Applying the Character Quality of Orderliness

Orderliness vs. Disorganization

3 min

Orderliness is keeping everything that is under our jurisdiction neat, clean, functional, and in its proper place.

Several Hebrew words are translated order. One such word is ’arak. It means “to arrange, set or put or lay in order.” Another word is taqan. This word describes Solomon’s setting “in order many proverbs” (Ecclesiastes 12:9). It means “to equalise [sic], make straight, … arrange in order.”

The Greek word epidiorthoo means “to straighten further, … arrange additionally” and is translated set in order. While this word is used only once, in Titus 1:5, other Greek words translated order have similar meanings. For example, the word used most frequently is taxis. It means “an arranging, arrangement.”

Interestingly, taxis is a derivative of tasso, a word similar in meaning to the Hebrew word ’arak. Both of these words can be used to refer to a military company that keeps rank, such as the valiant men of war who came to make David king. “All these men of war, that could keep rank [ma`arakah— derivative of ’arak], came with a perfect heart to Hebron, to make David king” (I Chronicles 12:38).

How to Be Orderly

Follow a wise schedule.

God’s first act in Creation was a demonstration of orderliness. He created light and then separated the light from the darkness. “And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night” (Genesis 1:5).

Many of us are familiar with this time-honored proverb: Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. The truth of this saying is guaranteed if we meditate on Scripture while going to sleep and waking up in the morning. “Blessed is the man … . [whose] delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. … Whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Psalm 1:1–3).

As orderly people, we should make the best use of every minute, because time is our most valuable asset.

Practice orderly behavior.

Orderly behavior is in harmony with the will of God and allows the Holy Spirit to produce His fruit in our lives. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22–23). Disorderly conduct is described in Galatians 5:19–21: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Perverted behavior occurs when that which God created for one purpose is instead used for an adverse and damaging purpose. God refers to immorality and perversion as “confusion.” (See Leviticus 18:23, 20:12.)

Maintain clean surroundings.

Clutter breeds filth and confusion. The saying “cleanliness is next to godliness” is not quite accurate, because cleanliness is indeed part of godliness. (See Exodus 19:10–11, Leviticus 10:10, and II Corinthians 6:17.)

Orderliness is easier to maintain when we keep only those things that are needed, have a place for everything we keep, and keep things in good repair.

Have order in God’s house.

Church order begins with qualified leadership. “For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?” (I Timothy 3:5). Order also involves coming to the house of God with reverence for the King of all the earth.

Orderliness also pertains to the sequence in which we give gifts to God. We are to give Him the firstfruits of all our increase, including the first part of our day, our week, and our income. “Honor the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine” (Proverbs 3:9–10).

To accurately portray Christ to the world, order within the church service is also important. “If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? … For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints” (I Corinthians 14:23, 33).

Personal Evaluation

  • Do you begin your day with quality time with the Lord and wise planning?
  • Do you go to bed early and go to sleep meditating on Scripture?
  • Do you seek to discern God’s will for every decision?
  • Do your clothing and appearance reflect order and show respect for how God made you?
  • Do you have an orderly system for necessary record-keeping?
  • Do you maintain your home, yard, and car carefully?
  • Do you have a place for everything and keep everything in its place, or do you own more than you can keep organized?
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