Tuesday, October 7, 2014

No Left Turn

Character is something you either have or are. Some people try to make something for themselves. Others try to make something for themselves. Tyron Edwards said, "Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny." The Bible asserts in Proverbs 22:1, "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches."

Character is the real foundation of all worthwhile success. A good question to ask yourself is, "What kind of world would this be if everybody were just like me?" You are simply a book telling the world about its author. John Morely remarked, "No man can climb out beyond the limitations of his own character."

Never be ashamed of doing right. Marcus Aurelius exhorted, "Never esteem as of advantage to thee that which shall make thee break thy word or lose thy self-respect." W. J. Dawson counseled, "You need not choose evil; but only to fail to choose good, and you drift fast enough towards evil. You do not need to say, 'I will be bad.' You only have to say, 'I will not choose God's choice.' and the choice of evil is already settled. There is no such thing as necessary evil. Phillip Brooks said, "A man who lives right and is right has more power in his silence than another has by his words."

Many a man's reputation would not recognize his character if they met in the dark. To change your character, you must begin at the control center - the heart. Spiritual bankruptcy is inevitable when a man is no longer able to keep the interest paid on his moral obligations.

Henry Ward Beecher said, "No man can tell whether he is rich or poor by turning to his ledger. It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is, not according to what he has." Live so that your friends can defend you, but never have to do so. Consider what Woodrow Wilson said: "If you think about what you ought to do for people, your character will take care of itself." Excellence in character is shown by doing unwitnessed what we would be doing with the whole world watching.

Let me pose this question for you: Would the boy you were proud of the man you are? You're called to grow like a tree, not like a mushroom. It's hard to climb high when your character is low. The world's shortest sermon is preached by the traffic sign: Keep Right.

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(From John L. Mason's "An Enemy Called Average" I encourage you to buy his book.)

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