good character

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How Do We Want to Be?

A common question is, “Who do you want to be?” Parents often ask their young kids this: “Nikki, do you want to be a scientist when you grow up?” This question gains more urgency when their children want to drop out of college! Asking “who” is important, but a better question, I think, is to ask ourselves or and our kids, “How do you want to be?”

This question is vital for each of us because it asks about our Christian character. The “how” takes us to our hearts and asks what kind of character we want to possess. Do we want to be a giver, a person who gives of his or her time, skills, manual labor, and money? Is that how you want to live?

God Cares About Your Character

Do you want to be an agent for change? Do you want to be the person that beings Jesus into difficult situations? Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to the glory of Jesus, do you want to affect your child’s PTO or change the environment of work meetings that you attend? Do you want to quell arguments, heal division, and quiet people who love to be disruptors?

Perhaps, you want to be the person that introduces Jesus to the kids at your church. You want to be that person who loves unconditionally, gives generously, and prays continually for children and young people. We aren’t limited to one of these! These are but a few of the “how’s” that Jesus, our Lord, may lead into us.

Many churches today are experiencing a free-fall in attendance due to COVID, dissension within the congregation, a crisis of relevance, and many other excuses. Nevertheless, the missing people on Sunday mornings are not released from their “hows.” Christian character isn’t something we can put on and take off.

Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.

Proverbs 28:6

Our character is our best measurement of our relationship with Christ Jesus. Godly character is life-changing for us and all with whom we come in contact. Let’s ask ourselves again, “How do I want to be?”

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Good Character

Bart Starr, the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers from 1956 through 1971, passed away today (May 26, 2019). As a kid, I watched Bart Starr, and his team win the first two Super Bowls. However, his most significant impact on me was when I attended a luncheon where he spoke about sportsmanship and good character; and, I got to shake his hand! He was a genuinely fantastic person who “practiced what he preached.” Many people will deeply miss him.

When was the last time you heard a commentator or athlete talk about character? They may briefly venture into sportsmanship but “character” that would be too controversial to touch on since there is no national agreement on what constitutes good character. It hasn’t always been this way.

And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. “(Ruth 3:11 NIV) Notice in this passage of Scripture that there isn’t a detailed definition of what was “noble character.” Society, at that time, had a very clear understanding of what was “noble character.”

There is a fascinating fifty-seven page thesis titled “Defining Character: A Curriculum Analysis of the Boy Scouts of America and the National Kappa League” written by Helen Marie Gerety, Loyola University Chicago, that seeks to analyze both the Boy Scouts of America and the National Kappa Leagues’ character education curriculum. –

Who knew that defining “character” was so difficult and controversial? Well, I guess the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) knew. “The objectives of the BSA are referred to as the Aims of Scouting: Character, Citizenship, Personal Fitness, Leadership.” –

If we turn to 1 Corinthians 15:33, we read, “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” The word “character” is the Greek word éthos meaning habit, manner, custom, morals (Strong’s Concordance 2239). Our English term “ethics” is derived from ēthos. I think Bart Starr understood character and I hope all of us strive to build within our lives good ēthos.

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