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By Dr. Rick Koole
Pastor of LifePointe Church 

New Year's resolutions


Last updated 1/7/2019 at 11:37am

So, what do your new year’s resolutions look like? And, have you broken any of them yet?

If you are like most Americans, your resolutions focus on losing weight, exercising more or saving more money. Not that there’s anything wrong with these goals; however, let me suggest a resolution to focus on improving your character in 2019.

The nation was caught off guard recently with the kind words that were expressed after the death of President George H. W. Bush. The tributes poured in as one after another, the people closest to him shared story after story of the amazing character and kindness of the former president. Although he certainly had many notable accomplishments during his 94 years, it was his character and relationships with the people in his life that were mentioned most often and with the greatest affection.

It may seem like an odd question, but have you ever pondered what the people closest to you might say about you at your funeral? With that in mind, 2019 may be the year for you to evaluate some aspects of your character that might need some improvement.

Here are some valuable thoughts from others that I’ve stumbled across, which address the importance of “character.”

● “When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.” Billy Graham

● “If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself.” D.L. Moody

● “Get caught in one lie, and a thousand truths will be doubted.” Unknown

● “Strive not to be a man of success, but rather a man of value.” Albert Einstein

Others have spoken about the fact that true character is often forged not through our victories, but more often through painful struggles. Here are some of their reflections.

● “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through the experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.” Helen Keller

● “Pain is God’s megaphone… He whispers to us in our pleasure and shouts to us in our suffering.” C.S. Lewis

● “One can acquire everything in solitude except character.” Stendhal

● “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the early years of our country, Henry Clay was a rising star and was considered a leader with the potential to someday become president. History records that in addition to his many talents, he was a man of true character. His character was highlighted once when he was about to introduce a controversial bill in Congress. A close friend pulled him aside and warned him, “If you do this, Clay, it will kill your chance for the presidency.”

“But is the measure right?” Clay asked, and on being assured it was right, said, “I would rather be right than be president.”

Doing what is right regardless of the consequences is the hallmark of a person with character. Or as I once heard it said, that regardless of the consequences, “We should do right until the stars fall out of the sky.”

Let me close with a challenge for 2019. In addition to resolutions to improve your health and your finances, consider a resolution to make 2019 the year you improve your character.


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