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Living Large in Your Character

lil abner leadReprinted from ReadyAimLife

by The Howitzer

I am not much of an actor.  When the lights go on I get very self-conscious.  I used to joke that I have been forced to do so many sketches over the years that I have skit-zophrenia.  When I was in high school, I tried out and got a very small part as an extra in a play called Lil Abner.  The role I played was of a town’s person and I milled around the stage and provided a backdrop for what the real actors were doing.  I think I was in three or four scenes max.  But, I was spectacular and completely unforgettable I am sure. Ha!

The kind of character we are talking about today is not of the thespian kind, but of the moral kind.  We are not talking about behavior that good people exhibit but about the moral authority that a few seem to exude.  In regards to our character, many of us treat this area much the same way that an actor comes to play a part in a production.  We study the lines and try to understand the director’s expectation and then do our best to act the part.  We have become masters of acting out whatever expectation our particular social subculture says is good.  Living Large in your character is more than just acting the part, it is about actually possessing the characteristics that you are trying to portray.  Being a patient person is infinitely better than feigning patience.

Let me illustrate using an example from my church. Every year we go through a selection process for elders in our church.  To be honest this is a role that I would love to have.  Everybody thinks you are wonderful.  You get to be on the inside of what is really going on.  And my experience with Boards has been great.  It is so much fun to work on a problem with a group of folks and bring some real solutions to what the organization is struggling with.  To be considered for this role would be a great honor and it would be amazing to be thought of by those around me as that kind of person.  What would be even more amazing is to be that kind of person.  As I reviewed the character qualifications I realized that I am not that person: YET!

To be honest, even if they approached me I would decline because I know my own heart and I have some things I need to work through.  It is very likely that I may never get there.  The qualifications for a man who the Scriptures say is capable of leading God’s church are pretty significant.  And even though this article is not about becoming a leader in a church, I think that the characteristics here are noble qualities that have application in any setting.  These qualities are ones we should all be striving towards no matter your discipline.

I want to share the elder list (This list was produced from Fellowship Bible Church in NW Arkansas) with you to give you a very practical list that I use to measure my progress towards becoming a man of character.  Check it out!

An Elder:

  1. is above reproach- Titus 1:6, I Tim 3:2, Titus 1:7
  2. is husband of one wife- Titus 1:6, I Tim 3:2
  3. has children who believe and who are not accused of dissipation or rebellion and is one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity- Titus 1:6, I Tim 3:4
  4. is not self willed- Titus 1:7
  5. is not quick tempered- Titus 1:7
  6. is not addicted to wine- Titus 1:7
  7. is not pugnacious- Titus 1:7, I Tim 3:3
  8. is not fond of sordid gain and free from the love of money- Titus 1:7, I Tim 3:3, I Pet 5:2
  9. is hospitable- Titus 1:8, I Tim 3:2
  10. loves what is good- Titus 1:8
  11. is sensible- Titus 1:8, I Tim 3:2
  12. is just- Titus 1:8
  13. is devout- Titus 1:8
  14. is self controlled- Titus 1:8
  15. holds fast to the faithful word of God and is able to teach it- Titus 1:9, I Tim 3:2
  16. is temperate- I Tim 3:2
  17. is respectable- I Tim 3:2
  18. is gentle- I Tim 3:3
  19. is uncontentious- I Tim 3:3
  20. not a new convert- I Tim 3:6

A second list I use is from the Bible as well.  Commonly known as the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23), it is a great evaluator.  A man of character regularly exhibits:

  1. Love
  2. Joy
  3. Peace
  4. Patience
  5. Kindness
  6. Goodness
  7. Faithfulness
  8. Gentleness
  9. Self Control

I don’t know about you but I want to be a man of character, not just pretend to be one and act the part.  But man, I have a ways to go but at least I am headed in a direction.  How about you?  What list do you use to evaluate yourself in this area?

Lil Abner Photo by  stephenvance

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