Hard work. I’m not a huge fan I admit. But, if there is a challenging situation that requires a little extra time, effort, energy, and patience, I say to myself and anyone listening in,
“This is building character!”
What is character?
For me it is the brick and mortar of who a person is, the core of who you are, the substance that feeds your personality, and the mindset that governs your response to external influence.
char·ac·ter | ˈkerəktər/ | (noun)the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.
Just like the growth from child to adulthood, character is something that is developed over time. It is the learned and practiced response produced by the interaction between an individual and the people, places, things, and ideas around them. These responses are also produced in part by the examples modeled by others. They are replicated and in effect integrated into the person’s character bank.
Character building is a timely and sometimes painstaking process. Undoubtedly, society is generally aware of what good character is and what it isn’t. We prove this by the things we label – calling people and the things they do bad or good. This same awareness, however, can unfortunately result in falsely portrayed character traits which are easily fostered by facelessness behind today’s social media screens. There’s no way to know who is truly who they say they are.
these days building character is often rejected for the ease of effortless portrayal of your ideal self.
social media, anyone?
It’s easier today to project the person you want to be, and hide nonchalance and aimlessness behind masks of neutrality.
This is the reason the masses are just shells of humanity:
- Without heading – (no plans for the future);
- Without purpose -(going along with the flow);
- Without cause -(passionate about nothing);
- and without resolve (completely apathetic)
- People have become ambiguous:
- in moral quality (there is no right or wrong just preferences);
- in natural tendencies, (sex and gender are self-defined);
- in personality, (schizophrenic by definition but applauded as individuality);
- in disposition (supporting everything for the sake of looking supportive);
- and mentality (opinions are shaped by everyone else).
It’s difficult to tell what anyone stands for anymore, if at all. The majority are afraid to “rock the boat.” Society has taught us to tiptoe around issues of real substance. We are warned to accept everything, make room for everyone’s preferences, and offend no one.
Ephesians 4:14 warns us to “be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;”
What does this mean?
We must stand firm in our convictions. Refusing to be tossed about is achieved through actively and directly responding to external influences in a manner consistent with one’s beliefs, not being passive or neutral about everything. Those are the enemy of good character. Building a Christ-like character requires diligence. It requires action.
Here is an excerpt from a passage with great character building tactics:
“…throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
See? “Throw off” and ”let” and “Put on” are all actions. Let’s read on.
“So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, [neither give place to the devil ]”
Again , “stop”, “tell” and “don’t sin” are active, not passive.
“If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:22-32 NLT
Building good character is direct and intentional. It is actively surrendering, actively choosing, actively yielding, until a desired trait is a part of you. We need more of this in our aimless and self-seeking world. We need people with a purpose that supersedes selfish ambition. We need people with resolve for more than the current trending topic, and with rapport with those who can make a difference.
This is hard work. This is how we change our world.
about the author
Chantel is the wife of an awesome spirit filled man of God, mom of the fun “spectacular six”, and a daughter of the most high King. She has a heart for connecting with others: a passion for evangelism, a joy for writing poetry and songs, and a desire to stir people to a relationship with God through His Word. You can also find her on her blog here – One Message – One Faith.