Character is the human symbol of God's image, always appreciate it

When KDF's junior under officer Michael Njau (right) received a trophy for the best o/Cadet in character Development from bthen CDF Gen Samson Mwathethe on April 5 ,2018 at Kenya Military Academy in Lanet. [File, Standard]

Some people upon being critiqued on their character are heard to respond, "It's my life! I do with it whatever I want!" Well, point made. But upon cross-checking this statement, questions linger: Is it really your life? Can you really do with it whatever you want?

Such is the spirit of the whatever-wherever-however sub-culture. It is about making your own rules and breaking them at will. Make and break is the mastery. It is about moving with the flow. There are no steady guidelines. Rules are convenient. Even when spirituality is convenient, you will clap your hands and sing Halleluiah! But that does not mean that you will not take your spot at the club. Any rule that does not promote a thrill is frowned upon. Senses rule. Actions serve desire. The mind must not stand in the way of feelings - it is body over mind.

But this form of sensual living gets senseless and unsustainable. Life is more complex. Life demands more of us than just building a fun-building capacity. A dead end is always the way the story goes as the flow hits a wall with nowhere to go. Sometimes, it is the temperatures of life that rise and the waters dry up and the flow is suspended. Addictions abound. Dreams stall. Reputation tumbles. The fun guy is no longer having fun. The party animal ends up mauled by the party spirits.

The young and the old who insist on life being one long party are proved wrong. Highly gifted men and women have lost great opportunities because their character could not sustain the lofty positions. Their brains were so "partyfied" that they could not generate a character to sustain the jobs. On the reverse, lowly people have gone up the ranks because character did for them what certificates could not do. A noble character is currency by itself.

Freelancing does not apply in the character zone. Genesis set up a sweat check before granting a fun ticket. God did not make us to live the way we want. There is a way He made us to live. Even the systems in the body tell a story of a complex intentional coordination. The respiratory system does not interchange with circulatory system or the digestive system turn into a reproductive system! The sun does not rise from wherever and set whenever! Oceans do not flow into rivers. Nature has character.

Indeed character matters. It matters that you respect that life is not random - that there is an undisputable order to things. Character is a human response to rhyme with the benevolent patterns of nature. Character is humans seeking the favourable contours of nature. Character is creation's innate hunger to trace the contours of the Creator. Character is the human embodiment of God's image. Character is a hunt for consistent calm. This partly explains why a person of character looks so appealing - their life paints an admirable synergy. Character tells of a power that has managed to achieve an otherwise elusive holistic internal order. This often yields external honour and life's reward of good success. Character is award-winning!

At the very beginning of time, God showed us what leads to death and what leads to life. A resolute character was necessary to endear the instructions. God loves is such that He does not want us to stay on the path of joylessness and meaninglessness and death. But we often act clever and want to beat God at His own game! On this front, Satan is presented in Genesis as an idea manufacturer specialising in the thought that there is a way humans can become equal with God. The key to this achievement - according to the snake - is dissenting the order God instituted. The snake genius was that humans can create their own set of rules by breaking the ones that God gave. Well, Adam and Eve tried it and we know how the story ended.

There is character that is inspired by the law. Such is a product of duty. If the laws did not exist, chances are people would not exhibit the character that they do. In a corporate organisation, people are supposed to be warm to clients because "customer is king." But away from the corporate space, the same people who are excellent with customers are pathetic with their families. Customer service managers are Chaos dispenses in their homes. Some priests who preach Good News are bad news to their families. Such goodness that is inspired by duty lasts as long as the law lasts. But there is a goodness that is inspired by mere love for goodness. The nature of character exhibited in such a situation does not need the law to sustain. Conviction renders the law unnecessary. Such is the authentic character.

Prophet Samuel , when talking to the Israelites about how he had lived among them as their leader, said to them that if he was seen to have done something wrong - He was willing to make it right. Right brings Light. Often, we think of moving the mountains outside - but sometimes the mountains are inside us - in the form of bad habits, bad attitudes, bad character and hidden sin. This is the mountain within. Mountains within us create mountains outside us. For instance, if you have a lying tongue you will be branded as unreliable - and such a reputation closes some doors that would otherwise be open. If you are a greedy person, you limit your growth because people do not feel safe with you. If you are lazy, you will never achieve the wealth you are praying for!

Character matters. A right character move is guaranteed to move some mountain! If you talk to a former alcoholic, you will know how a change in character changes a life. If you talk to a spouse who had abandoned his or her family, you will know how faithfulness changes a life.

All of us - even the best of us -are perpetually in need of character transformation. The character school is life-long. In it, you move from one level to another but there is never a grand graduation day. We are forever in the uniform of the character transformation school.