Sunday, February 1, 2015

Building Character

I looked for the source of a quote, and found one a bit better. According to Quote Investigator:
In 1856 a newspaper in Colchester, England reported on a speech delivered to students which contained a statement that has remained in circulation to the present day.
Mr. Wiseman then cautioned his young friends as to the habits they contracted in early life:—”Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.” You sow an act, you reap a habit (acts repeated constitute habits); you sow a habit, you reap a character; you sow a character, you reap a destiny. Let them, he said, cultivate habits of industry, application, and order, and they might rely upon it, with God’s blessing, they would succeed in life. (Applause.)
Let’s put that partial verse in context:

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Galatians 6:7-8 KJV)

I am sent back to Proverbs – and it most likely wasn’t new then:

He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail. (Proverbs 22:8 KJV)

I also think Paul’s fruit discussion applies here – the seeds are sown as actions and repeated actions show a person’s character.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 KJV)

Most people skip over the preceding three verses, especially the last part:

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21 KJV)

Please don’t try to tell me that you know someone who never hated, or someone who never felt envy. Yes, you can tell me you know someone who never practiced witchcraft – well, except for  the Ouija board and horoscopes. How about wrath? Strife? Does it seem fair that those are included with drunkenness, sedition and murder? Or the catch-all “such like”?

Sorry, I didn’t make up the list – it was written by a man whose life was changed in one moment on the road to Damascus. He certainly qualified for hatred, wrath, strife and even connected with murder. A complete turnaround and he taught the fruits of the Spirit over land and sea between two continents and eventually died for those teachings. So have many others.

Still others have perverted those teachings, using idolatry, hatred, wrath, strife, heresies and murders in Christ’s name, to their shame and lack of inheritance. I believe we will all stand before our King and some will hear:

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:21-23 KJV)

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