Character can be defined as a collection of personality traits within our behavior that shows who we are. This is seen in our integrity, attitudes, moral fiber, disposition, and how we treat those around us. Although this is true, character has to go much deeper than that. Character is who we are because of our relationship with Christ. It is something that can be built and learned as we follow Him. Furthermore, genuine Christian character is not just about our personality or our disposition. It is a description of who we are as Christians ? and what we are called to be in our entirety. It encapsulates the fruit of the Spirit, as outlined in Galatians five, and involves God’s continued work in us. Our character summarizes the essence of our walk with Christ, which is exhibited back to Him and then to others. Thankfully, our character and our faith can grow as they are applied in our daily lives. Therefore character is the display case of Christ and shows others our entire lives as Christians
Christian Character Involves a Choice
“So we continue to preach Christ to each person, using wisdom to warn and to teach everyone, in order to bring each one into God’s presence as a mature person in Christ.” (Colossians 1:28, NCV) For Christians, becoming Christ-like is the ultimate goal of our spiritual journey. To settle for anything less is to miss the point of spiritual growth. “…and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13, NIV)
Character is influenced by our choices. Moreover, God builds character in the circumstances of our life. He does this as we experience situations in which we are tempted to do the exact opposite of what character looks like. Character development always involves choice. When we make the right choice our character grows and we become more like Christ. If you want to know what Christ-like character looks like, a great place to start is the nine character qualities given by the Apostle Paul in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.” (NIV) If we are to develop a Christ-like character, we will need these qualities in our lives. Whenever we choose to respond to a situation in God’s way instead of following our natural direction, we develop character. Life brings all kinds of opportunities: conflict, disappointment, challenges, delays, and so on. As we are faced with life’s challenges on a daily basis and decide how to act, our actions become our habits and our habits become our character.
Christian Character Must Be Actively Pursued
Genuine Christian character is shaped when you surrender to Christ’s plan and purposes for your life. We are to allow His continual work to grow and enrich us as we submit to a lifestyle and an outlook on life that promotes character. Building and developing character is something we must desire. It is something that we must pursue and requires as active response through Scripture, prayer, and the practice of His presence lived through us. The response is to learn to model Christ, to be active in presenting Him, and to seek to fashion our lives according to what we perceive to be Christian Character.
Christian Counseling for Building Christian Character
As a Christian counselor, it is my privilege to walk alongside of people who need an additional voice to guide them when they question their decisions and how this affects their faith and character. Character needs to be a priority in all of our lives. Christian counselors deal daily with the results of lives that are not patterned according to Christian character and they know what effect this has on those lives and on those closest to them. Character is a legacy that we hand on to others ? what will your legacy be?
“Sunlught Through Trees,” by James Barker, FreeDigitalPhotos.net, ID: 100448; “Creepers,” by Matt Banks, FreeDigitalPhotos.net, ID: 1001658