Wednesday, November 03, 2010

::What Spills Out::

"There you are, you see. . . when you are jolted, what spills out of you is whatever is filling you."
~::After You Believe: Why Character Matters::~

This impacted me.
I looked up from the book. This quote came from a pastor who had intentionally sent one of his students into the next room with a few very full mugs of coffee. He nudged the student and watched the liquid slop over the sides. ". . . it's what spills out of you when you are jolted."

I took a moment to visualize myself being "jolted" by the cracks in the pavement of my life. And rather then seeing a substance spilling over the cup of my character, I could hear a noise: a low, impatient growl. This noise comes out of me, far too often, when small annoyances jolt me off my stride-- by a newly acquired mirror splintering into a million pieces on the basement floor, or too many stubborn questions, or a recipe failing me just as it needs to be served.

The Greek word for character, as used in Romans 5:4, is dokime, which actually means "tested for worth." This involves having experience, or having come through trial and proved oneself. This word not strongly denote a positive or negative connotation. Character, is seems, is simply the canvas of our hearts-- the empty cup that is waiting to be filled.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.
The root of this word is, oddly, in the positive: dokimos, which means "being found worthy or pleasing." Normally I would expect the root of a word to be neutral, and its derivatives to take on positive and negative meaning. . . We see this word in James 1:12:
12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
Here is a very interesting historical tidbit:
"In the ancient world there was no banking system as we know it today, and no paper money. All money was made from metal, heated until liquid, poured into moulds and allowed to cool. When the coins were cooled, it was necessary to smooth off the uneven edges. The coins were comparatively soft, and of course many people shaved them closely. In one century, more than eighty laws were passed in Athens to stop the practice of whittling down the coins then in circulation. But some money-changers were men of integrity, who would accept no counterfeit money; they were men of honour who put only genuine, full-weight money into circulation. Such men were called dokimos, and this word is used here for the Christian as he is to be seen by the world."
~Donald Grey Barnhouse, Romans: God's Glory~

Integrity. A word I do not associate with myself, or many women I know. We are so full of hormones that we are often like rag dolls being tossed about on the waves of our emotion. We say what we think. We do what feels right. We act spontaneously. How often have I heard myself, or others, say; "I hate that feeling of being completely out of control!"
But are we?

I will be unpacking this topic a lot over the next year. It is what I am teaching my Sunday School class. Already, I am thrilled by the revelation of many Truths I am experiencing as I study.
Here is a last quote to mull over:
"The test will be, whether your character is so formed that when the challenge comes you can meet it with a second-nature Christian virtue, or whether you will flail around, panic, and wonder what on earth you should be doing--and quite possibly fail to act in the way you should have done. . . But sudden moral challenges are not, in themselves, the staple diet of Christian living, anymore than flock of geese is to an airline pilot. They are the emergencies, when the character, quietly formed over many years rings true, comes into its own."
::"After You Believe" p.32::