Romans 12:9-12, 2 Peter 1:5-8.
The saying “charisma without character will end up in catastrophe” looks as if it’s just a slang among Christians but if one will look at it deeply, one will know that it’s a true saying. It takes charisma to provoke a miracle, but to maintain, sustain, and retain that miracle depends on one’s character. Many Christians today (Pastor’s inclusive) have gifts and talents in them that make them achievers but these achievements do not last because they lack the good character to uphold them.
It is generally accepted that no one makes it in isolation. Whatever one wants to become in life depends on how he’s able to work with people, and the major key that sustains your good relationship with people is your character. This is because “the attraction of your action determines people’s reaction to your contribution to the organization”.
In the place of Christian service, it is generally said that we are serving God not men but the truth of the matter is that we serve God among men. And men look at the outward appearance, it is only God that sees the heart. And you don’t say that your heart is right when your actions are wrong (Matt. 5:16).
Every scriptural principle starts and ends with human character. The Ten Commandments are laws guiding human character (Exo. 20:1ff). The fruits of the Spirit are the manifestation of good human character (Gal 5:22). Jesus took the time to teach his disciple that if their work will last and be fruitful among men, it should be supported by good character (Matthew 5).
Men who are effectively used by God in the scripture are men of good character and reputation. The difference between a man of success and a man of failure in the bible is the same major thing: character. History has given us the chronicles of men in this world who serve God in their lifetime, the propelling factor that determines their success or failure is their character.
Every organization that desires progress always have a code of conduct, the purpose of the code of conduct is to form an ideal character that will propel an effective service in every member. Every man is limited by his character because you can only operate where your character positions you. Your walk with God and also with men is determined by the quality of your character.
According to John Maxwell, ‘‘the greatest threat to your talent is not lack of opportunity but lack of character’’.
So Maxwell further explained this as he said:
“Many people with talent make it into the limelight, but the ones who have neglected to develop strong character rarely stay there long. The absence of character eventually topples talent. Why? Because people cannot climb beyond the limitations of their character, talented people feeel superior and expect special privileges. Character helps them to know better. Talented people are praised for what others see them build, character builds what’s inside them. Talented people have the potential to be difference makers; character makes a difference in them. Talented people are often a gift to the world, character protects a gift”.
This write-up is to focus on character development. How effective is it in our Christian service? How do we improve our character to propel an improvement in our Christian service? Since the largest room in the world is the room for improvement (this room can accommodate everybody). How do we correct our bad characters and inculcate good ones? All these questions will be attended to, as we depend on God to work in us to become what he wants us to be through the study of the scripture.
The Terms Defined
This is the sum of all qualities that makes you what you are: it is your value, your thoughts, your words, your action, etc. In order words, it is you. Your character is your person.
This is the gradual growth or formation of something. It is the process or result of making a basic design gradually better and more advanced. It is making something or more useful or profitable. To develop is to grow, to change over some time, to build upon, to expound, to increase, to become more successful, etc.
Component of Your Character
To deal with your character, you must know those things that make up your character, those things that combine to form your character and they include:
This is the idea you have in your mind. It controls your word and your world. It has a great effect on your actions because they are the practices of your thought
Your Imagination/World View
This is the ability that you have to form a picture or idea in your mind of things that are new and existing or things that you have not experienced. It is your mental picture, meditations, etc. Your world view is the way you see and understand things happening around you
There is nothing more fascinating about people than their inherent temperament. It is the temperament that provides each human being with the qualities that make each person unique from another. Temperament is the unseen force underlying human actions, a force that can destroy a normal and productive human being unless it is disciplined and directed. It provides both our strengths and weakness.
According to Collins Cobuild Advanced learner, EnglishDictionary’ “Temperament is your basic nature, especially as it is shown in the way you react to situations or other people”.
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines temperament as the emotional part of someone’s character, especially how likely they are happy, angry, etc.
Ole Hallesby said, “We receive our natural tendencies for the good and bad from our temperament”.
Tim Lahaye defines temperament as the combination of inborn traits that subconsciously affects all our behavior.
There are Four Major Temperaments
- Sanguine – a super extrovert
- Choleric – an extrovert
- Melancholy – an introvert
- Phlegmatic – a super introvert
Your attitude is the way you think and feel about particular events or situations. It shows in your words, your looks, and in your actions. Attitude is an inward feeling expressed by behavior.
James Allen said, “A person cannot travel within and stand still without”. What is happening within us will affect what is happening without.
According to John Maxwell, “a hardened attitude is a dreaded disease. It causes a closed mind and a dark future but when the attitude is positive and conducive for growth, the mind expands and the progress begins”.
So Maxwell explains attitude as follows:
- It is the advance man of our true self
- Its roots are inward but its fruit is outwards
- It is either our best friend or our worst enemy.
- It is more honest and more consistent than our words
- It is an outward look based on past experiences.
- It is a thing that draws people to us or sends them away from us.
- It is never content until it is expressed.
- It is a Liberian of our past.
- It is the speaker of our present
- It is the prophet of our future
He also explained some things about the attitude that one needs to note:
- Your attitude determines your approach to life.
- Your attitude determines your relationship with people.
- Often your attitude is the only difference between success and failure.
- Your attitude at the beginning of a task will affect its outcome more than anything else.
- Your attitude can turn your problems into blessings.
- Your attitude determines how far you will go in life.
Your actions are something that you do for a particular purpose and on a particular occasion.
Things to note about your action
- Your action speaks more about you.
- Your action speaks louder than your voice
- Your action attracts people’s reaction
Other attributes that contribute to individual character.
This means knowing what is going on around you. It involves all kinds of things like weather, sports activities, or a friend who is going through some tough times.
This means being interested or concerned about someone or something
This means having a positive outlook on things. It means thinking that things are going to turn out well. Optimistic people usually planned and prepare for things they are about to do and sometimes that helps things turn well.
Patience is the ability to wait for things without whining or complaining. It is a quality that many people do not have and it takes a long time to develop.
This means speaking and acting civilly and using a good manner. It’s a lot like courtesy and kindness. Another way to put it is by being “not rude”. Being polite means you know how to act in an open place
This is the ability to find a way of getting things done. It means you can figure things out even if the answers are not there in front of you. If you have resourceful, you will be more resourceful in your career.
This means showing regard to other people’s feelings and possessions. It is an attitude that you display every day. Showing respect for others is very important in the way you relate to people and it is a huge part of your character.
This is what you are showing when you own up to something. When you are responsible, you take control of your actions and obligations. It might also mean taking the blame for something that is your fault rather than pointing accusing fingers on someone else
This means being real and genuine- not fake. It means speaking or acting from the heart and meaning it. Sincerity is often the basis of very strong friendship because you know that the person is being real with you.
Teamwork means working together to achieve a common goal. Teamwork can lead to great things but everyone has to do their share.
This is your ability to accept values, practices, or beliefs that differ from your own it also means accepting people who come from different places and have different backgrounds.
This means you are worthy of someone’s trust. People know they can trust you and believe in you because of the kind of person you are.
How to Develop Godly Character
It Requires Desire and Determination.
The starting point of character development is your desire and determination. It will be difficult to develop what you don’t desire and if you want to get it, you must be determined to go for it. It is naturally believed that people go for what they want, what they have passion for. So, to develop a godly character, you must desire it and be determined to go for it.
Study the Word and Meditate in it
Psalm 1:1-3; Joshua 1:8
All the forms of godly characters are found in the scripture. Jesus said in Matthew 22:29 that you are in error because you don’t know the scripture and the power of God. God told Joshua to read, meditate, and observe what is in the scripture, so by doing what is writing in it, he will be successful and Prosperous. Paul told Timothy that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works”.2Tm:3:16-17.
So, if you want to develop a godly character, you must know the mind of God in his word.
Connect Help from the Holy Spirit
One of the passages that challenged me in the Bible is Romans 8:7-8: “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God”. This shows that developing godly character is impossible without the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit gives enabling to bear the fruits of the spirit and also gives the power for godly living. So, for anybody to develop godly character he must be connected to the Holy Spirit.
Keep Wise Company
David, out of his wealth of experience said in Psalms1:1 “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful”.Solomon also said he that walk with the wise shall be wise.” James said: evil communication corrupt good manners”. So to develop a godly character you must check the company you keep.
Practice The Word.
The best way to develop godly character is to actively practice what the word of God says. Jesus said to Satan in Matthew 4:4 that “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Practicing the word of God is to develop godly character.
Develop Moral Excellence
Genesis 37:2; 39:8-9; Dan. 1:8
To develop a godly character one must be able to develop moral excellence. You must be self-disciplined, maintain high moral value. Let your yes be yes and let your no be no. You must have self-control and always go for what is right and morally acceptable in line with the word of God.
Watch your Outward Appearance.
The appearance they say shows the manner. Even God told Prophet Samuel that man looks at the outward appearance while God looks at the heart. And Jesus told his disciples to let their good work be seen by all men. So, signs that you are developing godly character is that you watch your life, what you wear, what you say, and how you comport yourself wherever you go.
Benefits of Developing a Godly Character
Godly Character Makes your Christian Service More Effective and Rewarding
The dictionary defines character as moral excellence and firmness. The highest standard of character is outlined in the scripture and exampled in Christ. 1 Tim 4:7. In all, a godly character comes and makes your service rewarding through resisting every evil influence and impulse to the body of Christ, striving hard to meet up the platform of God’s standard. Heb 12:28-29, James 1:21-22
Godly Character Gives You Access to God’s Promises (Deut. 28:1-14)
The application of God’s promises cannot come into existence in our lives except based on godly character. When God gives us promises, we can be sure he will do what he has said, but this likely to come into reality as a matter of demonstrating his character and nature to us. Joseph is a good example, if he had allowed fornication, he would have been subjected and the access to God’s promises would have been shut down.
Godly Character Guarantees Your Success in Life (Josh. 1:8)
In life, there are certain characters which attracts favour naturally and also vice versa. The development of integrity places us on a high scale level been that God is involved. No one is just found at the top, he must first start from the bottom in regards to humility which enables us even ahead of imagination. Your character defines you.
Godly Character Gives You Ground in God’s Kingdom (Psalm 24:2-4)
No matter who you are, if sin is involved in your character, it means you have no place before God. Character is who you are and making relevance, it has you indebted to your God’s given responsibility, Heb 12:6-9. If your character is based on the pleasure of yourself, that means you are not yet on the right track. Many are involved in eye-service of which cannot place you and even if it does, it is meant for your doom.
Godly Character, Makes You Fruitful and Productive (2Pet. 1:8)
If you desire to be fruitful and productive, and you are involved in cheating, scamming, and making fortune out of other peoples misfortune and sweat, then you are not exhibiting godly character. responsibility is a key factor to make you fruitful, gives you ideas to new things, expose you to more and better opportunities as which your character is placed on
Have you seen a man who fell from the top and blames the Devil for it? The instrument the Devil used was his character. Have you seen a man who rises to the top and we thank God for it? The instrument God used was his character. Character is the first key to greatness. Your character determines your influence.
Character provides the opportunity for longevity in any career, any relationship, and any worthwhile goal. The beauty of humanity is expressed in character. So if your Christian life and service will be fruitful and productive, one area needs special attention: that is your character