When it comes to impacting others in the marketplace, what we do is not the only thing that matters. An emphasis should be placed on character development because what we are will impact what we do. We know that good character leads to good works.
We read about the “Fruit of the Spirit” in Scripture. Just as it is easy to identify a tree by the fruit it produces, believers are identified by what they do; what we do is the fruit. An apple tree produces apples because it is an apple tree. The fruit is a result of its DNA, or what is is at its core. A person of Godly character provides evidence for who he is. For example, if we develop a Christ-like character, people will see the fruit of love. Jesus said, “By this, all people will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”
We should not just try to “do” good things without working on our character — on what we are. When we set our minds on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable, we are building character.
We now look at one of the excellent and praiseworthy things Paul lists in Philippians 4:8: purity. The word used for purity is similar to the word used for the word “holy.” The word holy means “set apart,” “unstained,” or “unblemished.” A holy person is set apart from others in that he or she is more like Christ. There is, therefore, a noticeable difference between someone who has a relationship with Christ. It is what distinguishes us.
To be pure means to be clean, or blameless. In the Old Testament, animal sacrifices to God were to be unblemished and without defect. We too are called to be unblemished by the world, as we strive for purity.
This begs the question: Are we participating or being influenced by those things that are impure? What thoughts are occupying our minds? Does the company that we keep in and around the workplace have a positive or adverse impact on our character development?
One way we work on becoming pure is by not putting ourselves in compromising situations or in an impure atmosphere. We must be careful when it comes to relationships in the workplace — relationships that could harm marriages, for example. Heed the words of 1 Corinthians 15:33: “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good character’” (Berean Study Bible). Ask yourself, therefore, “What company am I keeping? Is it impacting my character?”
We must always guard our character. For example, we must be careful when traveling for business. When traveling and you are away from your spouse, do you watch or participate in things that are impure?
Your Influence: Positive or Negative?
We would also be wise to ask the question, “Am I shaping the world, or is the world shaping me?” Is my influence positive or negative?
We frequently see “how the mighty have fallen” — men and women in the public eye who were supposedly leading pure lives, but their impurity became public. Their effectiveness has been, to say the least, hindered — even destroyed because their lack of purity became public knowledge.
For this reason, if you are in a position of leadership or influence, I especially urge you to strive for purity — to think on what is holy, what is pure. After all, if your impurity is exposed, there could be devastating consequences.
What You Need is What God Wants From You
Micah Stamply wrote a song that was recorded by many Christian music artists. He wrote “Holiness
Is what I long for; Holiness Is what I need; Holiness Is what you want For me.” He goes on, petitioning God, saying, “Take my heart and mold it. Take my mind, transform it. Take my will, conform it to yours.”
It’s no wonder that the Apostle Paul, when writing Philippians 4, said to “think on these things” — to arrive at a logical conclusion concerning those excellencies that are — among many others — pure.