Tag Archives: godly character

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

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Criticalness or Discernment?

A friend of mine recently expressed her sorrow over being a critical person.  I did not see her in that way.  What I saw was a woman of keen discernment.  She may have had moments when she operated in criticalness, but by and large, she was picking up on things in the spirit that she needed to know for her own safety and for the safety of those she ministers to.

Many Christians struggle with being critical, or with thinking they are.  It is important not to judge others, but if we are so afraid of judging that we are not allowing ourselves to hear clear warnings prompted by the Holy Spirit, we are missing out on important guidance from the Lord.

True discernment is deeper than merely observing others’ faults.  It is understanding of what is really going on, of motives behind actions, of heart attitudes.

There are two types of discernment – the natural and the spiritual.  Even those who are not Christians can have a natural discernment gift.  We say they are astute, and that no one can pull the wool over their eyes.  They tend to be analytical, understand how people tick, and are able to work well with others as a result.

God can impart to us a higher level of discernment as well.  People who operate in spiritual discernment will sometimes feel an uncomfortableness or an inner warning that something is not right about a person or situation.  God may be giving them discernment for the sake of protecting the local body of Christ from hidden evil.  God does not give us discernment about wrong in another person merely so that we can have inside information.  It is to help the person, or to protect ourselves or the local church.

There is a flip side to every weakness, and so it is with criticalness and discernment.  A character flaw is nothing more than a God-given character strength that has been marred by our fallen, sinful nature.  When sin entered the world, it corrupted the good things that God had placed within mankind.  God wants to restore us by remaking our flaws into the strengths they were originally intended to be.  For instance, stubbornness made positive becomes persistence or tenacity.  Bossiness, when trained and modified with tact and a motive of servanthood, becomes excellent leadership.  Criticalness is the peculiar flaw of those whom God has gifted in discernment.  Although discerning people may always struggle to some degree with judging others, God’s redemptive plan is to make something useful and powerful for His kingdom out of what was once a weakness.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about how to tell the difference between criticalness and discernment.

Next: Criticalness or Discernment? (Part 2) 

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River Life Adult Character Study

 

This article is based on an excerpt from Lee Ann’s book, River Life: Entering into the Character of Jesus, an adult Bible/character study, suitable for use by the individual or as part of a group study.  For more info and sample pages, please visit our web site.