Character is generally defined as
the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.
Beyond that, character is generally thought of as “doing the right thing even when no one else is looking.” Without really intending to, many of us have generalized that character is something we develop when bad things happen in our lives. Or we think of it as part of a long list of things we need to teach our children.
Character is so much more than that.
My character is tied to my relationship with God.
In my study notes, I’ve written the following definition.
Character – doing the right things for the right reasons every time. Even when no one is looking. Being who God defined me to be.
It’s not enough to do the right thing. It’s not enough to do good behind closed doors. I only begin to approach “enough-ness” when I approach the throne on a daily basis.
The bible is crammed full of verses on character.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, (Romans 5:3-4)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge; and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness; and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. (2 Peter 1:5-7)
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Proverbs 31:10
When I think of character, I think of fruit.
Seriously. When I think about the kind of character I want to see in my life or the lives of my children, it starts to read like a list from scripture.
I know it’s a long list. But it’s all right there in the scriptures I listed. Those are all the things that God promises us as a direct result of a close relationship with Him.
The conclusion is pretty obvious to me.
It’s true for me.
It’s true for my children.
It’s true for you.
Draw near to God. Character follows.
Note: This post is part of an ongoing series expanding the vision first shared in the 31 day series on writing.
C is for Character