<<quality, moral fibre>>
Our character is the sum total of our inner qualities of the heart, what we are deep down inside. It is what we are in private when no one is even watching. Character is both developed and revealed by tests or challenges of life.
“In all things God is working for our good…so we will be conformed to the image of Christ” displaying the qualities of the divine nature which are found in Christ (Rom 8:28,29; Gal 5:22,23; 2 Pet 1:4-9). Why not commit to memory these verses to keep you on track as you grow in these desirable values.
As we spend time in intimate fellowship with Christ, responding correctly to the numerous challenges these attributes will slowly develop in us.
God sees and judges character while man focuses on the outward appearance and actions (1 Sam 16:7). In vanity we spend much time and effort maintaining the outer body yet very little developing the inner self – the real person (1 Pet 3:4). While character is developed by responding correctly to the small daily trials and maintaining good habits, it is revealed in the major challenges of life. A mature person of sound character is able to weather the storms of life with Christ. When under pressure or in pain what is revealed about our character? Do we just have a veneer of godliness or is it genuine all through? The Bible declares, “A tree is recognized by the fruit it produces…The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil out of the evil stored up in his heart” (Lk 6:44,45). Ultimately what’s within will be evident, for “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known” (Lk 12:2). Thus to ascertain a person's character look at the fruit of their lives. Consider their actions and what comes out of their mouth on a regular basis. This is not being judgmental but realistic.
Character is formed in the small everyday events of life but revealed in the big crisis points
towards God, critical of others and cynical about life in general, if under the stress we react negatively. The stretching and developing of our character through different and difficult circumstances is similar to how metals are purified. Through heat, the impurities rise to the surface and skimmed off leaving only the pure valuable metal.
Godly character will be reflected in integrity, patience, continuing trust, faithfulness, wise choices and willing obedience to follow Him with a putting to death of all the trademarks of the old flesh life (Rom 8:13; Col 3:5). Although we don’t choose the numerous potentially character forming situations we face in life each day, if we choose to respond to them correctly they will add and not subtract from the quality of who we are.
What do the irritations of life reveal about my character?
react rightly when the pressure is on because it is a natural reaction – a habit that has become part of your lifestyle. When the pressure was turned up, Daniel continued to pray because he had developed the habit in the relatively easy times and so carried on as normal (Dan 6:10).
“When the Lord has tried me I shall come forth as pure gold” (Job 23:10). We are often more interested with action and achievements (doing), while God is not committed to our comfort, but to our character growth (being). If your character is Christ-like your resulting actions will bring honour to God; it is love in action not just hollow words.A non-Christian person of good character keeps their promises, doing to others as they would like done to them, sacrificing their desires for the sake of
their ‘neighbour’ and lives with integrity. Even more so, these qualities should typify all believers who should also develop Godly character through knowing God intimately and obeying the Holy Spirits promptings. Am I growing in Christ?
The foundation for spiritual success is our personal character. Unless the character aspect is maintained and continually enhanced it will destroy your ministry (1 Tim 3:6). The Christian walk is not about giftedness but character.
Godly character with integrity equals right choices. Good character is acquired by disciplined lifestyle, good thoughts and choices together with courage and determination. It is our responsibility to control the input into the mind as what we see and hear has a huge influence on our thought life resulting in subsequent actions and reactions. We need to be self-disciplined and focused on others not our own desires. We determine whether we are a vessel of honour, useful to the Master (2 Tim 2:20,21).
Be motivated to pull out the ‘young weeds’ of unhelpful habits before they get established while nourishing the desirable ‘plants’ – those attributes which are wholesome and beneficial.Character can so quickly be tarnished, so put in place measures around your life to protect the vulnerable areas and safeguard yourself from Satan’s attacks. Being accountable to others and having witnesses helps keep us honest. A person with depth of character is steady and predictable, not changeable and unreliable while
“Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Cor 15:33).
Character provides a foundation that supports your talent. Pay attention to areas such as: self-discipline – conquering self by doing what is right even when you don’t feel like doing it; core values – fixed and un-moveable, guiding you even in the storms of life; consistency – reliability and faithfully focused on the goal; integrity – keeping your word, living out what believe without compromise.
Unless there is the depth of character within which is continually being developed, the outward ministry will bring about collapse. Prepare well and pay attention today, so you are not repairing tomorrow.
See also: being and doing, challenge, fruit (of the Spirit), inner man, input, integrity, lifestyle, pressure, reaction, responsible/responsibility, self-control, self-discipline, test/testing, trials.