Tag Archives: character

The Truth About Character Building

Volume1So, I write character building resources for children and adults, for parents to help their children grow in godliness, for churches to instruct new believers in becoming Christlike, for individuals hungry for holiness.  Will studying character building books make you a model Christian?  Will they solve your integrity issues?  Here’s the truth: NO.

Christlike character is not something that can be gained from a book.  It is not something you can discipline yourself into achieving.  If we are not careful, we can become legalistic about good character in ourselves and in others.  You see, godly character cannot be applied from the outside-in.  It starts in the heart and spreads outward.

Volume2As I see it, Bible-based character building resources are meant to be tools to make us aware of Who God is and to spark a desire to be like Him as we see Him for Who He is.  They provide a framework, a guideline, to get us to think about His purity, to drive us to gaze at Him, so that as we gaze, we are transformed into His image.  They are not self-help materials that promise, “Do it this way and you will be perfect.”  They are not a set of rules.  They are not the answer.

Jesus is the answer.  True godly character comes from being with Him, in His Presence, spending time in love relationship with Him.  As we do that, Holy Spirit, Who dwells inside of all believers, begins to transform us into the image of Jesus.  He starts to nudge about this and that thing in our lives that He wants to make better.  Most of the time, when we are so close to Him, we don’t even notice the transformation taking place in us until after the fact.

RIver Life TeacherWhen I was first baptized in the Holy Spirit, I had a terrible temper.  But that melted away, because He was living in and through me, until one day, I discovered with shock, “I haven’t had a temper tantrum in the last six months! How or when did that happen?”  Today, it would be a totally foreign thing to me to blow up in anger.  Why?  He just did that in me.  It didn’t come by me striving for it.  Sure, there are times we must consciously exercise discipline over things we see in our lives that need to be different, but by and large, it is His transforming work from the inside-out that makes a genuine change.  We just cooperate with Him by staying attuned to Him and yielding ourselves — kind of like letting Him lead in the dance while we follow.

When we get hold of the truth of just letting Him re-form us, rather than striving to do it to ourselves (or to our children), we have freedom and joy in our Christian life.

So, how do you really come into having good character, excellent integrity?  Hunger after Jesus.  Listen for His whispers.  When He speaks, yield to Him.  He’ll get you where you need to be.  You are His workmanship, not your own. 

Full Gospel Family Publications

Changing Your Negatives into Positives

Every one of us struggles with negative qualities in our character — flaws that we would prefer not to have to overcome.  Perhaps you feel badly about having certain traits, and you wish you could change them.  There is good news: your weaknesses can become your strengths, and God delights to help you with the necessary changes. 

Every character flaw is actually a good quality that has run amok.  Once we understand this concept, it is far easier to love ourselves as we are, and make the adjustments that will set things right.  You see, our less-than-lovable character traits are due to a marring of God’s image within us, a distortion of God’s original plan for us.  The distortion is there because of Adam and Eve’s fall into sin way back in the Garden of Eden.  But ever since Jesus redeemed all mankind through His atonement at the cross, He has been restoring all things.  He wants to restore you! 

Let’s take a look at some common negative character qualities, and see what God wants to restore us to.  Each negative quality has an equal and opposite positive side to it, the unmarred trait that was God’s original intent for us. 

1.)  Stubbornness becomes persistence and perseverance when the restorative hand of God is applied.  The persistence/persevering side is crucial for intercessors and Christian leaders. 

2.)  Criticalness is the flip side of discernment.  Discernment is a vital tool in getting Kingdom work done.  When we understand the difference between these two, we no longer have to feel paralyzed by negative impressions received in our spirit-man.  (See my post, Criticalness or Discernment?)

3.)  Bossiness is the immature mark of born leadership.  Born leaders see the goal and just want to get it done!  Developing a heart of servanthood helps us overcome bossiness. 

4.)  Arrogance transforms into confidence.  Arrogance is all about me and what I can do in my strength; confidence is all about knowing who I am in Christ and letting His Spirit work through me. 

5.)  The tendency to be controlling becomes decisiveness and the ability to take the lead when a need presents itself.  Control has a root of not trusting God.  As we yield to Him and let go, He teaches us when to take the reins and when to restrain ourselves.  We learn to delegate, rather than manipulate, and to leave our hands off of whatever is not our realm of responsibility. 

6.)  Paralyzing timidity and fearful caution change into prudence that weighs situations in the balance and moves forward in wisdom. 

7.)  Blunt lack of tact, when redeemed, becomes a steady directness, a stay-the-course truthfulness, seasoned with grace. 

All of the above negative character traits become positives when they are remolded by the Holy Spirit into actions tempered by love. 

How does God bring forth the positive? Time with Him reshapes us into His image and imparts His heart to us. We become like the One we lavish our hours upon in prayer, Bible meditation, and listening to Him.

Suffering brings forth humility and compassion for others.  Yielding ourselves to His discipline, allowing Him to bring us through testings, and submitting ourselves to others are all necessary components for growing in Christ-likeness.  The refiner’s fire cannot be avoided if we wish to move forward in the Lord’s plans for us.  When we bring our known faults before God and actively ask Him to redeem them, we open the way for Him to transform us. 

There is a good future ahead of you.  Don’t let your weaknesses keep you down.  Instead, give the Holy Spirit free rein to work on them, and watch Him change them into strengths worthy of honor.

 For character building resources for children and adults, please see our website — Character Building for Families

Leadership, Jesus-Style

This article has moved. Here’s the new link at Lee Ann’s Character Building for Families website.