June 12, 2013
Character is the sum of the moral and ethical features and traits that form the individual nature of a person. Personality is the sum total of the physical, mental, emotional and social characteristics of an individual—the individual characteristics that make a person unique. Reputation is the opinion others have of us based on what they know and observe about us
Character that projects a pleasing personality and reputation is something to be admired in a person. God gives us the seeds to grow a godly character when He saves us from sin and makes us a new creature. We must take what God gives us and use it to form and develop our character after the tenets of His holy Word.
One way to develop a good character is to think on wholesome things. Consider the following verse from Philippians 4:8. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Virtue means moral excellence. The Apostle Peter had some timely advice on developing a virtuous character. He gave us a list of things that would help form virtue in us. These things are found in 2 Peter 1:4-8. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (5) And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; (6) And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; (7) And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. (8) For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
These things will develop a good character as we cultivate the divine nature in our hearts by taking heed to them. These are qualities that each child of God should strive to possess. They help prepare us for our heavenly home while setting us apart from the children of the world.
We have examples left on the biblical record where God’s commendation was shown toward some individuals of excellent character. Abraham, Job, and Daniel were three such men. God’s confidence in their devotion and character caused Him to recognize them on special occasions. When God decided to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, He would not hide this act from Abraham. “And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do” (Gen. 18:17). God revealed this to him because of the sterling character which he had demonstrated before God.
Good old-fashioned moral virtue in character is becoming rarer with each passing year. Business, political and social life standards are deteriorating at a rapid pace. Business deals and political promises are virtually undependable in today’s society. Even the games our children play are increasingly laced with violence and sensual overtones. Amid all this depravity, we as Christians are called unto virtue, holiness, and honesty. The light of our godly character must shine out to this lost and dying world to let them know that God has a people that will deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world (Titus 2:12).