The concept that must remain fixed in our mind is this … character is not a gift given only to some while leaving others without, but rather a victory that should be reached for everyday. Character or the lack thereof, emerges over a period of time. Therefore we must be careful to guard our good character with diligence.
By Jonathan R. Perry
He was a fine young man with no serious problems. One night while out riding around with some friends they stopped the car in a parking lot. He was left sitting in the car while the other two ran inside and robbed the store. Not only did they rob the store, but also in the midst of the robbery, they killed a man. Fear overwhelmed the guilty duo and they consorted together to turn in the one that was innocent, alleging him to be the guilty person.
Eleven years were spent in a Georgia State Prison for a crime he did not commit. He was finally pardoned and released to go free. I listened to Herald Morris speak and was moved by his openness. As he looks back, he does not hate the two men who lied and used him as a scapegoat. He honestly admits, “I was with the wrong crowd, which is a sign of wrong character.”
The writer of Corinthians said it like this,
1 Cor 15:32-34
32 If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me, if the dead do not rise? Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die!
33 Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits.
34 Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. (NKJ)
In verse 33 Paul spoke of “evil communications.” This refers to the company of friends with which we spend time. This same verse uses the words “good habits,” which is what character is all about.
Upon looking at the entire fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians, we find that Paul is writing about the resurrection of Christ.
- Verses 1 through 11 deal with the factual aspects of Christ’s resurrection.
- Verses 12 through 19 tell us of the importance of Christ’s resurrection.
- Verses 20 through 34 lay out the order of resurrection.
- Verses 35 through 50 speak of the method of resurrection.
- Verses 51 through 58 present the greatness of resurrection.
While understanding that this chapter is so focused on the resurrection, it might appear at first glance that these verses are misplaced. Upon closer examination, it is evident that this is our vital link to preparedness for the first resurrection. Though all will be resurrected, not all will be resurrected to life.
Verse 33 begins by warning us, “Be not deceived” In other words, be careful; be alert; be on guard–because danger is near. Paul was warning the people of Corinth not to be tricked into allowing evil associations of the world to corrupt and destroy Christian Character.
Our environment is a greater influence than we sometimes think. Look at nature’s slant on things. During our early years of marriage, my wife and I traveled extensively. While in the southern parts of the United States for any length of time, that southern accent would simultaneously surface when we spoke. Likewise, when in the northern United States, again we would both find ourselves using terminology and accents that were found only in the north. It is often said that married couples begin to look and act alike after years of marriage.