Echoes From the Campfire

A change in a man is never so evident to himself, but of course, I had experienced new things…  Even as a man shapes a timber for a house or a bridge, he is also shaping himself.  He has in himself a material that can be shaped to anything he wishes it to be.  The trouble is the shaping never ceases, and sometimes it has gone far along one line before a man realizes it.”
              –Louis L’Amour  (Bendigo Shafter)

    “And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope.”
              –Romans 5:3-4 (HCSB)
I have heard it said that character is what you do when no one else is around.  This is only partially true, for character is who you are all the time.  A person with good character can make a bad mistake–that should not define who they are.  Also true is that people with bad character may at times do good things.  Character is not based on a one time action, nor is it based on only part of you.
    Jack Hyles has said that, “habits make character.”  If through one’s life their form good habits then they will have good character, and thus the opposite is true as well.  Something to ponder is the definition of character; it means “to engrave.”  In that regard habits will form the type of character a person becomes.  Keep practicing a habit and it will “engrave” itself on your life and actually become part of you.  Practice lying and it will “engrave” itself and you will be known as a liar.  The more something is practices the deeper it becomes engraved in your life; the more it becomes “you.”
    Character then is formed and continues to be formed throughout one’s life.  Many things are part of us that we do not even think about.  Habits are formed and we can do them without thinking about how to do it.  They become automatic in a person’s life with no thought behind the actions.  “Tasks are not performed by present effort but by past preparation.” (Hyles)  I remember inspections in my time in the military.  The sergeant would walk slowly, stopping at an individual looking them down and up then back down.  If the shoes would not polished to a spit-shine, well, the sergeant knew that the “character” of the man denoted sloppiness, lack of discipline and attentiveness to detail.
    I believe there is more to character than just the formation of habits, but there is much truth in that statement.  Hyles goes on to say, “The more we live by doing right automatically and the more our good habits save us the making of excessive choices, the better we will be and the more we will do.  Precarious is the life of a person whose daily actions have not become habitual and who must exercise his will every time he does something.  He will become tired in his work, more laborious in his deliberations, and less effective in all he does.”
    Hmmm, perhaps the develop of habits, good habits, thus good character is part of worshiping with the will.  Jesus said if you love Me, keep My commandments (John 14:15).  I love God with all of my will is then the development of good habits, the development of  good character.  We should not have to think, “should I do this?”  No, it should come automatically, it should be engraved in us to do the will of the Father.