Choose to act — rather than delay.
Choose to build — rather than destroy.
Choose to persevere — rather than quit.
A SKYSCRAPER MUST BE ABLE TO BEND OR FLEX SLIGHTLY WITH THE WIND, BUT IT CAN’T DO THAT IF IT’S NOT ESTABLISHED ON A SOLID FOUNDATION. In a similar way, we must be established as human beings. To “establish” a thing means to make it “stable.” So to enjoy the benefits of establishment, we must be firm and secure. Consider three areas where stability is especially important.
Principles. Our principles are our beliefs about what is real, and about what kind of conduct people ought to engage in. These convictions determine every other thing about us, so it should go without saying that we need to be careful. If we haven’t established what our convictions are, then we’re at the mercy of every wind that blows.
Character. It takes a while for us to finally figure out what kind of character we really want to have as mature adults, but eventually, we need to have an established character. That doesn’t mean we can’t grow or change, but it does mean that we know who we are and that the character that we’ve chosen is stable, rather than wishy-washy.
Conduct. Based on the establishment of our principles and our character, we then need to erect a consistent pattern of behavior. People around us need to be able to count on some predictability in our manner of living. Our lifestyle needs to be one that is solidly built.
All three of the above are important, but of the three, our principles are more basic than our character, and our character is more basic than our conduct. In other words, our character is an outgrowth of our principles, and our conduct is an outgrowth of our character. Too often, we try to reverse these: we try to establish our conduct without having established our character, and we try to establish our character without having established our principles. But that procedure never works, at least in the long run. Life’s great challenge, then, is first to find out what the valid, true-north principles are. When we discover these and establish ourselves upon them, both our character and our conduct will stand firm. And out of them, good things will grow.
“Character is the evidence that we are built on the right foundation” (Oswald Chambers).