Building Character

“Because I gave him my word” was the answer to the question I had just asked.  The question was, “How does he know you will pay him?” It was an interesting conversation, and one that I’ve remembered for almost 50 years.

Even though the word “reputation”was not used, it was the subject of the discussion.  Pop finished the conversation with this statement:  “A man is only as good as his word.”

I posted a comment about reputation to my Facebook page yesterday:  People wouldn’t have to spend so many minutes protecting their reputation, if they would pause for 60 seconds to guard their character.

You can read the character-focused Scripture I’ve provided below in less than 60 seconds:

  • Proverbs 22:1:  “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.”
  • Ecclesiastes 7:1:  “A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume.”
  • Hebrews 11:1-2:  “Now faith means putting our full confidence in the things we hope for, it means being certain of things we cannot see. It was this kind of faith that won their reputation for the saints of old.”

It was Helen Keller who said:  “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

The quote above reminds me of Romans 5:1-5:

Since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory.  Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,  and endurance, character, and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Do you see the cause and effect links in the verses above?  “Suffering produces endurance,  and endurance, character, and character, hope.”  

 

 


Character_Building (1)
I’m not sure that Paul would agree with Calvin’s dad, but you may have the opportunity to build some character with snow in the forecast for this weekend.

Suffering and the Sovereignty of God

trustGodWhen people are confronted with the existence of evil, some will question the existence of God. When this happens, I encourage people to consider the nature of evil.  Evil and Good are value judgments, and as such, they must be measured against a morally perfect standard.  If some act deviates from this standard, it is deemed to be evil.

Early in his life, C.S. Lewis rejected the idea of God.  After a thorough investigation, he made an interesting statement:   “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call something crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.”  Lewis also made the point that a portrait is a good or a bad likeness depending on how it compares with the “perfect” original.

Any time you feel intense physical or emotional pain, you may find yourself asking the question:  “Why?”  Randy Alcorn offers an excellent discussion of suffering and the sovereignty of God in his book If Good Is Good:  Why Do We Hurt?  

God is both loving and sovereign . . . Knowing this should give us great confidence that even when we don’t see any redemptive meaning in our suffering, God can see it—and one day we will too. We can trust that God has a purpose for whatever he permits. We are limited to time; God is not. From the perspective of a timeless God, the distant future—when justice is fully granted, and evil and suffering are gone—is as real as the present. What he knows he will ultimately accomplish through suffering, for his glory and our good, is not merely a possibility but a reality he can already see, in all its fullness ~Randy Alcorn

Immorality, pain, suffering, evil, and ethical failures are, according to some people reasons to question the presence of a loving God.  I strongly disagree with this assessment, and  I believe they help to prove the existence of God.  I have written about this in the past, and encourage you to read my post: Why God?

My words are neither nonsensical nor vacuous, they are the thoughts of one who has walked the path of suffering and loss on more than one occasion, and I still believe in the goodness of God.