January 24, 2015

Nature and Character

God’s purpose for Man is to reflect The Devine nature and character so completely that Humanity, in its attitudes and actions, is virtually indistinguishable in its way of living from the mode of being of their Creator.

God’s nature is high. He is the personification of all of the virtues and ideals we hold as most noble. He is the author and embodiment of wisdom, love, justice, grace, patience, forgiveness and all of the other attributes and ethics we esteem as supremely good. God is Holy – that is – He makes the standards of good and evil and is the standard by which the nature of all things are measured.

God’s will for Man is that we reflect and uphold in our nature the same standard of wisdom, love, justice, grace etc. that is present in our Father.

Nature is the intrinsic presence in Man of God’s qualities imparted to us through divine action.

Character is our willingness to manifest the divine nature in out being.

God is of such high character that He never fails to act in harmony with His nature. He never fails to love when love is needed. He never fails to give grace when grace is required and, in fact, gives grace before it is even sought by His sons and daughters. He is always faithful and always acts in the highest and noblest way when action is required. God is the personification of noble character.

While it could be argued that the Divine Nature is present in every Man, the Divine Character certainly is not. God has graced us with His Nature, freedom and the ability to make moral distinctions. It is up to us to become men and women of character, that is, children of God willing to act in harmony with our nature.

All too often we compromise the Divine Nature in us and sell out to the needs of the moment. We suppress our higher self and act like animals in selfish disregard for others. Perhaps the most famous incidence of this phenomena is the willingness of Pontius Pilate to condemn Jesus to death even though he knows he is innocent. He compromised what was noble (justice) for a political expediency and he knew he was doing it in real time. Pontius Pilate lacked character. He failed to act in harmony with what he knew to be right. We see ourselves doing these kinds of compromises in our own life and we see it in life all around us. To be a man or woman of character means that we have to be willing to defend the integrity of the high nature God has imparted to us regardless of the cost. This requires that we employ the noble character attributes of determination and courage. Manifesting such character is an act of the will. It is a decision. Defending your moral integrity may require loss. In order to be willing to sustain the financial, social, and personal losses that may result in defending ones integrity you have to esteem the Divine Nature resident in you as more valuable and desirable than the material possessions you may sacrifice or even your health or life itself. Few place such value on the Divine Nature. Character, therefore, is a scarce commodity. One in which this kind of character was present was Jesus. It took character to go willingly to the cross. Yes, Jesus was Divine, and you could suggest He had an edge, but he was also human. Think of the character of the martyrs who willingly took (and still take) a stand for God.

Is it possible for you and me to be people of character? Yes. It will require an act of the will on our part. It will not happen by accident, but neither will it happen solely in our own strength. God is of such a nature and of such character that He will honor our decision to willingly manifest his image in our own being by uniting with us by means of His Spirit presence, thus enabling us to become more in our person and in our being and in our integrity and in our character than we ever thought we could become.

I pray that you will make a decision to become a person of character.

 

M.J.O.