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Character IV

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…”– St. Paul the Apostle

Last weekend was a holiday here, hence not posting. I trust this weekend went well? In this part of our world, we are counting down to the end of summer, which I personally do not look forward to.

For sometime now, we have been looking at character. We looked at what it is and how it was formed in the first part. The second and third parts have dealt with the entire make up of character culled from Paul’s letter to the Galatian church which is the quote above.

There are nine virtues which make up character in a biblical context. The first three dealt with our attitude, the second trio focused on social relationships. Today’s triad focuses more on principles guiding a person’s conduct. Let us wrap up with the remaining three:

7. Faithfulness– the meaning of faithfulness is fidelity. Another word used is loyalty. Loyalty shows in three areas: how committed you are to your word, to your work and how you relate with authority figures. Most people who are insubordinate are unfaithful. Unfaithful people are very disloyal people. In my humble opinion, I value faithful people than skilled people if I am to choose between the two. Skill is scientific- it can be taught; faithfulness on the other hand, is a character trait- it is a matter of having it or not. Of course, people can be taught to be faithful with time, but it is an uphill task than teaching skill. It is difficult but not impossible.

8. Gentleness– sometimes our definition of being gentle is incomplete but not incorrect. Mostly, it has to do with appearances pertaining to the men: good grooming habits, a sense of fashion, and having good manners and etiquette. That is one half of the definition which is very laudable and needed in society to stand out sometimes. The other half of gentleness shows in how composed you are when you are faced with pressure or meted out with an unexpected circumstance. The person who can keep his or her cool in times of unpleasantness is considered gentle. So in relation to the men, have a high fashion sense, wear a nice cologne & dress the outward, but don’t forget the inward as well. Having a nasty attitude and temperament in a designer suit with expensive shoes is a misnomer.

9. Self control– let me use one word for this: restraint. It shows in our speech: how we talk, how we answer to questions and how graceful we are in our conversations. It also shows in how we relate with people of the opposite sex for that matter, or people in general. Can we relate in decorum and decency without the slightest smell of a scandal? Will we take the advantage or give them the advantage? With that quality, you don’t easily give in to a fight or quarrel. You don’t bite the bait! It takes a strong person to be self controlled. Honestly, I pray to God a lot for this quality, because I cannot think of any man made tactics and strategies that will enhance this attribute in my life better than prayer.

I will like to end on this note that none is perfect. We are all a “work-in-progress”. We will all get to our destination if we don’t quit and put in the work required. This should rather encourage you to be your best you. One of the ways to be that is to allow these fruits to show forth in your life.

Believe that you can do it! Will like to read your thoughts on this one. Your feedback means a lot to me. Please don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to this blog.

Till I come your way again…

Peace & Love

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Character III

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” St. Paul the Apostle

I trust you had a great weekend? Last week, we looked at character in the nutshell using Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatian church as our template. We dealt with the first three in love, joy and peace which speaks of our attitude.

The second triad we will look at deals with social relationships. In the last year and half, I have personally been studying on emotional intelligence. It is a skill I really want to be great and adept at. Looking at these three shades and applying it to our lives personally can help at that.

4. Long-suffering- long-suffering in a biblical context means long tempered. It speaks of the ability to patiently forbear without cracking up in relation to an unpleasant circumstance meted out to you. It also talks in regards to dealing with difficult people. My mother comes to mind as I write. She embodies this quality. Long-suffering means I will weigh the consequences of my actions and speech when I am under pressure. This trait helps you respond rather than react. A response is premeditated, calculated and well thought out, whereas a reaction is impulsive and off the handle based on your current feeling at that particular moment. One practical way that will enhance this trait is learning to take your time, and make it a habit not to follow your emotion but your head in those times.

5. Kindness- this has more to do with your disposition or nature. The Greek meaning of this word conveys having a benign manner. Benign can be used adjectively which means kind, warm-hearted, good-natured, warm, friendly and the like. Kindness here is also defined as moral goodness. We start relationships on a kind note and sustain the relationships on that. Most kind people have very long-standing relationships. In this day and age of social media, most relationships are fickle like a fake dollar bill. The ingredient of kindness is a missing trait and a rarity hence the disintegration of all relationships from personal to corporate ones, and even to marital ones. Kindness means I think good of and about you, that is, I will give you the benefit of the doubt before jumping into conclusions. One type of strong people I know are kind people. They don’t easily give in to gossip or contribute to that. The world will be a better place when kindness comes back to the fray.

6. Goodness- you can’t be good without having a kind nature. They work hand in hand. The fruit of kindness shows in your goodness. How do I define goodness then? Kindness in action! I have heard people say, “I wanna be good!”. The better way should be, you want to be kind. It is then out of kindness, that goodness will emanate from. Goodness is second nature to kindness, and focuses more on our acts and actions.

I will suggest read books on emotional intelligence and take tests which are available on the internet. Most are free. They will help gauge where you are in relation to these three and start to work your way up. They have many practical ways that can enhance these traits. As a Christian, I also believe prayer can help and goes a long way in the development of these aforementioned.

Will like to read your comments on this one. Your feedback means a lot to me. Please don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to this blog.

Till I come your way again…

Peace & Love

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Character II


“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…”- St. Paul the Apostle

We looked at character last week; saw how it is formed, and then some facts on that. Today and in the weeks ahead, we want to turn our attention on what constitutes a good character. I am going to use Paul’s letter he wrote to the Galatians in the Bible as my template.  

In the Christian circles, one of the common terms is fruit of the spirit. What is that? It is when one becomes a Christian and relies on the Holy Spirit, a divine helper, to shape his conduct into a Christlike one. As Christians, our role model is Jesus Christ, who was the embodiment of these virtues. The first three we will look at concerns our attitude.

1. Love– in the Greek culture when this letter was penned, love had three different connotations: romantic love, shared goodwill (friendship) and familial love (as pertaining to parents and children especially). Paul didn’t have any of these in mind, but talked about a superior kind of love called agape in the Greek which means universal love and loving like God. Out of love, will all the attributes listed alongside flow. Each one of the attributes we will look at has its base in love. This kind of love is unconditional and has no hidden motives or strings attached. Let me end with this quote by Paul on love which explains it better.

“Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:4-8‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

2. Joy- it has to do with having a disposition of a calm delight and cheerfulness. It is deeper than happiness which depends on the happenings around you. Joyful people don’t necessarily need external happenings or indicators to be merry. It is from within and radiates outwardly. A joyful person rarely gets moody. How do you know you are joyful? When you can easily let go of grudges and forgive easily. Forgiveness is a result of inner peace and calmness.

3. Peace- anybody who has an attitude of joy has peace, they are interwoven. So, what is peace? It is a state of inner tranquility. It is more than being a peacemaker. You can be a peacemaker, but if you don’t have inner tranquil, you are truly not at peace. Peace is a rare commodity today; people are searching and looking at the wrong avenues for that. From my personal experience, one of the best ways to experience peace is through prayer

“Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks. And God’s peace, which is so great we cannot understand it, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭NCV‬‬

I hope this scripture will encourage you to pray. You may ask, “how do I pray?” It is just like talking to a friend. There is no superstition about that. God hears and answers prayers! Peaceful people are confident and hopeful. You lack peace if you fret a lot and always pessimistic. How do you handle interviews? How do you deal with unexpected emergency situations? How do you handle pressure? Does a failed project get the best of you and make you fold? I pray peace upon anyone reading.

As we step into this new week, let us challenge ourselves to developing a good attitude. Our attitude will determine our altitude indeed. Don’t beat yourself up and throw your hands in despair if these are lacking. No one is perfect including this writer. We are all “work-in-progress”. Be rather encouraged and go all out!

Will love to read your thoughts and comments on this one. Your feedback is valuable to me and please don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to this blog

Till I come your way again…

Peace & Love

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Character


Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny”- Lao Tzu

Based on this quote, character is the summation of who you are. It starts from your thought life to the formation of your habits which in turn shapes who you are. Will love to read your definition of character when you comment. Character is very essential, because it reveals your destiny. Destiny is not a mystery- if you want to know yours or another’s, look at the character, that is key.

Today, let us look at some truths on character that could give us a macro view on this all important subject:

1. Character is not the same as reputation 

Character is not your reputation. Reputation is what other people think you are, but character is what you really are. Character is who you are when nobody is looking. It is who you are when you are not on stage. I have heard couples bemoan the fact when the marriage turns sour that, “I thought he or she had character”. I normally respond to that in my thoughts, “he or she is a character but never had one: huge difference”. In most replationships, especially at the beginning, reputation will play off till you subject that relationship to time to see the cracks in the person’s reputation and that is when the real him or her shows up- character. I am not an expert on relationships, but one advice to give is take your time when forming one. Let the relationship be tested and don’t swoon too much into “Lala-Land”. It is one thing to be praised in public that you are a man of honesty and integrity, it is another when you are by yourself with no press, and tempted to “cook the books”. D.L. Moody said it best, “character is who you are in the dark”.

2. Character is also determined by your network.

Heard this phrase as a child, “show me your friend and I will show you your character”. Every human has five strong influences that will shape your upbringing on this earth, and one of them is company. Traits and habits can be learnt and passed on. Maybe, it is time to audit your relationships this week and trace why some habits, whether positive or negative are reoccurring in your life presently. A series of habits is the last stage in forming your character according to Tzu. When I look at my life personally, one good trait I developed was writing notes. I didn’t use to write notes and saw no need for that, until one day, I sat by a friend in Sunday School called Solomon who was always writing. As our friendship developed, I saw the benefits of writing in him. Perhaps without him and learning that from him, I would not be here today penning a blog. I met this guy in my pre-teens, though life has taken us in different directions, one of the many positives I picked from him is documenting and I am grateful for that. We thought our parents were the fun police when they told us not to hang around or play with certain people. In hindsight, what they were really telling us is the people you play with today could end up forming your character which will predict your destiny. Your network indeed determines your net worth.

3. Character can be reshaped

There is nothing as a permanent character. To me, I see it very temporary. You can be good today, bad tomorrow; optimistic today, pessimistic tomorrow; grateful today, ungrateful tomorrow. Why do I say that? Because the first step to forming a character, whether positive or negative, has to do with your thought life- what words are you reading, what conversations do you have and what images are you watching. Basically, your information base is where your thoughts are formed. When one undergoes a criminal investigation, one of the things the detectives do is to find out his knowledge base, hence seize his laptop, go through his library, screen his phone conversations and check his financial statements (which speaks of what he is passionate about) among many more. Your knowledge base tells a lot about you- by this assessment they build your profile to tell your character and that is a clue to whether you are a suspect in their case or not. All that I am saying is, if your thought life changes, it will go a long way in determining your character. 

Let me end with this quote again. Perhaps, today will be a good time to muse on what changes we all need to make when it comes to character:

“Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny”- Lao Tzu

Will like to read your comments because your feedback means a lot to me. Please don’t also forget to like, share or subscribe to this blog.

Till I come your way again…

Peace & Love 

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Integrity

I thought I understood this word till I came across this word, Structural Integrity Test which has to do with testing an existing stricture’s ability to carry the assigned load limit. In a sense, the existing structure is being tested for its wholeness.

It is so funny how little things can flick the light bulb in our heads. From that day, I understood why integrity is wholeness. The root word for integrity is from the Latin adjective, integer. In Maths, an integer is divisible by 2 if its last digit is 0, 2, 4, 6 or 8. It is considered a whole number

Integrity is when the thoughts of our minds, the desires of our hearts and our actions are integrated. That is a state of wholeness. So for instance, when I think of making a call, I don’t just desire or want to do it, but will also follow through with my action by calling. In this part of the world I live in, the elections will be next year, and the buzz word we will hear from every politician is, “I am a man or woman of integrity”

So, the question is how I do become a man or woman of integrity? Let me share this quote:

“Integrity is not a given factor in everyone’s life. It is a result of self discipline, inner trust and a decision to be relentlessly honest in all situations in our lives”

According to John Maxwell, self discipline, inner trust and most importantly, a decision to be honest can make us people of integrity

Mediate on how these three qualities can be enhanced in your personal life. The development of these three will lead us down the route to integrity

May we indeed be people of wholeness. I wish you a happy new month

I will like to read your thoughts on this. Your feedback is deeply appreciated. Please don’t forget to like, share or subscribe to this blog

Till we meet again…

Peace & Love

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Introspection 

Introspection simply means to look into or examine yourself (thanks, dictionary😊). Sometimes, it has to do with examining your feelings or your mental state.

In fact, this word came to me (around last month) when I was listening to a speaker giving a talk on The Power of Becoming. He just mentioned the word at random, and I thought to myself, “that will be an interesting topic to write on”. So in fairness, this was not planned way ahead of time to write on.

On Saturday, I had a late night phone call from someone who needed help finding a place to stay after been evicted. As I was talking on the phone, I had flashbacks of helping people in the same predicament and the like, then later, they will take the advantage and be ungrateful. I was feeling very used like it had happened in the past and felt like my fingers were about to be burned again.

Honestly, looking back in hindsight, the response to this guy’s plea was cold. When we hanged up, I was very quiet and then my mind drifted away in the company of my wife. She later asked whether it was the best response, and if we could do something to help even if we are taken for granted again or hurt (she read my thoughts).

Let me state this disclaimer: I am not an advocate of been taken advantage of, or been treated like a doormat. That is tantamount to emotional abuse. Sometimes, firm stances are good, even if it makes you look callous. The truth is, you are not but may seem like that in the heat of the moment. Howbeit, learn to decipher between a genuine need and one that wants to make a buck out of you. The problem is when we have allowed so many people to make a buck out of us, when the ones with genuine needs show up, we recoil and retreat to our nest. In my instance, a past bad experience was clouding my judgment in being Christlike, which was wrong on my part.

The following day, I was searching inwardly to know why I gave that response. I found three things which triggered that response, and one of them was my emotional energy was almost deplete. When it gets to that level, thank God I know how to refill to make sure I don’t drive on “red”.

The morale to this story is had I not had an honest introspective look, I wouldn’t have helped myself to become a better man, and that destructive path of coldness and aloofness will still have trail-blazed regardless. In life, you will never get the answers to many of life’s questions and cannot control the outcome of outward circumstances either. What is within your control is how you act, behave or think. That is not a mystery.

Please take time to invest in yourself by knowing the real you. Take an honest, hard look at yourself and ask questions; perhaps some uncomfortable ones too. Introspection gives you an inward look or tour of your inner man- the real you. You will know and discover much after this exercise.

Let me end with this scripture I have come to love from the Psalmist, David:

Examine me, and probe my thoughts! Test me, and know my concerns!” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:23‬ ‭NET‬‬

May this also be your prayer! Will love to read your feedback on this. It means a lot to me. Please don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to this blog

Till I come your way again…

Peace & Love

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A restrained life

“Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained…” PROVERBS‬ ‭29:18‬ ‭NASB‬‬

For the past two weeks, we have looked at the subject matter on vision. We have defined it and looked at the nature of vision. Today, we want to turn our thoughts on how a vision lets you live a restrained life. I know the title doesn’t sound too appealing, but let us dig deeper.

When we talk of a restrained life, it is very different from a restricted life. A restrained life is not a restricted life. A restrained life has more to do with narrowing your options and living a focused life in attainment of a mission. The restricted life, on the other hand, has more to do with barriers or impediments that halts your progress.

To live an unrestrained life is to live a disorderly life with no boundaries- a misdirected life. Living a life without restraints has temporary pleasure, but a permanent sense of defeat and regret which sometimes becomes difficult to get over. I want to share my thoughts on why a restrained life is not a restricted one

1. A restrained life keeps you focused on what you are good at

The mirage is we can be good at anything. The bottom line is that is not always the case. I think we can be exceptionally good at some things but not good at everything. When you are restrained in your passions, thoughts and dreams concerning a task, it helps you to focus on that particular thing that needs to be done. With that, you channel all your energies into developing the strengths for that particular task you are doing. Life is too expensive to spread yourself too thin- jack of all trades, master at nothing. It is better to attempt two things where you score 9 out of 10 than to to do ten things, where your highest score in all ten is 4.5 out of 10. Maximize your strengths by cutting down the number of tasks and focus on a few to hit peak performance

2. A restrained life keeps you from having a roving eye

Some people’s attention span is short. All it takes for their plans to change is talk to a friend or go on social media. A life without restraints believes life is too short and one needs to be adventurous. That is not adventure, but misdirected energy. People who easily change on their task easily gas out! Changing upon changing of things can be energy draining and time wasting. I will liken that to moving houses. If you have been involved in this, you can bear me witness that it’s time consuming and energy draining. Can you imagine doing that every two weeks? I believe in adventure and taking chances, but do that in the venture you are called to do and once that is completed, move on to the next one. There are times when life will demand you do two or three things at a go, because you are good at it. The general rule is not many are good at multi tasking, so take your time and tackle one venture after the other. Without a burning desire for your vision, chances are you can live a very unrestrained life seizing everything as an opportunity, realizing later down the road you were only in a fool’s paradise. That is a painful awakening

3. A restrained life highlights your weaknesses

How? By doing what you are doing shows what you are also not good at. A good lawyer may perhaps be a bad medical doctor. Many law students have a glaring weakness in Mathematics. Medical students are considered to be among the brainiest of the bunch, but will have weaknesses in many fields which they don’t study like English Literature, History, Political Science and the like. Most medics don’t like too much reading, they prefer calculations and analysis. A vision highlights your strengths, but also your weaknesses. It protects you to play according to your strengths and reject any “opportunities” which will expose your weakness. Your weakness is there to build on and helps in character building. Your weakness should not be exhibited on a platform to serve others because it helps nobody. There are some people who live in “La-La Land” deceiving themselves and their audience that they are cut out for EVERY job, but the scores tell a different story. A vision helps narrow that perspective

I trust you got something out of today’s read? A blessed week to you all. Keep winning!

Will love to read your thoughts and comments on this. Your feedback means a lot to me. Please don’t also forget to like, share and subscribe to this blog

Till I come your way again…

Peace & Love