In ancient times, a head covering was called a helmet. It was worn to shield the head of a person from attacking blows. In more recent times a head covering is called a hat and cap. They are worn to identify a military branch, sports team, company, college, or ideology we support.
More often than not, a hat or cap identifies an ideology we agree with and seek to promote. Caps are part of our expressive countenance and tend to reveal what we think, feel, and believe. Each of our expressions reveals what we value to the people and situations we encounter. Whose CAP are you representing and promoting? Do your expressions glorify a loving and forgiving God?
God created us to become reflections and resemblances (image and likeness) of His heart. (a) [see end notes for all Scriptures] Scripture encourages us to: “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the ‘schemes’ of the devil (opposition)…take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.” (b)
What is the helmet of salvation we are to ‘take’ and ‘put on’? Salvation is a process of redeeming and restoring. (c) Our cap of salvation is the loving and forgiving characteristics of God in Christ, whose ways protect us from the ill effects of hurts that come our way. Do our expressions resemble a supportive and life giving God or an ideology that seeks to divide and destroy? Our expressions disclose how Christ-like a person we are becoming.
What we are as a being does not define who we are as a person. Much like lamp parts produce light, the interactive function of ‘what’ we are (body, soul and spirit) produces the added value of ‘who’ we are as a person. Scripture does not speak of our heart as a bodily organ but as the expression that reveals the quality of our personality. God is most interested in the condition and development of our expressive heart, ‘who’ we are and are becoming as a person. (d)
The expressive traits of our heart can be defined in three categories; character, attitude, and personality (CAP). While each is different, they function in tandem. The expression of our hearts reveals and produces both good and evil (productive and destructive) results.
Character speaks of our moral fiber. It illustrates different aspects of a person’s nature as honest or deceitful, kind or mean, loyal or shifty, courageous or fearful, charitable or selfish.
Most people’s character fails to be consistent in every situation. Occasionally we are respectful, responsible, kind, and fair, but not constantly. Everyone has some good and not so good character traits. Jesus spoke of the heart’s moral fiber when he said some expressions indicate we are like “children of the devil.” (e) The Greek word translated ‘devil’ means – one who opposes.
The expressive character of our heavenly Father is illustrated in Christ Jesus. While we can seek God in a variety of ways and through different methods, the better way is to approach Him as a child desiring to learn of His ways and emulate His character, as Jesus did.
Put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (f)
The expressive character of our heavenly Father is illustrated in Christ Jesus.
Attitude speaks of our temperament. This illustrates a person’s good and bad moods as loving or hateful, humble or proud, flexible or rigid, productive or destructive.
There are three primary categories of attitude: positive, negative, and neutral. A positive attitude notices the good rather than the bad and tends to be optimistic, and confident. A negative attitude notices the bad, complains a lot, blames others for failure, and tends to be doubtful, jealous, and angry. A neutral attitude is not easily swayed by extremes, works to overcome problems, and is more at peace.
It is also rare for someone to always be positive or negative, productive or destructive (good or evil). We generally bounce between different attitudes in different situations. What we think, feel and understand influences our attitude and can skew the quality of our interactions.
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus. (g)
What we think, feel and understand influences our attitude and skews our interactions.
Personality speaks of our social behavior. These qualities illustrate a person’s disposition. There are four recognized personality traits.
- Melancholic: Analytical, perfectionist. Tends to search details, to better understand.
- Phlegmatic: Amiable, peaceful. Tends to shy from controversy, to get along.
- Choleric: Driver, powerful. Tends to push the point, to achieve and get things done.
- Sanguine: Expressive, popular. Tends to draw attention, to be likable and accepted.
We all express ourselves, mainly but not exclusively as one of these four personality types. The first two listed tend to be introverts and the last two extroverts. Introverts lean toward being quiet, reserved, and withdrawn from the spotlight. Extroverts tend to be talkative, boisterous, and love the spotlight. Neither expressive mode is right or wrong, so each can be envied or disliked.
How well does your heart reflect and resemble the heart of God? We want to check our expressions to ensure they reflectively resemble the values of the character, attitude and personality (CAP) of God-in-Christ. Does your helmet of salvation resemble forgiving grace?
So that…you may become partakers of the divine nature…in your faith supply moral excellence…knowledge…self-control…perseverance…godliness…brotherly kindness…love. For, if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (h)
The quality of our heart expressions identify “who” we are as maturing offspring and maturing children. We can all learn to capitalize on our strengths and improve our weaknesses so we can better reflect and resemble the heart of God as extensions of His CAP. Once we improve these areas of our lives, we can be blessings to others, daily. So, whose CAP are you wearing today?
We want to personally check our expressions to ensure they reflectively resemble the character, attitude and personality of God.
a) Genesis 2:7; b) Ephesians 6:10-11, 17; c) Philippians 2:12; Titus 2:11; d) Acts 13:22; 2 Thessalonians 3:5; e) John 8:42-44; f) Colossians 3:12; g) Philippians 2:5; 3:15; h) 2 Peter 1:4-8;
Keith Carroll, “The Relationship Guy”
Relational Gospel Founder