Growing up, my parents expected us to behave sensibly and responsible. My mother was strict and did not have a problem using physical discipline (which now would be considered child abuse). My mother demanded obedience. I was raised to know the difference between right and wrong, and that there were consequence when you chose to do wrong. Our character is the sum of all the qualities that make us who we are; our values, our thoughts, our words, and our actions. Our character is much more than just our reputation. Our reputation is only what others see and think about us. Our character is who we really are, even when no one is watching.
I believe God puts a moral knowledge within us. The Holy Spirit is our voice of conscience, the voice of reason, wisdom, good sense, and good judgment. When we make it a habit of listening to and obeying the Holy Spirit, it builds our character. When we go through storms, it builds our character. God cares more about our character than religious performances. As Christians, we should seek to do what is right and acceptable before God and our brothers and sisters. We have to decide whether we will lie or tell the truth, do the job right or fake it through, take the easy road or the right road, etc. Life is filled with temptations, obstacles, frustrations, inner struggles and dilemmas that we all have to cope with, things which will test our character.
To be a witness for Christ, we have to walk a separate road than the popular road. The popular road belongs to the world. We can’t have both, God and the world. Our character is influenced and developed by our choices. Daniel “resolved not to defile himself” in Babylon (Daniel 1:8), and that godly choice was an important step in producing an unquestionable integrity in his life. Because Joseph was a man of integrity, he was falsely accused and thrown in jail. (Genesis 39:1-20). “But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love: he gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer.” (Genesis 39:21). God stands by people of integrity like Joseph, and before long the prisoners are placed under his care and the Lord blesses his work and Joseph’s reputation is enhanced. “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” (Proverbs 11:3).
What characteristics should describe a true Christian? How is the true follower of Christ to live? We can find the answer to these questions in our instruction book on life, the Bible. When we surrender our life to God, we gradually conform to what God has revealed to us about His nature and will. (1 John 1:4-7). We seek to live a life that is pleasing to God. To be a Christian means to follow Christ, to strive to be like Christ. We fall short most times, but we have the desire to know God’s will, strive to obey it, and we repent when we are disobedience. As Christians there should be a change that happens in our character. It is a process. It takes practice. It takes prayer. It takes connecting with the Holy Spirit living inside of us, and it takes knowledge and the study of God’s Word. As the saying goes practice makes perfect. We can develop our character by controlling our thoughts, practicing Christian virtues, guarding our hearts, and keeping good company. Christians should set a good example for others to follow, and their godly reputation should be evident to all. We can’t do it alone. We need the Holy Spirit and God’s grace. At the end of the day, our character should match our witness for Christ. Love and Blessings…
“For we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man.”
(2 Corinthians 8:21)
“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.” (Proverbs 22:1)
“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.” (Proverbs 10:9)
“And endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” (Romans 5:4)
“Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord!” (Psalm 119:1)