Some time ago, I picked up a John Maxwell book. The first chapter was on “character.” Let me share with you some of what he teaches.
John says we all want “character,” and yet it’s not always clear what that means. We may boast of the essential qualities that make strong characters such as honesty, commitment, principles, and courage, but talk is cheap. We say “amen” with a nod of our head when someone speaks of these qualities. But do we know them? Are they part of us? Do we practice them?
One of the quickest ways to evaluate our character is by using the word “adversity”. You know what that is. It may be a misfortune, affliction, disaster, distress, trouble, etc. We all get to enjoy some of these throughout our lifetime.
One of the quickest ways to evaluate our character is by using the word “adversity”.
It’s at those moments that we discover our real character. Will we choose the path of compromise? Will we give up? Will we yield to negativity and whining? No one needs character when there is no adversity, but let trouble come – and what will we stand for?
Another way character is seen is when we are tempted. This never stops. We are vulnerable to temptation because it lies to us that “we can get away with this…no one knows…it will save me time or money… so I’ll do it.” The problem is that the easy way is rarely the right way, and the easy way is rarely satisfying. That’s why after giving in to temptation, we are left feeling bad, guilty, sad, and negative.
I thought for a few minutes about my own life and asked myself some questions: Do I have any grey areas? Is my character clear? I realized the way to build my own character is to pay attention to my grey areas. The things that are not quite right but not really wrong. That is always where character begins its travel down that steep, slippery road. Then we wonder how we got there.
Pay attention to the grey issues of life. Avoid them, and your character will be fine. Be transparent. Be black and white and you will never have to worry about what others know. There will be no secrets and therefore nothing to hide. On that fact stands a good character.
Some final thoughts:
1. It’s never too late to change.
2. It takes time to build something of quality—don’t give up or give in.
3. It’s not fatal to fail but it may be fatal not to try again.
4. It’s not a sin to be tempted—only to yield.
5. It’s always good to look at where the decision is taking you.
6. It’s necessary to ask Holy Spirit for help in our weaknesses.
7. WATCH FOR GREY AREAS OF PRINCIPLES AND MORALS. STAY BLACK AND WHITE.
Are you consistent in what you stand for, whether in good or tough times? Do you struggle to stay black and white in the gray areas of your life? Are you transparent in all that you do? Does adversity cause you to give up?
Romans 8:14, For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
Reading Plan: Numbers 16-22
Heavenly Father, I pray that I will not make compromises in the grey issues of my life. Holy Spirit, guide me in the everyday decisions I make, especially in my weaknesses. Help me not fall into temptation. Make me a person with a strong godly character!
It’s never too late to change! The next time you encounter a grey area in your life, ask Holy Spirit for help. Look at where every possible decision will take you.