Character can be built! Stephen Covey has defined character as competence and trustworthiness combined (Principled Centered Leadership). Someone could be incredibly competent as a dentist, but not very trustworthy with your teeth. In this instance they lack character! You might make an appointment to see this dentist, and they may decide not to see you because they would rather go and play golf. Because of their lack of character, they fail to tell you about their change of plans. On the other hand someone may be very trustworthy but not at all competent. What would you think of the character of a dentist who was very trustworthy but had failed every reputable dentist training course and opted for a mail-order overseas non-accredited do-it-yourself school of dentistry to certify him? There are certain things that we can do to build our character. We might call some of these things character tools.
You'll remember in our first study that we contrasted the difference between being an emotional person, and being a person of character.
1. How does Matthew 5:41 relate to being emotional?
Start with little responsibilities (putting the garbage out, tidying our spaces, ring customers back the same day with requested information, meet your wife on time, have your husband's dinner/slippers/newspaper/TV program ready).
2. How would you describe Christ's approach to the difficult things in life as described in Luke 22:42? Was He emotional or Character?
Generosity enlarges a person's capacity to handle difficult times. The tendency of very emotional people when things get tough financially is to tighten up. But people of character have confidence about the future and know that whatever they sow, they'll also reap. In his book, Rich Dad's Guide To Investing, Robert Kiyosaki talks about how he went broke. His Christian mentor had taught him the value of being generous to his church, charities, and those in need. At his lowest financial point, where he had nothing except a mountain of debts, he chose to give. This strategy took plenty of character. But it eventually led to him becoming a multi-millionaire. He says in the book, "You must learn to give away the very thing you want most." In his case it was help, and cash.
3. The Psalmist observed the righteous over a long period of time. What did he note about them and their circumstances according to Psalm 37:25-26?
4. According to Psalm 112:5 what enlarges a person's capacity to be receive blessing
Pay your bills on time; render to the government what is rightfully theirs, and to God what is rightfully His; support church projects; give and lend to the poor, are all character tools.
The "P" in pressure stands for PEOPLE, learning how to relate to people under pressure is an essential element to persisting.
5. What virtue in Luke 11:8 does Christ commend?
Persistence (endurance/patience) is the furnace of character.
Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Walk on water, even if you sink after a few steps! Defeat will inevitably come from time to time, call it failure, or losing, and then learn from it for the future.
6. How does Proverbs 24:16 relate to the formation of character?
7. How does James 5:16 relate to accountability and the relationship of the believer to a small group of other believers?
8. How will character development help reach non-Christians?
© 1999-2000 Andrew Corbett, Legana, Tasmania
Bible Study Catalogue
Bible Study Catalogue