Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Galvanizing Character

PREFACE: You know I relish words; and that I'm an avid fan of Noah Webster and his brother Merriam. So it will come as no great revelation that, on occasion, I'm taken captive by a word and it's deeper meaning. It rarely occurs apart from my study of scripture ... though at times it works in reverse.

A word can send my scurrying for it's scriptural underpinnings; and it is so with this piece.

Pre-dawn simply has to be my favorite time of day. I could speak on-and-on of it's richness and solitude, but I'll save that for another day. Suffice it to say that it was at such a pre-dawn place that the subject of character fell into my thoughts.

It came unbidden, as if to rudely interrupt my selection of musings that day. Within a matter of moments it occupied my focus, and sent me in a direction I had not planned to navigate.

Before long, another word joined my word-forensics: galvanize. More on that later.

Merriam tells us a lot about character. It has varied forms and uses, but it's character's relationship to reputation and moral excellence that stirs me.

The scriptures tell us that character is anything BUT a stand alone condition. It is the sum of many parts - many virtues (or lack thereof); the stuff of which makes the having of integrity possible. For instance:, it is.
  • what is derived from perseverance, and it fosters hope (Romans 4:3)
  • what fosters hope (Romans 4:4)
  • embellished or corrupted by one's friends (1 Corinthians 15:33-34)
  • how we escape the corruption of the world (2 Peter 1:3-9)
Character is what you are in the dark.
D.L. Moody

Such a powerful agent, I simply had to know more about this stuff. Moreover, what does galvanize have to do with it? (
The definition means that to galvanize something is to stimulate or excite as if by electric shock; to immerse in molten zinc to produce a coating of zinc- iron alloy.)

Real character is tough stuff! It's facsimile ... not so much.

Nearly all men can stand adversity,
but if you want to test a man's character,
give him power.
Abraham Lincoln

Eventually my pursuit lead me to an inexhaustive list of godly character traits.

Mind you: ungodly people can demonstrate some of these too; and godly people might be in short supply of them. But these are at least some of the sum that makes up the whole. .

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, forgiveness, humility, fairness, courage, friendship, truthfulness, dependability, gratefulness, responsible, contented, generous, pure, confident, encouraging, available, attentive, wise, compassionate, enthusiastic, diligent, thoughtful, efficient, discrete, optimistic, obedience, reverent, uncontentious, committed, diligent, discerning, fearless, flexible, purposeful, secure, supportive, tactful, tolerant ...

Think of the orange. It has many parts, many uses. From segments to seeds, it is galvanized by the rind which, in turn, holds the character of the orange in place. How well that rind works determines how desirable will be the uses of it's contents.

So what's the mechanism by which godly character is galvanized?

Love ... pure & simple.

God's love for us, in us, and through us. Not our natural affections, but His love!

All other mechanisms - be them demonstrated by the godly or the ungodly - are merely born of habit, or self-interest, or pride - of the natural affinities of mere mortals. Not all bad, but certainly not of the galvanized sort!

Character is, then, the fiber of our moral center, and it stretches throughout our being.

Absent character and it's components, and you absent love.

He must become greater; I must become less.
John 3:30

Love does no harm to its neighbor.
Therefore love is
the fulfillment of the law.

Romans 13:10

Love never fails. ... now these three remain:
faith, hope and love.

But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:8, 13

So there you have it. One word lead to two; and two words lead to all these many. I love it when that happens!


manthano said...

Love that thought of a "galvanized"
character. Just may it be a God
approved one. Unfortunately, that
does not come easy. But galvanizing
does not either.


Shirl said...

Me too! And I love the deeper study of word meanings when it comes to applying them to matters of faith. In fact, I'm sitting here now following a trail of them with the hope that more words will come from the journey. Thanks for sharing this.

Terri Tiffany said...

I love how you search out a work and where it ultimately leads you:)
Meant to tell you to othat I like your font-much easier on these old eyes:)

Denise said...

Thanks for sharing another great post.

sonja said...

"Real character is tough stuff! It's facsimile ... not so much.:...
how true that is. So many good things here Kathleen.

I also love Moody's quote:
"Character is what you are in the dark"...

I think you're on your way to writing a seriously good book!

Do it!

Nel said...

I always enjoy your posts. They intrigue me and always give me something to think about.

I too love the quote by Moody.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and what is on your heart!
until next time...nel

Sheryl said...

wow, i love it when it happens and you share it with us! what a great post. i see where i am lacking and that should send me running to God.

love you, my friend!

Sheryl said...

had to come back and tell you this..

my word verification was "repen". i know that i need to repent and it's like i am so close but not quite. i am as far as "repen" which is not what HE asks.

Karen Lange said...

Always enjoy my stop here:) Love Moody's quote. Thanks so much for taking the time to share.

Nancy said...

One thing leading to another. I love that, especially when I'm studying the Bible and one strand of thought goes here and a note takes me there and I need three or four bookmarks and then I end of having someting unique and powerful, like your post. Thanks

LisaShaw said...

Hey Kathleen,

Thank you so much for always pouring out what you've absorbed. Your hunger to learn and then to teach us is part of what I love about you...the rest is that you love JESUS!!! :)

christy rose said...

I love it when that happens too! It is so fun!

lisasmith said...

i think our minds are sisters =) i know our hearts are.

thanks for all the quotes...i love words, love, love, love scripture but have only a few quotes in my reserve. i know i can learn here. thanks.

Diana said...

Enjoyed the "words." Thank you for sharing such a great post.

Runner Mom said...

Wow! What awesome words you shared today! Love those scriptures and the quotes. I'll keep "chewing" on this post.

~*Michelle*~ said...

"Character is what you are in the dark."
D.L. Moody

LOVE that!

I am digging deep in Proverbs this month and there is so much wisdom about character and choosing your actions based on it. This post hit me right where it needed to.

Thank you!

Rita said...

Character is what you are in the dark and when no one is watching! Oh that the Lord would give us a Godly character.

Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Oh Kathleen sweetie...
You sure have left me with a "Happy Heart" tonight. I love this post.

I am what I am in the dark. Lordy, that is a praying lunatic. Oh my goodness. Sometimes I go in so many directions I am not sure if God gets the blessing mixed up himself. I have such a list of blessings and prayers in my head. I am going to have to start writing them down. One name leads to another, and another. So many people need prayers, and you know God expects us to help each other out. I love I Corinthians 13:8. It is my favorite. I LOVE it.

Thank you again for your wisdom that you have allowed God to bestow upon your heart, and for your giving heart to share with our open minds. You are such a special gift, and the talent that he has given you, you use it wisely.

I am so blessed Kathleen, so blessed. Thank you. Country hugs and so much LOVE...Sherry

prashant said...

I love it when that happens too! It is so fun!

Work from home

Tammy@If Meadows Speak... said...

Since I started a study of Genesis and more specifically, the servant Abraham sent to find Isaac a wife, I'm struck by his intergerity and character. He prayed, when no one would've saw, or known about 'til he told them how God answered it. So much can be learned of this humble and faithful servant who had the character to do the right thing, even if it was just in his heart. I want to be as faithful and true, with character and HIS love, while my breath still moves in this body. Thanks Kathleen!

Rose said...

Studying words is similar to "Pandora's box"...the more you dig, the more you find. It's almost and endless loop. I love the fact that you enjoy it so much. I thought I was strange because hearing a word that I don't know sends me scurrying for the dictionary and so on. Love this post. Keep being a Wordsmith." You do it well. Hugs,