from whence comes character?


Galatians 5:1, 13-25
For Sunday, June 30, 2013
Year C Proper 8

I participated in a seminar last week called “The Speed of Trust” which is an offering of Franklin Covey.  One of the seminar’s key insights was that organizational capacity flows from trust which in turn flows in significant measure from character.  Yet from whence flows character?

Contemporary secular education of either the secondary or post-secondary variety doesn’t seem much interested in the answer.  In a milieu obsessed with tolerance and diversity character sounds constricting.  Yet who can argue with what Franklin Covey is suggesting?  Trust does flow from character and we all know it.  So if one knows one’s character is flawed (read “everyone”) where ought one go for repairs?  As good as the Franklin Covey course was it’s not nearly as good as the gospel in this regard.

What drags us down is what Paul refers to in these verses as our sin nature or “flesh”.  We are corrupted beings in that we’ve been alienated from the one who created us and without whom we are naturally  pulled toward “fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.”  If you doubt the veracity of this observation please observe that genus of newly loosed humans known as college students at the large public university near you.  Sure, as we mature, many of us settle down, and reign in the darker demons of our nature, but what if instead of settling for this, we could replace this corrupted nature with a new nature that tends not toward these depravities, but is instead pulled in the opposite direction.  This is the presence of the Spirit in the lives of Christians.  “By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness,and self-control.

Christianity is not a constricting undergarment.  Instead, it is an invitation to freedom from the pull of corrupted character.  Want to be a trusted employee, colleague, or friend?  Then let us exchange our corrupted characters for the new character offered us through faith in Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.  “For freedom Christ has set us free.


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