Weekly Thought – December 11, 2018
Fred’s mentor, Maxey Jarman, influenced him profoundly. He established a relationship with “Mr. Jarman” while in his twenties by seeking him out. The lessons learned and the friendship developed continued until Maxey Jarman’s death in 1979. One of the strongest elements each pursued was character.
BWFLI focuses on “stretching and blessing the next generation of leaders… to the glory of God.” Emphasizing the importance of character as foundational for maturity is critical to each campus visit. Keep on praying for students, faculty, staff, and administrators at this high pressure time of year.
I have often wondered about the real motivation for character building. There are surely multiple answers and I am not ready to settle on just one. But I do know character building is like any other aspect of personal development. It starts with the genuine desire to have the real thing, not just the image of it. Too often we have the appearance, but not the reality. We see in others, and in ourselves, a hyped up version of character, but not the authenticity. Anxiety and secrecy are the price we pay for this hypocrisy.
One motivation I saw in my own mentor, Maxey Jarman, was scriptural obedience. A critical point is that this discipline is not just to the scripture, but to the Lord of the scripture. There is a subtle, but important, difference. Because Maxey saw the Bible as the inerrant, inspired word of God and not just ancient wisdom works, he knew he had no right to consider it a static document open to human interpretation. He treated it as the living Word understood through the dynamic work of the Spirit. It was not literature it was Logos.
When I think about my mentor and character I find it difficult to accurately express all the lessons he taught. Words are so wooden sometimes.
The idea of character is frequently equated with obedience. But I make a distinction between behavior and motivation. The maturely obedient and the self-righteous exhibit the same outward actions, but the inward motivations can be polar opposites. Ultimately, the attitudes differ and even the outcomes can take different directions.
Legalists become the master of the law in its application and the servant in its fulfillment. The law becomes the god while appearing to serve God. Consequently, they miss.
Character development includes a spirit of belief which is part of the act of belief. Therefore, it follows if one is to use scriptural obedience for character building one must be a student of the Word. If our nation is losing its character as many fear, I sincerely believe it must be partly due to a lessening of scriptural knowledge, study, and respect.
This week consider: 1) How disciplined am I in my scriptural obedience? 2) What can I contribute to maturity in my own environment? 3) Who is influencing my thinking and my own character?
Words of Wisdom: “The maturely obedient and the self-righteous exhibit the same outward actions, but the inward motivations can be polar opposites.”
Wisdom from the Word: “An honorable man makes honorable plans; his honorable character gives him security.” (Isaiah 32:8 NET Bible)