“While we are building our careers, our families, our churches, our bodies, let’s not forget to build our CHARACTER. For, good character is what sets us apart.” –
I posted this as a status on my personal Facebook page around the summer of 2012. I was going through my newsfeed when I noticed the usual positive postings. You have the fitness buffs posting their before and after pictures including their diet and exercise regimens, pastors posting their building fund victories online, Some of my old co-workers posting about their achievements academically and career wise, and let’s not forget the cute new additions to all the growing families. As all this success graced my computer screen I couldn’t help but wonder, “Do we put as much effort into building our character?”
Now when I posted that online it was not coming from a place of criticism, it was coming from my heart in a cautionary manner…For all of us. You see, most of my friends and family online are Christians. Most of the people I know are Christians. According to The CIA’s World Factbook, there are over 7 Billion people on this Earth who claim Christianity as their religion. That’s a huge population claiming Christ as their leader! As Christians the only thing that sets us apart (besides publicly professing our faith) is character. People usually don’t complain about Christ and the example that he set before us, they usually complain about our character flaws as Christians.
Ghandi says it best, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
Now before we get offended by Ghandi’s words, I strongly believe we can learn something from his observation. I’m also glad that Ghandi was able to make a distinction between Christ and his followers. As we all know some people cannot do the same. I know what we cannot control what others think about us, but we have the power to control ourselves. I’m not asking for a worldwide campaign to improve the image of Christianity, but I’m asking that we take personal responsibility to work on displaying character that reflects Christ and His character. Here are some practical ways for us to do so:
- Be self aware – Like Dr. Phil says “Grade your own paper”. Look for areas that you can improve on character wise. If you are have trouble examining yourself ask a close friend or family member that you trust to show you areas in your character where you can improve.
- Accountability- Ask that same person to keep you accountable for what you discover. This involves some vulnerability on your part. You are opening yourself up to constructive criticism. But remember that this is all for the betterment of ourselves and the kingdom.
- The Bible is also a best tool for accountability. The Book of Proverbs addresses many of our character flaws and also provides the remedy for them.
4. Be intentional- Look for ways and situations where you can grow in character.
For example if your hobby is fitness, be mindful to make sure that while you concentrate on getting fit that you are not neglecting your responsibilities at home.
While we are building our lives we should not neglect a greater work that is going on inside of us, the building of good character. We can have nice put together lives but are we known for our honesty, our humility, our dependability, and our willingness to help others? That’s the traits of a person of good character. Those traits will impact others and outlast any achievement or wealth that we acquire in this life.
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