Thursday, June 25, 2009

Character that counts...

Character, Integrity, Humility - these are three of the big ones...things that define a man, a woman, and a life.  I've been in the book of Titus lately, and wanted to make some observations of Chapter 2:1-10 (read below).

     "Your job is to speak out on the things that make for solid doctrine. Guide older men into lives of temperance, dignity, and wisdom, into healthy faith, love, and endurance. Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don't want anyone looking down on God's Message because of their behavior. Also, guide the young men to live disciplined lives.
     But mostly, show them all this by doing it yourself, incorruptible in your teaching, your words solid and sane. Then anyone who is dead set against us, when he finds nothing weird or misguided, might eventually come around.
     Guide slaves into being loyal workers, a bonus to their masters—no back talk, no petty thievery. Then their good character will shine through their actions, adding luster to the teaching of our Savior God."

This section starts innocently enough; instructions to Titus on teaching doctrine and guiding men/women; however, when you look closer, there's a few things that stick out.

1) The key verse, or at least the one that jumped off of the page at me?  "But mostly, show them all this by doing it yourself..."  It is one thing to teach and guide, and a whole other thing to teach, guide and model.  Teaching apart from modeling is often just empty words.  This reminds me of Paul's similar admonition to Timothy about not letting people look down on him, but to set an example for them - to model.  This, simply put, is character.

2) Look at the outcome - in the last section, "Then their character will shine through their actions..." - it is often said that "actions speak louder than words;" and we might add, "character speaks loudest of all."  And what happens when believers "marry" good works and character together?  We "add luster" to the teachings of Christ...or simply put, we model Christ to the world around us.  And what does bad character do?  Look earlier in this passage - "We don't want anyone looking down on God's message because of their behavior..."  Bad character can smear the name of Christ.

3) Humility: Although this word doesn't appear here explicity, it is certainly implied as only a humble person will take the call to "model" as well as teach.  It is the humble person who says to his pupil, "follow me, do as I do and together we will live for Christ."  The opposite?  "Don't do what I do, do what I say."  A humble person seeks to bring glory to God.

So what is good character?  What does integrity look like?  I once heard it put this way; "character is defined by what you do when nobody is watching."

Join with me in striving to be men/women of the highest character!

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