Mark Caserta: Character exposed by fruit of the individual

20 Feb

Feb. 19, 2014 @ 11:23 PM

The Herald-Dispatch / 2014

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said this of a man’s character:

“Nature magically suits a man to his fortunes, by making them the fruit of his character.”

Character is indeed a trait exposed by the fruit one bears in life, its value weighed by the sustenance it offers others. Character can’t be bought or even influenced. It must be built.

The Apostle Paul knew something of character.

In Paul’s letter to the Colossian church, he provides clear perspective on how our life’s works and deeds help build character.

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Understand these words of faith and thanksgiving were written during Paul’s imprisonment in Rome and unequivocally define a man’s success in life through the eyes of God.

Once known as Saul of Tarsus, Paul was previously a Pharisee in Jerusalem after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Fearing the Christian movement, he swore to wipe out the Christian church and those who would follow the teachings of “The Way.”

After obtaining letters from the high priest authorizing him to arrest any followers of Jesus in the city of Damascus, Saul set out to fulfill his vow.
But on the road to Damascus, Saul and his companions were struck down by a blinding light, brighter than the noonday sun. Saul heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

When Saul asked who was speaking to him, the voice replied, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

Meanwhile, Jesus appeared in a vision to a disciple in Damascus named Ananias and told him to go to Saul. Ananias was afraid because he knew Saul’s reputation as a merciless persecutor of the church yet he followed the Lord’s command and found Saul praying for help. Ananias laid his hands on Saul, telling him Jesus had sent him to restore his sight and that Saul might be filled with the Holy Spirit.

The Bible says something like “scales” fell from Saul’s eyes and he could see again. He arose and was baptized in the Christian faith. After his conversion, Saul took on the name Paul, meaning small or humble.

The present day attack by progressives on the Christian faith and Jesus’ teachings is different than Saul’s attack on the early church only in methodology.

Liberals seek to destroy the church through a progressive desensitization of the world to the ilk of immorality and lawlessness. They predictably attack that which they fear the most. And as Saul of Tarsus, progressives fear the church and the Christian faith.

And just as Saul, liberals propagating this agenda lack Godly character. The fruit they bear in life is bitter and putrescent and offers little or no sustenance to those around them.

May the Church unite in Godly character, abundant with fruit.

And may the scales fall from the eyes of modern-day Sauls.

Mark Caserta is a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

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