I am sorry for the late blog posting, but it was Thanksgiving yesterday in the U.S. and as Bob Cratchet would say, ‘I was making quite merry with my family’. I have had a lot to catch up on from being away from home, but none is as important as family fun and feasting. For this I am very thankful!
I have been addressing the issues of character in our lives as leaders. Our character is the inner strength of our lives. It is not our gifting, our charisma, or our personal abilities that will sustain us as leaders. It is our character.
The true substance of character is seen in our ability to live for the sake of others. All things are lawful, but not all things are beneficial. The beneficial things in life are those things that bring life to others. The true substance of character is seen in our ability to make sacrifices, endure difficulty, and press through resisting forces for the sake of giving life to others.
1 Corinthians 10:23-24 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.
As leaders we must set an example in living for the well-being of others. We cannot be lovers of self, self-centered, or self-willed. We must not desire what belongs to another or be covetous in our attitudes towards anyone. We must set an example in humility and never seek a wrong evaluation of ourselves that exhibits a better than others attitude. Ungodly pride of self has no place in our lives. We must never be disrespectful of others, for to do so is disrespectful of God. Disobedience, rebellion, or lawlessness has no place in our lives. We must seek connections of relationship and we must see to give the life of authority to others. We must be grateful and thankful in all things. The desires of others must be a concern in our lives, even more than our own desires in life. We live to multiply the life of God in those who are part of our spheres in life and we do not live to simply add others to our own personal ambitions and goals. Remaining true to our covenant relationships in life is at the top of our priorities. We do not live to gratify our own needs or to see our needs met through what others can do for us. Our life is in God and He is the fulfillment of our needs in life. People can be a part of that testimony, but no one is an idol to gratify the needs of our hearts. Our word must be our bond. Our yes is yes and our no is no. We can be trusted with what we say. We indulge in the Spirit of God and the fruit of self-control and patience are exhibited in the attitudes and actions of our lives. The fruit of the Spirit’s goodness is exhibited in the good things we do in life. Loyalty to others is high among our values. The motivation of our lives is never rash, reckless, headstrong, or high-minded. We love God and others more than we love the personal pleasures of our lives. Personal pleasures are not necessarily bad, but people are more important. Relationships are more important than our personal desires. We cannot just mimic a form of godliness and live a hypocritical lifestyle. We must be genuine in our faith. Our connections with life-giving authority will guard us from deception. Our diligence in our pursuit of God, including understanding Him in His word and character, is foundational in our own character. Our greatest teaching tool in the lives of others is the character of our own lives.
These things are not attributes that can simply be added to our lives by studying God’s word or doing religious ceremonies. These things are attributes birthed from within the life of Christ in our hearts. They are made known through the sufferings of our lives.
1 Peter 1:6-9 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
I believe that the salvation of our souls is not just our going to heaven when we die. I believe it is the restoration of who we are meant to be in life. Our souls are the bridge between the spirit and the natural. The soul is the throne of our lives and it causes our desires, thoughts, reasoning, emotions, and imaginations to be manifest in all that we do. A key to allowing God to change our character is to present our bodies in the right place. We must present our bodies as living sacrifices and that means that we cannot live like we did when we were in the world. We must live for the well-being of others and our character is the utmost important in our journey of life!
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson
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Ted J. Hanson