I love reading anything that identifies opportunities to improve some area of my life or that of my family and work. I recently read an interesting column in the Tennessean, written by a local author and business owner named Rory Vaden. In this column, Rory, who also wrote a book called Take the Stairs, a book on my “I really want to read it, but probably ought to wait until I finish reading the 50 other half-read books” list, describes something called Character Quotient. He defines it as follows (a little bit of math… hang with me):
Virtues Valuation = The self-assigned value I place on sticking to my own virtues, doing what I know is right.
Promised Payoff = The money or other value received from choosing something incongruent with my virtues and values.
Interesting idea… the thought goes something like this: the higher the quotient, the greater the likelihood you will make healthy decisions in your life (you will follow your virtues). The smaller the number, the more challenging this will be for you and the more likely you are to deviate from your virtues because of some payoff. But the statement that really got me was “the greater the temptation and the larger the payoff, the higher your virtues valuation must be to maintain a character quotient greater than 1.” In other words, if I perceive some negative thing as giving a BIG payoff… something I really enjoy… then to counteract that, my virtues… that which I regard as important and right… must be even greater than that BIG payoff.
To say this differently (more “John Piper-esque”), if Christ is not my greatest treasure in life and if I don’t treasure Him immensely, I will find it very difficult to fight sin. I will value the payoff of sin more than the virtue of abiding in Christ and obeying Him. So, now, what do I do with that? How do I make Christ my greatest treasure? How do I desire Him more than the world? Can I truly do that myself? Well, once again I have to remind myself of my humanity and use a human parallel. When I’m eating something I really like. I mean, really like… no one has to convince me that it tastes good. It just does. But I have to be willing to try it first. And sometimes try it many times. And in doing this, what did I do to grow that food as a delight to me? Did I make the food better than it is? No, the food is what it is. I don’t change it. I just tried it and experienced the great taste it had.
And so it is with my spiritual journey. The more time I spend with Christ, through prayer and reading His Word, the more I find I delight in Him. I must fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. And my sense of treasuring Him will grow, and the payoff of SIN will diminish. So, it will actually change the formula. I LOVE the idea of that!
Today is Saturday, and I will be about the typical family life tasks on a Saturday. And I will try to remind myself that as I go through my day, I need to fix my gaze on Jesus in all that I do, and treasure Him for all He is worth!