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Got Character? April 28, 2010

Posted by theronwatson in Uncategorized.
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Phil 4:4-13
Like many other New Testament writings, Philippians is actually a letter. It was written to a particular people with a specific message. It follows a pattern commonly referred to as the Ancient Letter Format. This format regularly follows the order; ‘writer,’ in this case Paul; ‘recipients,’ here the Philippians; ‘greeting,’ Paul liked, “grace and peace to you through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” After that is commonly a ‘prayer,’ “I thank God for you when . . .” Then the ‘body’ of the letter. It all concludes with a ‘closing’ which would often have future plans, other greetings and any final words from the writer.
Here in chapter four, Paul is coming to the close of his letter. As he was running short of parchment, one might get the sense that he is trying to cram all he can into this last bit of space. It’s as if he is saying, “let me leave you with this.” These would be the final words the people would receive from him in this letter. Very often it is the last things people say that are the most important. In conferences and instruction seminars, I have heard people say things like, “if you get nothing else from this lecture, make sure you understand this…” The closing of Paul’s letters were no different.
Within this text are some of my most favorite verses. These verses speak of character traits that not found too often anymore. I believe one of the key elements that is missing in society today is character. People have become complacent. People have become lazy. We make our comparisons with one another and as long as we feel like we are at least doing better than so and so then we are okay with ourselves. Rubbish.
In days gone by, it was enough for two people to agree and seal their dealings with a handshake their word that this whatever would take place. Now, people are quick to look for loopholes and technicalities in order to escape their responsibilities. Irresponsibility is rampant. Laziness abounds. Character is all but lost. I want to be a person of character. It is not the easy thing, but I believe it is the right thing.
People only want to do enough to get by. Added to that, there is little to no thought for anyone else. I call it the “I got mines” mentality. People are more interested in getting over. They want a handout and refuse a helping hand. Whatever happened to ‘teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime?’ Well, no one wants to take the time to learn and no one wants to put in the effort to teach. Where does that leave us? Whatever happened to ‘if you don’t work you don’t eat?’ We have traded character for comfort. We have exchanged wealth for money. We leave leadership behind and settle for clout. Where is service? Where is honor? Where is discipline? Where is integrity? People have adopted the pirate mentality, “take all you can and give nothing back.” Paul said he learned to be content with nothing. He said to think on these things; character. Where has character gone?
I want to be a person of character. All the people we look to for advice and inspiration are people of character. Who will take their place when they are gone? The honor code I attempt to live is quite simple. I will share it with you.
(H) honor – doing what is right because it is right.
(I) integrity – doing what you say you will do even if no one is looking.
(S) service/sacrifice – working for the benefit of everyone else first.
When we do what is right for the sake of right, even if no one is looking, for the benefit of everyone else; if we can truly do that, then we are H-I-S.
Rejoice in the Lord.

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