Saturday, July 31, 2010

What Spills Out

"..... the qualities of character which Jesus and his first followers insist on as the vital signs of healthy Christian life don't come automatically. You have to develop them. You have to work at them. You have to think about it, to make conscious choices to allow the Holy Spirit to form your character in ways that, to begin with, seem awkward and "unnatural." Only in that way can you become the sort of "character" who will react instantly to sudden challenges with wisdom and good judgment.

You can tell when this has happened - and when it hasn't. A familiar story makes the point. A famous preacher had a friend who was well known for his short temper. One day, at a party, he asked this friend to help him serve drinks. The preacher himself poured the drinks, deliberately filling several of the glasses a bit too full. He then passed the tray to his friend. As they walked into the room to distribute the drinks, he accidentally-on-purpose bumped into his friend, causing the tray to jiggle and some of the drinks to slosh over the brim and spill. "There you are, you see," said the preacher. "When you're jolted, what spills out is whatever is filling you." When you're suddenly put to the test and don't have time to think about how you're coming across, your true nature will come out That's why character needs to go all the way through: whatever fills you will spill out. And it's up to you to do something about it."

After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters by N.T. Wright, page 28

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