WJTL’s John Shirk sits down with Steven Curtis Chapman to talk about his new tour, his new album, overcoming adversity, and looking toward the future.
JOHN SHIRK – To be prudent means to exercise good judgment or wisdom gained from experience and knowledge. One reliable place for gaining knowledge of the truth is the Bible. That is where we come to understand the Lord’s will-how He wants us to live in such a way as to honor His name. That is where we learn about Jesus, described in First Corinthians 1:30 as our source of wisdom from God.
Several other words help to clarify what the wisdom of prudence looks like. Careful, cautious, and self-restraint, particularly in our speech and behavior. Prudence keeps our actions from getting reckless so that our witness for Christ is not undermined by careless words or actions.
According to Proverbs 1:4, the wise sayings of Solomon in the book of Proverbs are useful “for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young.”
Prudence is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – There are various definitions of promptness.
One definition is to be on time. There are some practical benefits to being prompt for meetings and appointments. The other person comes to see us as more dependable when we are consistently on time. And you can be more productive in your work if you are not late in getting to your task.
Another definition means “To be ready to act or respond.” James 1:19 identifies promptness this way: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”
When we listen to others, we communicate that what they say matters. This passage can also apply to our relationship with God. When our heart is in tune with His words in the Bible, we live in a state of readiness to trust and obey Him when He tells us to move.
Promptness is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – There are two definitions of mercy that we will look at. One view of mercy is an act of kindness or compassion. This is what happened in the story of the Good Samaritan, who was prompted by compassion to show mercy on the person beaten up by robbers.
Another expression of mercy is the disposition to be kind and forgiving toward those who are undeserving of kind treatment.
Ephesians 2:3 talks about how we were by nature the objects of wrath. Then, verse 4 says, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.”
Both forms of mercy involve a compassionate heart that is motivated to reach out and help the person in need. As we walk in Jesus’ footsteps, His influence of mercy spills over in the way we treat other people. Jesus says in Luke 6:36, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
Mercy is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – To intercede is to petition God or pray on behalf of another person or group. Hebrews 7:25 refers to Jesus as the intercessor for those who come to God through him.
We also have the opportunity to intercede on behalf of others through prayer. At See You At The Pole, students gather around the school flagpole to intercede on behalf of their teachers, classmates, communities, and government officials. Jesus is there, because He said, “where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
First Timothy 2:1 says, “I urge, then first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior.”
Intercession is a quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – To be stouthearted is to be courageous or determined.
Worship of God leads to stoutheartedness, because when we adore Him for His might and mercy, we echo the rhetorical question made by the Apostle Paul, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
That does not mean physical harm will never come to us. Physical harm often came to the Apostle Paul. However, his soul was secure in God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Paul was confident that God’s grace was a mighty fortress that the enemy could not break down to get to his soul. So, he entrusted himself to God, and depended on Him to provide his needs and guide his pathway.
David had a stouthearted faith as a worshipper of God. He said in Psalm 138:2, “I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.”
Stoutheartedness is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – A frugal person learns to live within their means. They are not wasteful. They don’t spend unnecessarily.
The Bible warns us from going in debt beyond our ability to repay.
Frugality is one way to prevent from spending getting out of control.
In another way, frugality can be applied to the blessings that God has given us. On one occasion, Jesus fed the five thousand, and after this miraculous feeding, there were leftovers. Jesus said something very interesting at that point. He said, “Let nothing be wasted.”
Before our leftovers spoil, the way of frugality teaches us to put them to good use. Put them in the fridge for a future meal or snack. Make them available to a friend or neighbor in need. But this does not just have to apply to food. Frugality can be applied with other things around the house that we don’t use anymore, but may be useful to someone else. And frugality can be applied to our spiritual gifts as well. Let’s not waste the opportunities that God gives us to serve Him and to encourage others to live for Jesus.
Frugality is a quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – Productivity yields favorable or useful results. Productivity gets the job done
in an efficient manner.
But what does it take to be productive?
Business leaders might include some of these characteristics in their list of
productive employees: Positive attitude, Teachable, Remains focused on the task
(doesn’t get easily distracted), Follows instructions, Dependable (they can be
counted on to finish their task).
These are some ways in which we can be
productive servants of the Lord. In addition, we need to stay connected to
Christ and draw nourishment from His abundant grace. We are wise to walk with
Him as our Friend, worship Him as our Lord and Savior, and work for Him as our
worthy Master. Colossians 3:23, says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all
your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will
receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are
serving.” First Corinthians 15 reminds us that our labor in the Lord is not in
Productivity is a quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the
JOHN SHIRK – Godliness is character and conduct shaped by reverence for God. We might
describe godliness as an outward expression of inward transformation.
Jesus once said, “Out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth
What is formed in the character of a person has a way of coming out
in the words we say. When holiness is formed in our character, godliness comes
Godliness has a training program and has great value in the eyes of
God. First Timothy 4:7 and 8 says, “Have nothing to do with godless myths and
old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is
of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both
the present life and the life to come.”
Some of the ways we can train to
be godly is by feeding on the nutrition of God’s Word, resting in the grace of
the Lord Jesus with a trusting heart, and exercising our spiritual gifts through
service and missions outreach.
Godliness is a character quality that
enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – With initiative, we have the incentive to begin or follow through with a plan.
For the follower of Jesus, initiatives should have their starting place with God’s Word. God speaks, and as we listen, we are moved to take action. It might be something we read in the Bible. It might be through a burden or passion that God is placing in our heart. If that is the case, the initiative that God calls us to do will be consistent with the mission of Jesus to bring about freedom and healing for people in His name.
Initiative is not about what we are able to do for God on our own strength. It’s about God working in us to act according to His good purpose. His love for people stirs us to a mission, so that we become active participants rather than passive bystanders in the way we live life. James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
Initiative is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.