A weekly letter of encouragement to business and professional men and women
THREE MEASURING STICKS OF GODLY CHARACTER
Good character today is in short supply. For example, in a recent survey, 61% of college students admitted cheating at least once. Of them, 73% felt no remorse, and getting caught stopped only 7%. The IRS claims that 40% of Americans are out of compliance a nice way of saying they are cheating on their taxes. The sacred mantra of postmodern values is not absolute truth, since truth is now what you define it to be, but the twin pillars of independence and tolerance. Translated: I get to do what I want to do, and I allow you to do what you want to do.
By way of contrast, godly character is living out biblical imperatives with integrity. Following are three measuring sticks of that character: +
Core: What you are at the core of your being reveals the essence of your character. David said of God, You desire truth in the inner parts Literally, ones inmost thought. (Psa. 51:6b) Solomon reminds us that, as [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he. (Pro. 23:7 – NKJV) Only you and God know exactly who you are at the core, as revealed by your thinking patterns.
Consistency: A persons core character is seen best in what he or she reveals consistently, rather than in a single statement or random act. (Tocqueville) Tocqueville referred to this consistency as the habits of the heart. Said King David, My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast (Psa. 57:7a) And the man who fears God? He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. (Ps. 112:7) Nietzsche referred to consistency as a long obedience in the same direction. Observe the centrality of consistency in both the life and teaching of Jesus: Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. "Because lawlessness will abound (in the end times), the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. (Heb. 13:2 (NIV; Matt. 24:12,13 NKJV) (See Psa. 37:24 Isa. 50:7; Rom. 12:12; I Cor. 13:7; 2 Tim. 2:10, 12; Jms. 1:12)
Cost: The test of our consistency of character is determined by what we are willing to suffer for our convictions. If our core values are not worth dying for, they certainly are not worth living for. It is not true that every man has his price. Consider the life of St. Paul: I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace… I speak the truth in Christ–I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit– I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race. (Act. 20:24; Act. 9:1-3) (See Phil. 1:20, 21; 2:27; Col. 1:24)
QUESTION: Based on these three measuring sticks, how would you evaluate your character? Is there an area where change is needed?
This week, may God grant you His grace, peace, and protection.
R. Dwight Hill
+ These three measuring sticks are adapted from Character Counts, Os Guinnis, pages 12-15, Baker Books, 1999
The Facts of the Matter is also available through the Internet: http://www.factsofthematter.org2008 R. Dwight Hill. Unlimited permission to copy without altering text or profiteering is hereby granted subject to inclusion to this copyright noticeViews: 409