Four Cardinal Virtues – Part One

Jesus dealt with a cast of characters as diverse as we. He provided for all the potential of peace with God in time and for eternity. In time He inspired hope and for eternity He enabled the love of God to be shared.

It is through the most circuitous route that He leads us to build our character. Character traits were once the words used when persons were spoken of. People were described as persons of character. Words such as honesty, integrity, truthful, and dependable were used.

Gradually the operative word changed from character to personality. Charming, cool, funny, and outgoing became the vocabulary.

Character has been so devalued as an admirable trait we have even been assured character doesn’t count.

How can it be said character doesn’t count in a world full of “oughts” and “shoulds.” Frequently in Scripture the expression “ought to” is used. It means what we “ought” to do is for our good and God’s glory.

Every “ought” is rooted in a value; every value requires a choice, every choice reveals character. Get it!

Every ought is
rooted in a value;
every value requires
a choice; every choice
defines a character.

Character isn’t something you have; it is something you are that inevitably shows itself in what you do.

Aristotle, the godfather of Greek philosophy, asserted human behavior can be shaped, that certain behaviors are helpful for individuals and society, and the best way to develop good behavior is by observing good role models. The Greeks identified four cardinal virtues: PRUDENCE, JUSTICE, COURAGE, and TEMPERANCE.

Though there are many attributes of those who can come into God’s presence, let’s concentrate on these four. Consider developing these four character traits. Look for them in others and model them. In this and subsequent post will be our theme.

Character and integrity are twins that walk hand in hand. Scripture speaks often of integrity as an integral part of character. Consider these two anchoring texts in considering the concept of character.

“The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.” (Proverbs 10: 9)

“I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity.” (I Chronicles 29: 17)