The Lord says of His holy people: They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight….We have happy memories of godly people, but the name of a wicked person rots away. (Psalm 16:3; Proverbs 10:7)
This builds on Christ and GIGO (garbage in, garbage out)
Royal People, Royal Behavior
Dr. Sinclair Ferguson, the Scottish theologian, told a story of Queen Elizabeth of England when she was young. Princess Elisabeth and her sister, Princess Margaret, were going to an official function. Their Queen Mother warned them, “Remember, girls, royal behavior. Conduct yourself as princesses.” Their privileges as royalty carried the reciprocal responsibility to behave with dignity.
Scripture says every Christian is loved with God’s everlasting love, a citizen of Heaven, an adopted child in the Lord’s family, Jesus’ little sister or brother, a temple of the Holy Spirit and much, much more. We are not to be smug, snobbish, or feel superior to others. God has blessed us to make us a blessing to others.1
Jesus sent His Apostle Paul to teach us: Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy, think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)
These eight Christ-like virtues are stepping stones for walking close behind Jesus through this fallen world. We keep our eyes on Christ, the Founder and Perfecter of our faith, and follow Him in our mind, our feelings, our words and deeds. We must trust and obey Christ, moment by moment, day by day.
Let Us Think and Practice What Is Noble
Jesus’ followers are His noble ones in whom is all His delight.2 The woman in Proverbs 31 has a noble character and she does noble things. She is worth far more than rubies to the Lord and to other people.3 Ruth, came from a pagan background in Moab, but became a lover of the one true and living God. As the Lord changed her, everyone called her a woman of noble character.4
By the Holy Spirit’s life-changing work in us, all Jesus followers are to be virtuous, respectable, honorable, and dignified, so that we bring glory to God, not disgrace. Dr. Robert Lewis, in his book Authentic Manhood, warns that without Christ-centered nobility, men collapse into dumbed-down masculinity that follows the cheers of the world, obsessive workaholism, selfish pursuits, and disgraceful, degrading, dishonorable deeds. Lewis helps men develop God-honoring character and conduct. And Christian women need the same. Sam Shoemaker of Alcoholics Anonymous warns us not to claim that our heart belongs to King Jesus, while our heads are run by the world and our hands and feet are run by the devil. That’s a sober warning. So let us examine ourselves and ask God to help us fix all that is dishonorable in us.
What’s Involved in Christ-centered Noble Character and Conduct?
Paul’s list in Philippians 4:8-9 (see above) is a great summary of Jesus-like living and we will unpack those virtues in other posts. Remember also that the whole book of Proverbs is given by God to help us become noble, respectable, honorable people. Here is a sample:
- Wisdom: You will be praised if you are wise, but disgraced if you are a stubborn fool.
- Compassion: A kindhearted woman gains honor, but ruthless men gain only wealth.
- Teachability: Whoever disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored.
- Kindness: Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.
- Humility: Pride leads to destruction; humility leads to honor.
- Peaceableness: It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.
- Righteousness and Love: Whoever pursues righteousness and loving-kindness finds life, prosperity and honor.5
Jesus Christ is the only One who perfectly practiced these Proverbs and He helps Christians, by His Holy Spirit, to imitate Him. As I write this, I stopped to ask the Lord to work these noble qualities into my life.
“Noblesse oblige” is a French saying meaning that nobility means more than wealth, fame, or a high position in society. The noble person must fulfill their social responsibilities to those who are less blessed. The noble person must love God and be caring, generous, and respectful toward others. Rich, famous, and powerful people must provide others with examples of good behavior. They must be role models. In the Spider-man movie, Uncle Ben tells Peter: “With great power comes great responsibility.”
In Luke 12, Jesus told a parable about His disciples getting ready for His return. Until Christ comes back for us, we are to be faithful to Him, using our advantages, time, talents, money, resources, knowledge, and skills to glorify God and benefit others. The Lord says: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”6
Christ commands: As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Galatians 6:10)
To be continued
Notes (various translations): 1 Gen 12:2-3, 18:18; Psalm 67:6-7. 2 Psalm 16:3. 3 Prov 31:10,29, 12:4. 4 Ruth 3:11. 5 Proverbs 3:35; 11:16; 13:18; 14:31; 18:12; 20:3; 21:21. 6 Luke 12:48.