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On The Necessity of Virtues and Values

Of an Empowering & Inspired Leader

The term values is often confused with virtues although similar in meaning virtues are characteristics and attributes (qualities and aspects) associated with the nature of God whereas values are any principles, standards, or qualities considered worthwhile and desirable (Bredfeldt 2006). Furthermore, values are determined by one’s worldview and are based on personality, family dynamics, environmental factors, social factors, cultural aspects, political views and other views of social nature. One’s view on creation, God (or the lack of, and even economics shapes one’s values as well as how one perceives and pursues the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom. Additionally one’s values are mutable and change as one’s perception and perspective changes. Our values can be influenced and manipulated by the views and teachings of others and form the basis of our morality where as our virtues are God given. The two combined form the basis for Ethics.

Ethics can be divided into three categories.  At the highest level is our Virtue our concept of God and Evil or theodicy.  Western social concepts of virtues is credited first to the Greek Philosopher Plato who views justice as the highest virtue.  Justice forms the bond that holds all the other four virtues of wisdom, courage, temperance (Self-control) and continence (abstinence from immorality especially sexually desire) in unity and congruency. Additionally, only through the exercise of knowledge and the power given within our soul can ultimate good be achieved for the form is an imperfect copy and our senses are inferior matter or existence is imperfect while essence (soul, God, spirit, knowledge) is perfect and unchanging and is the basis for all things (anonymous 2016).  The second level is one’s personal and family conception of what is right & wrong (general morality) and at the base is secular law or social and corporate structure.

Virtue, Values & Vices

Aristotle built upon Plato’s concepts but came to a different conclusion. For him matter and essence are inseparable and both are derived from God. The lower form matter thereby originated from the deity and all action originates from the potentiality of motion (anonymous 2016).   For Aristotle virtues are God given but must be developed in training and discipline in what he called means. If we for example wish exemplify High-Mindedness (Wisdom) but the over development of it this will lead to the excessive vice of pride (boastfulness, vanity). In Contrast a lack of development will lead to the vice of deficiency of foolishness ( humble-mindedness) Thus for Aristotle, virtues fail as a result of two categories’ of vices one of deficiency and one of excess as a result of a lack of discipline and training.

Aristotle’s list of virtues and vices are listed on the following chart (anonymous 2016).

VICE OF DEFICIENCY VIRTUOUS MEAN VICE OF EXCESS
Cowardice Courage Rashness
Insensibility Temperance Intemperance
Illiberality Liberality Prodigality
Pettiness Munificence Vulgarity
Humble-mindedness High-mindedness Vaingloriness
Want of Ambition Right Ambition Over-ambition
Spiritlessness Good Temper Irascibility
Surliness Friendly Civility Obsequiousness
Ironical Depreciation Sincerity Boastfulness
Boorishness Wittiness Buffoonery
Shamelessness Modesty Bashfulness
Callousness Just Resentment Spitefulness

 

Finally, one is to practice self-love and friendship or love of others, which is a communal relation, and peaceful and beautiful state of existence with the world in general (anonymous 2016). Furthermore, justice is both general and special in that it applies to the observance of both secular and moral law in occasional circumstance such as judicial and economic matters and is abstract in some instance for absolute justice, which is corrective, and often retaliatory is necessary in moral conduct and common decency.

God cannot be comprehended by practicing normal human moral insight; rather one finds God in happiness in being (anonymous 2016). For Aristotle, pain and pleasure of the mind and soul is the motivation behind the virtues and thus desire for higher pleasure one strives for the highest virtue of high-mindedness through the pursuit of knowledge, wisdom and the disciplines of means or pursuit of the other Godly virtues.

From a Biblical the character of the leader should be developed out of disciple and training from the study of God’s word, meditation, prayer, a life of obedience of faith ( reliance, dependence and trust on Christ and the Holy Spirit).   One must additionally die to flesh – born to Spirit (Rom. 12) and be without boastful pride and in loving humble servitude and in a unity of heart and mind that imitates the likeness of Christ (Phil 1-6). Through the transformation of one’s mind through various spiritual disciplines and the resistance of temptations and living by Christian Ethics, one is granted Spiritual Gifts for the glory of God and service (Rom 12-15).

Additionally, one is to be follow the guidelines of Christian character and conducts as outlined in 1 Tim: 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. This ethical code is similar to the classical code of the Greeks and summarized lists certain desirable traits of conduct for leaders and elders of the church. However, this code should become the basis for all believers conduct, as it is list some basics guidelines for virtues besides those in Romans 12-15. The Fruit of the Spirit, which results from discipline practice and training, is the highest virtues (Gal 5-16-26, Col 3:1-17) and is only given by the leading and granting of the Holy Spirit. Both lists also contain some of the more common sins or depravities of Humanity.  One should recall from Romans 1-8 Paul reminds us all though the Law illustrates us the nature of our sin and we may have all intentions to do good deeds, works actions or even obey out of obligation of the Law. Because of our sin even after being justified or declared citizens of distinction worth and righteous (elect, saints). Will fall short. Thus only by the atoning cross can any of us be truly forgiven, and it is by Christ grace and mercy that all faith is based not by anything we can accomplish. WE however must with the aid of the Holy Spirit striving to become transformed dying from the temptations of sin, forgiving others as well as our self, empowering others and spreading the Gospel to the fallen world serving as Christ like teachers in faith, hope and love.

Courage

Courage is essential and is the result of Endurance, perseverance, and often times suffering.  Courage is the ability to face one’s fears, standing firm in strength in one’s convictions and is a discipline virtue that arises from faith and relying on the practice of truth in times of crisis, adversity or suffering. Courage as a virtue is the assurance of the interdependence working of God in total trust and reliance in any situation or occasion of danger (whether perceived or actual).

Thus, with that aid of the Holy Spirit and the Authority given to the believer by Christ the sovereignty will insure the outcome is in the best interest of the Trinity of God and for his divine creation and Eternal- kingdom.  Additionally courage sparks the passion and not always the sensibility of the individual leading to actions in a situation. Wisdom is the application of knowledge, virtues, and vales in a manner that practical and is thus sensible and heartfelt or appropriate in any given situation.

Truth

Truth can be absolute or relative based on assumptions, feelings, false input of one’s senses or misguided views or actions. The Bible in inerrant when God, Christ or “The Angel of the Lord says or the Holy Spirit gives direct directives. However, the Bible is also infallible meaning it is the means and ends of achieving Faith. Both doctrines of the church are human perspectives and can be supported by the Biblical Evidence.

However, the Bible is not fully inerrant or infallible in itself and never makes an exclusive claim for one or the other. Rather truth and faith (Spirit) matched with authenticity should be seen as the Biblical doctrine  Biblical intake and teaching requires the ability to differentiate, evaluate and incorporate  historical, occasional, cultural, situational, universal, personal and finally current relevancy (Duvall and Hays 2012, 235-246).

To make a claim that either truth of faith or works or goodwill (deeds) are to be separated or combined in any a+ +b or b+ d or any other combination to achieve salvation is missing the mark. The truth is all are inseparable and holistic parts lived and in of obedience of faith for the suffering Bondservant of Christ. One style of leadership or church will not be fitting or reach and meet the needs for all people and doctrines of man will divide. Each view has strengths and weakness as every man has strength and weaknesses (Bredfeldt 2006).

The Key of Wisdom

The key is discernment with biblical guidance and application of general revelation, assessment and our experience. This enables one as an individual, the Body of Believers or universal communal church, and all who are willing to hear, see and receive the Atoning Sacrifice of Christ and the Good-News in a manner that leads to a profession of faith and the empowering and ongoing transformation to the Eikōn. This New Adam – New Kingdom fulfillment, will be granted  when final salvation and full restoration is completed upon Christ return which is only possible with the aid of others and the Holy Spirit brought forth in humble, and accepting discerning teachings of love grace and mercy.

 

Uniqueness & Diversity: The Character of a Leader

What defines ethics and sound character will vary from subculture to culture and will differ even by some degree with in the individual heart and mind of each person. A worldview is simply how an individual perceives the world and his place in creation. It is influenced by family dynamics, cultural customs, ethnicity, nationality, religious views ( doctrines and dogma & beliefs), peer pressure, inspiration, philosophical ideology, political perception,  economics, innate vales & talents , God given virtues ( often unrealized or undeveloped), knowledge, and wisdom. This list is far from complete.

Sin is the adversary of character and is like a genetic curse inherit in all humanity. Sin leads to opposition to the guidelines of the Law that is Holy and the basis of our virtuous morality. Only through Christ atoning sacrifice are we worthy and significant free from blind obligation to obedience of the Law.  In correlation by the leading of the Spirit sanctified and ethics is thus written on the heart of all who live obediently in and by faith (Rom 6-8).

Our strengths and weakness need to be assessment and evaluation and at times God uses not our strengths but our weakness ( Gen 50:20)  for the benefit his divine purpose ( Matt 28: 18-20 must be done in conjunction Matt 22:33-39). Finally, Philippians 1-11, Titus 1:6-8, 1 Timothy 3:2-7, 1 Corinthians 13, Galatians 5, Romans 12-16 as well as Matt 5-7, Eph 5, Col 3:5, and Rom 1:18-32, Rom 2-6). The Good News is since all are declared righteous and redeemed by Christ and love writes the Law on one’s heart in transformation, obedience and willing service of love.

The individual and community is being transformed and restored as long as we keep trudging running, persevering, suffering thru the race of life and praising and glorify God in all things. Thus, doing our part to advance the completion of God promise of salvation and inclusion of all who are willing into the New Adam ( Man)- Perfected reconstructed Eternal kingdom of God when Christ returns to reign in the Eschatological Age (Moo 2000).

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

 

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Bibliography

anonymous. Ancient Greek Philosophy. Edited by James Fieser, Bradley Dowden, & Kirby Jeremy. 2016. http://www.iep.utm.edu/greekphi/ (accessed May 01, 2016).

 

Bredfeldt, Gary J. Great Leader, Great Teacher: Recovering the Biblical Vision for Leadership. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2006.

Duvall, Scott J., and Daniel J. Hays. Grasping God’s Word. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012.

Moo, Douglas J. Romans. NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000.

 

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DaliObservations of Perceptions:

Diligence vs. Laziness & Wisdom vs. Folly

Diligence as defined by http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/diligence is: “constant and earnest effort to accomplish whatis undertaken; persistent exertion of body or mind.” [i]  In comparison Laziness is an adjective of the noun lazy as defined byhttp://dictionary.reference.com/browse/laziness?s=t:“averse or disinclined to work, activity, or exertion; indolent.”[ii]

In The Bible there are many references to diligence and laziness. The Book of Proverbs contains a wealth of information on this topic:

“Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth (Proverbs 10:4).”[iii]

This verse teaches us not remain idle, that we must work for what we have. Laziness will result in are down fall. This may be both in a material and Spiritual sense.

“The lazy do not roast[a] any game, but the diligent feed on the riches of the hunt. (Proverbs 12:27).”[iv]

This verse states a similar message; one must work hard in order for their needs to be met. It uses the analogy of hunting and the rewards of the blessing of feeding off a successful hunt. This metaphor reminds us also that by are deeds we are rewarded, that we cannot back idly waiting for life to happen or to be provided for. We must live a life of action.  It does not say that God will not provide for us but simply states we need to do what we can for ourselves, our family, our nation…

Two synonyms of diligence are work and labor. In Ecclesiastes the Author, King Solomon, has the following comments on work:

“What do people gain from all their labors

    at which they toil under the sun?

4 Generations come and generations go,

    but the earth remains forever.

5 The sun rises and the sun sets,

    and hurries back to where it rises.

6 The wind blows to the south

    and turns to the north;

round and round it goes,

    ever returning on its course.

7 All streams flow into the sea,

    yet the sea is never full.

To the place the streams come from,

    there they return again.

8 All things are wearisome,

    more than one can say.

The eye never has enough of seeing,

    nor the ear its fill of hearing.

9 What has been will be again,

    what has been done will be done again;

    there is nothing new under the sun.

10 Is there anything of which one can say,

    “Look! This is something new”?

It was here already, long ago;

    it was here before our time.

11 No one remembers the former generations,

    and even those yet to come

will not be remembered

    by those who follow them (Ecclesiastes 1:3-11)[v]

What is Solomon saying? The fruit of labors, our deeds, our achievements and our legacy have no meaning and will not bring happiness. Although they are necessary for our survival we need to trust in God first and concern our self with spiritual matters for true satisfaction. The ways of the world lead only to despair and misery.

Solomon Goes on to say In (Ecclesiastes 3:22) “So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?”[vi]

This question-statement of wisdom reminds us to make the best of our situation remembering our time on spent on this world is short lived. We should enjoy our lives, every aspect of it. However, we should not seek to be prideful or worry about leaving a legacy. We do not have a clue what will happen to the work and deeds we leave behind so why worry about it. Live in the moment.

Wisdom is defined in http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/wisdom  in this manner: “the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.”[vii] Folly is defined in http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/folly as “the state or quality of being foolish; lack of understanding or sense.”[viii] In the Book or Proverbs there are numerous illustrations of wisdom and folly:

“The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly (Proverbs 15:14).”[ix]

This scripture reminds us to seek wisdom and at times to remain silent. If one does not have the answer one should remain silent. Truth and knowledge is divinely inspired and at times based on experience. It reminds us to check the validity of our sources and the basis of our information.

In other words one must not keep the company of fools.

“A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the Lord (Proverbs 19:3).”[x]

This passage serves to remind the reader that ignorance and foolish actions not only lead to destruction but angers God.

“The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge (Proverbs 14:18).”[xi]

This comparison teaches us to handle all our affairs in a wise, sober, practical and rational manner.

There are countless other passages on folly and wisdom in Proverbs. Some warn against the evil of the tongue, others against anger and sin.

The book of Psalms also has much to say on Wisdom:

“The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom and their tongues speak what is just (Psalms 37:30).”[xii]

This is a reminder to speak out against what is wrong, to speak the truth and to spread God’s message. It also serves as a refrain from gossip.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise (Psalms 111:10).”[xiii]

This passage serves as a reminder that God is in control of all things. From God true wisdom flows. A wise person keeps his commandments and deserves his honor.

The Bible in general serves as a wealth of information on the topic of diligence vs. laziness and wisdom vs. folly. In the New Testament it states:

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength (1 Corinthians 1:25).”[xiv]

“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30).”[xv]

1 Corinthians shows us that only by God, Christ and the Holy Spirit, not our own wisdom, are we saved. Wisdom, knowledge, deeds, accolades, and earthly pleasures will not bring you happiness or grant you eternal; life. “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6)[xvi]

In Christ,

Trenton Rindoks


[i] “diligence.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 29 Apr. 2013. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/diligence>.

[ii] “laziness.” Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. 29 Apr. 2013. <Dictionary.comhttp://dictionary.reference.com/browse/laziness>.

[iii]http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+10:4&version=NIV .New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

[iv]http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+12:27&version=NIV.New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

[v]http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ecclesiastes%201&version=NIV.Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

[vi]http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ecclesiastes%203:22&version=NIV .Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

[vii] “wisdom.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 29 Apr. 2013. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/wisdom>.

[viii] “folly.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 29 Apr. 2013. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/folly&gt;.

[ix] http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+15:14&version=NIV.Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

[x] http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+19:3&version=NIV.Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

[xi]http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+14:18&version=NIV .Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+37:30&version=NIV [xii] .Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

[xiii]http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+111:10&version=NIV .Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

[xiv]http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians+1:25&version=NIV .Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians+1:30&version=NIV [xv] .Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

[xvi] http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%2014:6-9&version=NIV.Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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