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What is “character?” Character, in the sense I am talking about today, is the inbuilt complex of attributes that determine a person’s moral and ethical actions and reactions. In other words character is the total quality of a person’s behavior. Character is revealed through our habits of thought and expression; our attitudes, interests, actions, and personal philosophy of life.

Christians today should be the roll models for the rest of the world when it comes to character. In fact, we should not only be the roll models for character, but everything else too! In reality however, this is far from the truth. These days if you were to guess if someone was a Christian based solely upon character, it would seem that there weren’t very many around.

Having good character is important. First of all we have to remember that if we are claiming to be Christians, we are also representing Christianity. I must say that today some people are misrepresenting what Christianity is. When you have someone claiming to be a Christian, and their character doesn’t match up with their claim, people around them can get very confused. These people then say “well if that is what a Christian is then I definitely don’t want to be one.” This is why it is necessary for us to have good character. We are really the representatives of Jesus! We are supposed to be drawing this world, a world which largely does not know the Lord, closer to God, not turning them away from Him.

We must understand that to the rest of the world each of us (Christians) also represent the body of Christ (the church). In the eyes of many non-Christians, the success of each individual Christian’s life reflects the success and therefore truth of the church. What I mean by this is that when a non-Christian meets a Christian, they will directly associate that person: the way they act, the way they think, their successes and failures in life, to their religion, Christianity. Many will at first judge all of Christianity and it’s claims upon the lifestyle and actions of a single follower, you. By this we can clearly see that practicing good character is crucial.  Not only is practicing good character important, but it will rub off on others too! As Christians we should really be striving to achieve the best character we can have. When I think of great character, I think of Jesus.

Here is a list of many of Jesus’ character traits, the traits we should also have:

  • Forgiving
  • Benevolent
  • Joyful
  • Helpful
  • Good
  • Compassionate
  • Gentle
  • Humble
  • Loving
  • Faithful
  • Avoiding anger
  • Kind
  • Patient
  • Gracious
  • Harmless
  • Verbal Control
  • Childlike Spirit
  • Perseverant
  • Meek
  • Zealous
  • Merciful

Practicing these (and other) good character traits in our lives will align our actions with God’s Word and will: 1.) allow us to perform better in life, 2.) improve the quality of life for ourselves and others, 3.) set excellent examples and 4.) attract more people to Christ!

Having good character also means doing the right thing when no one is watching. An example of this is finding a lost wallet. A person with good character in this situation would return the wallet, and not only the wallet, but the contents as well. Yes that includes the money. Some people with poor character would twist the circumstances of finding a lost wallet to look like a blessing from God. “Oh thank you Jesus for sending me the money I needed!” God doesn’t need to take money from one person to give it to you. A Christian with good character walking in God’s love would simply proclaim in faith: “Jesus has and always will meet my needs; I don’t need to take away anyone else’s money!”

It’s the little things we do each day that helps to build good character. Here are some examples. When you eat at a restaurant, tip the waitress or waiter. Many Christians, after church on Sunday will go for breakfast and leave behind a tract every now and then. While this is good, would it not hurt to leave a tip and tract together? This way rather then making Christians look like uncaring, penny-pinching, “Jesus freaks” we would look like the generous and caring people we really are.

Other small things like holding the door for someone or making sure your garbage is put in the garbage bin builds character. Sometimes we have to even pick up other peoples trash too! Choosing not to gossip about someone when it seems everyone else is, that builds character. If someone undercharges you for a product at a store and you come forth with the truth about the price, that shows and builds character. Remember God sees all of these little things, and He will also bless your for following His ways. In addition to that, before God will trust us with bigger things, we must show Him we can be trusted in smaller things.

I notice a lot of the time that Christians can be quick to help other Christians, but what about non-Christians? God is not a respecter of persons and neither should we be. The homeless man means as much to God as Bill Gates, the Prime Minister or the Pope. Love is a crucial character trait that we need. We should love the non-Christians just as much as the Christians. After all it’s the non-Christians who are in danger of judgment.
Let’s start being the leading roll-models in the world that we should be. Let’s show others what true Christian character is. I leave you with this quote:

“You can judge the character of others by how they treat someone who has absolutely no value to them.
-William Lyon Phelps (adaptation)

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