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Character Matters
March 2010
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Character Trait –Orderliness:
Check It Out. – What Does It Matter? – How Does it Count?
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The Pattern of God
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So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Gen. 1:27)

Let all things be done decently and in order. (1 Cor. 14:40)

But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. (I Cor. 15:23)

For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. (Col. 2:5)

Time for another pop quiz. Which of the sentences above does not belong? Three of the sentences speak specifically about order. The first one does not.

But it has a lot to do with the character trait we are examining this month: orderliness. The three sentences show us that our Father is a God of order. The first sentence reminds us that since we are made in His image, we are to reflect that image. We can display many of the character traits of God.

Being made in His image doesn't mean we have His exact nature. We are not mini versions of God. But as redeemed believers, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we can develop the extent to which we display His character. In fact, that's the whole point of this column each month. Character counts because it makes us more godly. It makes us better instruments of His light and glory on earth.

Okay, we now know that if we want to grow in God's way, orderliness needs to be a goal. Practically speaking, however, our houses probably are not a perfect picture of orderliness. The logistics of homeschooling, maintaining a household, juggling the varied activities of family members, and being involved in our church and community pretty much rule that out - despite what the covers of homeschooling magazines seem to convey.

Still, there is more to orderliness than mere neatness. It is based on the root word meaning to rise. It literally means an arrangement or series of successive steps. So technically speaking, it's possible to be surrounded with clutter, yet be orderly. I can hear the resounding cheers of all the random, global teachers out there!

Orderliness is related to our theme of organization this month because both make progress more feasible. Both are a way to simplify multi-tasking. Both make things more streamlined and efficient.

Orderliness means that all things (or at least most things!) are in the right arrangement. Everything in its place. Organization is the system we use to identify what that right place is for everything.

It's not surprising, then, that a crucial aspect of orderliness is discipline – the discipline required to take the time to put everything in its place. Let's face it, if we're honest with ourselves, it takes less time to put something back in the cupboard when we take it out than it takes to straighten up an entire kitchen once things pile up.

And it should come as no surprise that orderliness is a component of responsibility. Our response to our environment – whether the physical condition of our house or the spiritual order of our household – should be to work at being in order as much as possible.

As with any truth in God's kingdom, order for order's sake is not the point. So don't get under condemnation because your house is not “presentable” every minute of every day. That's called a museum, and museums are not warm, cozy places to have fellowship and life together.

The point of developing the habit of order in our lives is to help us become more in tune with God's design. It doesn't take years of science classes to recognize the amazing sense of order in God's creation.

Remember that we defined orderliness as a series of successive steps. Developing orderliness is a process. The key is to begin this month with one simple step you can take toward that goal.
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Image Credit: © Kheng Guan Toh - Fotolia.com

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