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Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women
Wednesday, November 2, 2005
Dear Colleagues,

EXERCISING GODLY CHARACTER IN AN UNGODLY WORLD

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There was a time in this Country when words like "honor," "duty," "reputation," "integrity," and values such as a strong work ethic, achievement, growth and sacrifice were held in high regard. No more. Today, in our pluralistic society:

We want character but without unyielding conviction.

We want strong morality but without the emotional burden of guilt or shame.

We want virtue but without particular moral justifications that invariably offend.

We want good without having to name evil.

We want decency without the authority to insist upon it.

We want moral commitment without any limitations to personal freedom.

In short, we want what we cannot possibly have on the terms that we want it.1

Let me suggest four forces that have helped bring us to this tragic juncture:

(1) Social pluralism. That is, a society cut loose from its Judeo Christian moorings that now sends contradictory and mixed signals as to its values.

(2) Constant bombardment of secular and contemporary media propaganda that undermines reality and traditional values.

(3) Social upheaval and mobility that have shredded our sense of community, resulting in little, if any accountability or responsibility to anyone.

(4) Obsession with material accumulation, leisure and the cultivation of personal preferences that have moved us away from an emphasis on achievement to performance; from character development to personality development.

Immersed as we are in a pluralistic world, believers run the risk of loosing sight of the fact that godly character is formed through the development of convictions that are chiseled out of unrushed, meaningful time alone with God and His word. Authentic character is validated by our ability to live by those convictions in the crucible of temptation in a society that gives little currency to Biblical absolutes. At the very root of character is moral discipline which is diminished when we compromise the authority and conviction of the Scriptures. When that occurs, there remains little if any compelling force to hold us back from expressing our base nature. If however, we respond with integrity in obedience to the Scriptures, we continue to possess the capacity for self-control – a fruit of the Spirit – when temptation rears its ugly head.

"How can a boy or girl from infancy to adolescence be translucent, innocent and pure?2I have thought much about your words and stored them in my heart so that they would hold me back from sin." (Psalm 119:9,11 Vs. 11: Living Trans.)

QUESTON:

Are you unequivocally committed to deeply building the uncompromising truth of Gods word into the very core of your being, so that you can consistently exercise godly character in an ungodly pluralistic world?

1James Davidson Hunter, The Death of Character (Basic Books Press) 2000 p. IV; Many thoughts derived from Hunters book. 2 Literal translation of verse 9 from the Hebrew text;

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