any of God's efforts. Servants like us have many duties, first to learn and then do, but our very first duty is to listen to our God. From Him flows wisdom, grace, and all the virtues we need to succeed in transforming into the image of Jesus Christ.
Of all that we need to do in preparing for the Kingdom of God, getting ourselves in alignment with God's character is most important. By ourselves, we do very little, but by faithfully following Christ, we will grow into His image. Yes, it can be difficult for us to change. But when we find we want to put off doing what we know we should do, we must cling to God, and He will lead us in the right direction. On that day when He calls His people to Him (Matthew 24:31), He will find us because we are like Him and He knows us (I John 3:2; II Timothy 2:19).
— James Beaubelle