Character is not only the future you.
Character is not just what a person will ideally be in the future. Character is what a person is at this present time. When pressure comes to a person’s life, the real person surfaces. A person may act and think one way under the blessings of the Lord, but quite another way when the trials and heat of life are his portion.
Character is not only what you do.
Character is not only how a person acts. Character also includes a person’s inner thoughts, motives and attitudes. Thoughts, though hidden, indicate the real character of a person. Motives, too, are true expressions of the inner man. To change the character of a person, one must go deeper than action.
Character is not only seen when life is easy.
Character does not appear without pressure. The pressures of life test what the Lord has really accomplished in a person’s character. When the heat is upon a person’s character, his true character surfaces. The common irritations of everyday living expose the weaknesses in every person’s life. How do you respond to the disappointments and pressures of everyday life? Character is formed under such pressures and circumstances. The qualities that are truly part of a person’s character are consistent, whether the heat is on or off his life.
Character is not only how you look.
Character is not only that which other people see on the outside. Character is what other people do not see. People may see only the side of a person that a person wants to display, but God sees the real person. An individual cannot hide his weaknesses from the Lord. Man may look at the externals, but the Lord looks at the heart. The Lord commands good works from each one of us, but these must proceed out of a godly character. A person can do many outward religious works, and still be ungodly. Works are not always a sign of good character.
Character is not just knowing right and wrong.
Character is not limited to having wisdom to comment on the behavior of others. Intellectually knowing how to act, think and feel consistently with Bible principles may be a far cry from actually living in harmony with those principles. A person with true character doesn’t just tell other people what to do, but lives as an example worthy of following.
Character is not just how you treat fellow believers.
Character is not limited to relationships between Christians. To believe that it does not matter how a Christian acts toward non-Christians is a deception. Character shows forth godly principles in every situation and toward all people. For example, a Christian worker must give the same respect to an employer whether he is Christian or not.
Character also shows in how he treats his natural family. A Christian must demonstrate his faith and love in the way he treats his immediate family. A person’s character can be discerned by the way he respects and honors his mother and father. A Christian with an unbelieving natural family can win his family to Christ by having a mature, loving character toward them.
Thus, from inward union with Jesus, lived out in the daily context of the community – in the family, the church, the leadership team and the world – God forms character. This is character of a quality that He can trust – character that has been refined in the fire.
To a man or woman of character, God can entrust a calling.
– adapted from The Making of a Leader by Frank Damazio