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Character Forms a Free or Fettered Life

Posted By Foundation for American Christian Education, Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Character is the substance on which self-government is built, and without it there is nothing to build on. What, then, is “character”? Noah Webster defines character as, “a mark made by engraving” and “the peculiar qualities, impressed by nature or habit on a person, which distinguish him from others.”

The definition of character implies that character is “cut” or “engraved”—formed, forged, and structured by “nature or habit.” Therefore, an instrument is required to do the cutting. That instrument might be family, church, and most certainly schooling.

America’s founding generation understood that godly character could only be formed when an individual conformed their life to the principles found in the Bible. Self-government could only be practiced and enjoyed when character was marked by faith, steadfastness, brotherly love and Christian care, diligence and industry, and liberty of conscience—that most sacred property. These qualities are the raw materials for building a “free and unfettered life” and a self-governed nation.

A new season of Thanksgiving is coming

Can you imagine what America would be like if we all committed to building our character on the “habits” of diligence, brotherly love and faith? Would many of our nation’s social, moral, financial and international problems be resolved?

Our Pilgrim forebears celebrated that first thanksgiving with joy because their character had been forged through perseverance and suffering to shape God-fearing, Christ-honoring, self-reliant Christians. Let’s recommit to forming our individual character as American Christians, just as the Pilgrims, to reflect Christ’s character, known by His teachings in order to produce a “free and unfettered life.” This will be the beginning of restoring our nation.

Excepted from Nation Makers: the Art of Self-Government, by Verna M. Hall and Rosalie J. Slater, edited by Carole G. Adams, and Teaching and Learning America’s Christian History: The Principle Approach, “America’s Heritage of Christian Character”, by Rosalie J. Slater. Published by Foundation for American Christian History (FACE).

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