Family and Dog

How many of you enjoy a good swashbuckling movie? I always enjoyed the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series. Although very fictitious, there was something that the pirates often referred to when faced with a dilemma. It was “The Code”. In the movie, “At World’s End”, all the Captains of the pirate ships came together and they brought out the large, dusty book of the pirate law and opened to “The Code”. It was a standard (I will agree rather one sided) in how they would live and act toward each other. I began to wonder, what is my “Code of Character” for the Lord I serve? I went to the ultimate source of truth and began to search the high seas of the scripture. From this beginning journey, I found the treasure of four principles that help to protective the posture of my heart and life in leadership.

Character is visible: A good Character is first demonstrated rather than declared. I love what Margret Thatcher said during her time as the Prime Minster of England, “Power is like being a lady, if you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” In Luke 8:17 and Ephesians 5:13, we read that everything is on display. If you are married, how do you view your spouse regarding his or her character? How does your spouse view you? How about friends and even strangers? Remember, in times of stress and challenges, what is on the inside of you will come to the surface and pour out of you. Conflict does not make character- it put’s it on display. Remember, if those that know you the least respect you the most, you have a problem with your character.

Character is reliable: There are many routines that help us to get through the day without much thought. Routines like; getting dressed, brushing our teeth and hair, and stopping at stop signs and all yellow lights (Well two out of three isn’t bad). One of the healthiest routines we can develop is a consistency of character. The old phrase, “What you see is what you get” is wonderfully appropriate in our life because it denotes transparency and consistency. Matthew 5:37 and James 5:12 provide for us a template of a reliable routine of character. If your “yes” is always “yes” and your “no” always “no”, people, especially our family, never have to questions where we stand on issues or ideas.

Character is tactful: So how would you answer the question, “Honey, does this make me look fat?” We are encouraged in Ephesians 4:15 to “Speak the truth in love”. So how do we accomplish this while holding onto our character when we know that what we say will hurt the other person? Depending on the comfort of your couch, you may take the stance of, “I’ll just tell it like it is!” If this is your approach, please tell me what couch you recommend for me to buy. If you would rather choose another way, let me recommend what one man said to his wife when asked the question. His lovingly, tactful, and truthful response was, “Sweetheart, I do not think that outfit brings out the beautiful woman you are.” (Smooth as butter). In Psalms 15:2, the writer pens these words, “He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart.” Tactful techniques in developing our character consider how to engage others with truth while encouraging them with tender touches.

Character is Confident: What is the difference between confident and cocky? It is what becomes evident when the spot light shines on the person. The cocky person will soak it all in and welcome the recognition. The confident one will reflect the light and bath others in its radiance. 1 Corinthians 3:13 and 1 Timothy 3:10 teach us about the light of a refining fire that will test our motives, attitudes, and agendas of the works we do.  True confidence of character remembers that nothing significant was ever accomplished by one. It takes a team. Having a character of confidence means that you are secure in who you are and what you do so that you can turn the attention to what others have done and give them the recognition for it. Remember, a man wrapped up in him-self is a very small package. I also like what John Maxwell said. “It is amazing what gets accomplished when you don’t care who gets the credit.”

As you consider these principles, I encourage you to take the needed time to dig deeper into each one and make it personal. As the famous boxer, Joe Frazier once said, “You can have a fight plan or a life plan.” If you cheat yourself in the dark, early morning hours of training, it will be exposed in the light of the ring of life. Make every day count as you travel the high seas of service for our gracious Savior.

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