Posts tagged character
Kingly Character  
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An incident in the early life of David instructs us about how God sees people and how we should see them as well.

God was not happy with King Saul, so He told His prophet Samuel that He wanted to anoint another man to be king. God directed Samuel to travel to Bethlehem, to the house of Jesse. When Samuel arrived, Jesse did what any man in his community would have done: he brought his firstborn son to Samuel. Eliab was tall, handsome, and strong. Samuel looked at Eliab and said to himself, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed” (1 Samuel 16:6). But Samuel was wrong. There is an important lesson for us in his error.

We often make the same mistake Samuel did. We are attracted to things that are superficial. We look at other women in the office  and judge them according to their looks or clothes. We honor the guys who are wealthy, powerful or great looking. The timid and unattractive are often ignored. We are blind to the things that God sees. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in his famous speech, I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Dr. King was talking about “kingly character.” A kingly character looks to serve others, not to use them.

As we live our daily lives, let’s not make the blunder Samuel did. Let’s evaluate men and women based on what is in their hearts, not on their looks or manners or popularity. Let’s avoid the trap that sees only people’s external qualities. Let’s look at the eternal qualities and see value where none was visible before.

Getting Virtues into our Lives: Virtues Practiced

We have been looking at 1 Corinthians 13, the Bible’s famous chapter on Love and what author Henry Drummond had to say about it in his essay, The Greatest Thing in the World. We have studied one virtue per month that when taken together form Love, i.e., The Greatest Thing in the World. But as we read about these virtues, we admire them and would welcome them into our lives on a daily basis, but we also wonder how we do that? How can we get patience, kindness, generosity and humility, to name just a few, into our everyday persona? How do we learn to Love? The answer is the same answer to the question asked of a taxi driver in New York City. When a tourist asked, "How do I get to Carnegie Hall?" the driver sarcastically replied, "Practice, practice, practice.”"

Drummond speaks to that taxi driver’s snarky (but accurate) response when he says:

"The world is not a playground; it is a school-room. Life is not a holiday; but and education. And one eternal lesson for us all is how better can we love. What makes a man a good (musician, sculptor, artist or athlete)…practice. Love is not a thing of enthusiastic emotion. It is a rich, strong, manly, vigorous expression of the whole round Christian character."

Christian character is crafted out of ever-changing circumstances. Sometimes the times are wonderful and happy; other times it is a trial and temptation. We should give thanks to God for both occasions. The good times are a classroom to practice humility. When we are flush with money, generosity should flourish in our hearts. But it is the tough times and painful experiences that mold our characters the most. Someone once said, "Pain is the Mother of Compassion." That person was insightful.

We cannot isolate ourselves when times are good nor shrink away and curse our God when times are tough. When times are calm, we have the luxury of focusing on what pleases us. But it is the storms of life that build character. The German poet Goethe said as much when he wrote: "Talent develops itself in solitude; character in the stream of life."

Do you want to be patient, kind, humble and generous? Then make a point to practice these virtues everyday, in some situation, for someone. You will be surprised as how fast these virtues take root in your souls.