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Week 29 | Character vs Reputation

Legendary UCLA coach John Wooden once wrote, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

You can talk a good game, but do you walk the walk?

We can spend all our time and energy worrying about what others think of us, but never forget that character comes before reputation. Character is the foundation and frame of our house, and our reputation is the finished product people can see from the street.

The stronger your foundation, the stronger you are.

After the birth of Jesus, John the Baptist began preaching in the wilderness of Judea. After Jesus, John is probably the most important person in the Gospels. John was the Israelites' first prophetic voice in over 400 years, so he was the link between the Old and the New Testament.

His message was to, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near (Matthew 3:2),” he was called The Baptist because he baptized people who responded to his message and sincerely repented of their sins.

One of Jesus’s first messages was to repent. In Mark 1:15, He said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

What does repent mean?

It means to feel or express sincere regret or remorse about your wrongdoing or sin.

When you make a mistake, admit it, own it, learn from it, and grow from it.

In Matthew 3, the religious leaders of the time came to see John. He told them, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:8).”

Now that we know what repentance is, what is the fruit we are supposed to produce?

In Galatians 5:22-23, it is written, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

These fruits are the first step to having a solid foundation!

Love is an intense feeling of deep affection, interest, and pleasure in something and in doing something. Joy is a feeling of pleasure and happiness that comes from Jesus, our faith, and the hope that something good is going to happen to us and through us. Success is peace of mind, a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.

Patience is not just the ability to wait or to endure something, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting and enduring.

Kindness is serving and blessing others so that you can contribute to their joy, peace, and happiness. Goodness is more than being a nice, kind, and polite model citizen. Goodness is an excellence of character that actively and intentionally works from the inside out and is seen and felt by everyone that you come in contact with. Faith is the trust that we have in the Lord, but faith is not only complete trust or confidence but complete trust or confidence that something good is going to happen to me and through me.

Gentleness is showing care and respect for others in the way that you think, act, and speak. Self-control is the ability to control your thoughts, emotions, and actions so that you can do what you need to do to achieve what you want to achieve.

God knows that none of us are perfect; that is why repentance is such an important message.

What kind of character do you want to have? What do you hope people say about you? When you slip, sin, or make a mistake, how will you respond? Is your character aligned with the message of Jesus?


1 - Write down your most important life values. What ideas, people, or causes are most important to you?

2 - Imagine your future 100-year-old self coming back in time to visit you. What would your future self tell you? How would your future self tell you to live today? What would your future self tell you are most important?

3 - Imagine you are on your deathbed. What actions and legacies would you be most proud of? 4 - Imagine you are able to observe your own funeral. What would you want your family to say about you? Your friends? Your work colleagues? Your community members?

These reflection questions were taken from Coach Carson at For a Google Doc version of this devo, click here: Week 27 | Character vs Reputation

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