GLEANINGS FROM THE SCRIPTURES
What Is Good Character?
By Keith L. Estes
Character is the inward motivation to do what is right according to the highest standards of behavior in every situation.
Character consists of the stable and distinctive qualities built into an individual’s life, which determine his or her responses, regardless of the circumstances.
Character is the wise response to the pressure of a difficult situation and what we do when we think that no one is watching. It is the predictor of good behavior.
The Greek word for character is character. It is translated I Scripture as “the express image.” According to The Complete Word Study Dictionary New Testament, the word “originally denoted an engraver or engraving tool. Later it meant the impression itself, usually something engraven, cut in, or stamped, a character, letter, mark, [or] sign. This impression with its particular features was considered as the exact representation of the object whose image it bore.” In Hebrews 1:3, Christ is referred to as the “express image” of God.
Why must we learn Character?
1. Character reveals the Lord Jesus Christ, since He is the full personification of all good character qualities.
What is the Source of Character and How Is It Accurately Defined?
Values are based on the changing opinions of what people or groups feel is important. However, character is based on universal standards that are time-tested and recognized as being right.
In 1844, the City of Philadelphia was bequeathed a large amount of money and land to establish a school for orphans. The will of the decedent prohibited the use of clergymen or ministers in teaching the orphans, yet the Will required that the students be instructed in the “purest principles of morality.” Over the objection of the heirs, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that Philadelphia could use the Bible to teach the students, even though clergymen could not be used in the school.
The Court stated: “Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from [the Bible and especially] the New Testament?” (Vidal v. Girard’s Executors; 43 U.S. 127,200 .
George Washington said, “ It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
Noah Webster said, “The principles of all genuine liberty, and of wise laws and administrations are to be drawn from the Bible and sustained by its authority. The man, therefore, who weakens or destroys the divine authority of that book may be accessory to all the public disorders which society is doomed to suffer.”
James Madison said, “We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind to self-government; upon the capacity of each and of all of us to government [govern] ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
Patrick Henry said, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded…not on religious, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Ref. The Power for True Success: How to Build Character in Your life- Published by the Institute in Basic Life Principles, Inc. Box One, Oak Brook, Il. 60522. Used by permission.