Church of God, New World Ministries

What’s All This Talk About Character?

Without it you probably won’t achieve your dreams and plans. You need to know what character is and how to build it!

Can you keep a secret? Your ability to keep a secret, the way you play sports and even how much you choose to eat all have something in common. They’re all aspects of a much talked about but seldom understood subject character.

What is character and why is it important? How can you build more character? What’s your character like? There is a serious lacking of character in our country today. You need to know what character is, and see what your character is really like.

Many men have tried to define character, but most of them miss the mark. Why? Because they don’t take into account man’s awesome purpose, which is the major reason we need to develop character in the first place. (To learn God’s Plan of Salvation for mankind enroll today in our mini-series God’s Master Plan”.)

Character is the ability, in a separate entity, to come to the knowledge of the right from the wrong - and to choose the right; and possess the will to enforce self-discipline to do the right and resist he wrong.

To know, choose and do what is right a simple definition, yet an all-encompassing one. Following this approach can make life much happier and fulfilling now, because doing what is right produces happiness. More important, character is necessary so that you may be safely entrusted with greater powers so that you can achieve your tremendous potential. God can’t give such incredible powers to someone who hasn’t been able to control the limited powers he has now.

What we do every day is important. Each day we face situations that require decisions and our character is tested by the quality of these decisions.

At school you are tested in many ways. Are you always on time for class? And do you consistently complete assignments on time? Or does the teacher have to extend the deadline for you? Do you “cheat” on exams?

With your friends the test of character may be loyalty. Can you keep a secret? Can you be trusted with confidential information that, if revealed, could seriously damage a friend’s reputation? There is a proverb that states, “A whisperer separates chief friends” (Prov. 16:28). Gossip can destroy another person’s confidences in you. It’s an act of disloyalty.

In athletics, the test of character comes in many ways, for example, put yourself in this position: Your volleyball team needs one point to win. You are on the front line as your teammate serves for the final point. The opposing team returns the serve in your direction.

As the ball arcs high in the air, you position yourself next to the net, timing your leap to coincide with the ball’s descent on your side. You leap and spike the ball into the opponents’ court with no hope of return. You have scored the winning point! At the time all eyes were focused on your skillful return, you touched the net with part of your body an infraction that would nullify your point. But, it’s an unrefereed match and everyone is supposed to call his or her own errors. As your teammates surround you with congratulations, the joy of victory is tempered because you are aware of the penalty. You, and only you, know what happened. What do you do? tell them that you touched the net or ignore your conscience and celebrate, your personal honesty is being tested. With this situation, honesty is being tested. Character is sometimes defined as what we are in the dark, when no one is watching.

Another aspect of character is the ability to achieve a goal. Call it perseverance, stick-to-itiveness or dogged determination, it is the desire to stay with a job until it is finished.

In athletics, it would be the endurance to finish the 2 mile run as your lungs are burning and heaving for air. On the piano, it is the persistence and hours of practice required for a student to master a difficult piece of music with all its precise demands.

How is character built? It is built by the decisions we make every day. Brick by brick, layer by layer, a structure is built that is either strong or weak, a beautiful palace or a broken-down shack. It is reinforced at the times we say no to a temptation when we choose to obey what is right and resist what is wrong.

Character is destroyed by a series of compromises that multiply one after another. The first time you miss a deadline or fail to be totally honest can be the start of a habit that cripples personal integrity. Keep your consciences clean.

Don’t take that first step. Don’t compromise. If you have in the past, don’t’ allow that to make you compromise now. Don’t do it again.

If we consistently choose to compromise, we can sear our consciences into insensitivity and lose any fear of disobedience, ignoring every warning from our consciences can even cause us to lose all ability to distinguish right from wrong.

What about your character? How would you evaluate its strengths and weaknesses? Do you have self-control? How well do you control your emotions, desires, appetites and fears? Can you say no to yourself when a desire may not be to your advantage?

Self-control means a mastery of your life according to right principles. These principles are defined by the law of God. Proverbs 25:28 states: “he that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”

Do you have peace of mind? Is there an inner contentment in your life? Not that you won’t find problems or tests in life. All of us will have troubles to contend with and various obstacles to overcome. Peace of mind comes from confronting life’s challenges with honesty, unselfishness and perseverance, knowing you’ve done your best, and leaving the rest to God.

Character. It’s vital to your success, happiness and peace of mind, now and in the future. No one can just give it to you, not even God. it takes effort on your part, but when you make that effort God will back you all the way. He wants you to have character and all the other grand things that come with it!

Looking forward to the Kingdom of God, only those who develop Christ-like character during this lifetime will reign and rule with Christ. That should be incentive enough to motivate us to choose right over wrong every time.

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