It would seem that a major factor in succeeding in life would constitute identifying the core of the human personality. Knowing that tells us a lot about what we need to work on to grow as a human being. The discussion below I believe reveals that the answer is obvious.
What Is the Human Core?
A good case can be made that the core of the human personality is the will. In the last post we showed how the will ultimately decides the worldview embraced by the individual. Beyond that, other of the most significant qualities of the human being finds their source in the will. Courage, fidelity, morality, and responsibility represent just a sampling of crucial characteristics that flow out of human volition.
Though people differ in terms of natural gifts, even those are developed or left to atrophy or even damaged through the decisions of the will. One person may choose to eat unhealthy food and too much of it, smoke, do drugs, and embrace a couch potato existence, while another person might exercise his will to care for and enhance his natural capabilities with proper eating, exercise, and adequate rest. The same applies to the mind, with one person spending substantial time playing video games or watching sitcoms while another person invests time and energy in education and reading intellectually profitable material. We see, then, the person who may not be blessed in terms of appearance and intellectual ability can through the exercise of his will compensate substantially for that shortfall, surpassing the person who enjoys a greater gift-set but chooses injurious rather than beneficial options.
The Human Core in Scripture
Scripture also reflects that the will is central to the human personality. Think of the fall of humanity in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve had the choice to follow God or their own desires. It all came down to the will.
Likewise we find Joshua toward the end of his life calling the children of Israel to make a choice regarding whom they would serve.
And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)
We find a similar emphasis in the New Testament on the significance of the volition. Jesus gave this challenge: “And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’” (Luke 9:23)
The Apostle Paul spoke of the necessity of self-discipline as related to his ministry, using this as an example to call others to do the same.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
The writer of Hebrews urges the exercise of the will in regard to Christian living:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us….” (Hebrews 12:1)
In fact, the New Testament is replete with examples highlighting the centrality of the will.
Since the will is the core of the personality, it seems that success in life in great measure entails developing the will and employing it to make valid and godly decisions in the situations that confront us moment by moment and day by day throughout our life.
Nonetheless, my post tomorrow will reveal how both our secular culture and the evangelical community minimize the role of the will, and therefore rather than encouraging people to develop this crucial aspect of their personality contribute to its weakness.