In the 1960’s and 1970’s the Spirit of the Lord was mightily poured out upon America in what has been known as the Charismatic Renewal Movement. Charles Simpson was one of the leaders in this mighty move of God and he has experienced so many life experiences and wisdom that the present generation can glean from. In a recent conversation with VFNtv, Simpson talks about the importance of character and the need to make disciples.
In our present culture there appears to be a growing disconnection between the need for character and the willingness to endure hardship and difficulties. As Simpson explains, “if you remove the difficulties, you destroy the character”. Simpson shares profound wisdom as he shares a different perspective of the word ‘character’ and how our culture uses that word. “It means to engrave, and it’s when you cut a hard surface. And we call our numbers ‘characters’, our alphabet ‘characters’, because originally, they were engraved in stone, or some hard wood surface and made to endure, not break, and stand alone, if necessary.” This is so applicable to our daily lives. We cannot neglect our own personal character. Simpson continues, “men destroy with their character what they build with their gifts”.
There are many different seasons in life, many highs and many different lows. If we do not have the character instilled within us, than we will not be able to stand the tests within each of these seasons. So often, people can get caught up thinking that success is the escape to life’s problems. As Simpson explains, this is not always true. “A lot of gifted people crumble under the stress of success, and believe me, success can be wonderful, but it can be dangerous.” It is in times of success that we can forget how dangerous pride is. Regardless of what season we may be experiencing in our lives, the answer is to always walk in humility. Truth be told, without the proper character, we will not survive success. As Simpson continues, “I wish everyone success and abundant life, and I believe God wants us to have that. But He doesn’t want to destroy us. If you give a child valuables, it’s dangerous for the child and the valuables, so you really want someone to be mature before they inherit.”
So, the question then is, how do we learn to navigate the seasons of life in order to grow in the necessary character needed to thrive in the various seasons of life? Simpson continues, “God wants to build character in us and wants us to listen to the Father. We need spiritual fatherhood in our lives and so that we don’t run off and waste what was earned with great difficulty.” Without the presence of healthy fathers, it’s a hard environment for this type of growth to take place. As Simpson explains, “the biggest problem in the world is the lack of fatherhood, everywhere. And, of course we’re in a culture has become increasingly anti-male…” What is so important to remember is that we cannot replace fatherhood with position. “If you move from the natural over into the spiritual, that there’s a failure of fatherhood in the spiritual as well, and being an official, with a title is not the same thing as being a father. That’s an institutional substitute for fatherhood.” In America, this is often where the counterfeit has taken the place of what was meant to be authentic. In America, the government, or the school, has often been expected to take the role that only the family can.
In culture today, it is so easy to become isolated, even though we may be more connected digitally than ever before. As Simpson points out, there is an important distinction between isolated, while also being connected as well. “There is this tension. You want to withdraw and be different, and sometimes that leads to complete isolation. And, although most Christians don’t think that way; they are isolated by habit. And then, there are others who want to change the culture…there is this tension. On the one hand we are separate, and on the other hand we’re involved. It’s hard to know which mode you’re supposed to be in.” Simpson continues, “I personally think that we need Christians who live a life of separation, personally, but who are involved socially and experientially.”
How many seasons have we experienced in our lives that would have had entirely different outcomes had we had this wisdom? These truths and lessons are so important and vital to navigating the seasons and journeys that we will experience in our lives. Not only can they help us in our personal decisions, but we can be there to help others as well. See the full conversation with Charles Simpson, and so much more. Also shared in this segment: boot camp, education, college campuses, safe places, hardship, affliction, the alphabet, success, giftings, spiritual fathering, spiritual family, institutions, government, education, orphanages, authentic relationships, and abiding. Greg Lancaster and Charles Simpson shared in this segment.
Image courtesy of Storyblocks.com
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