Outside of salvation, nothing will empower you to live a life without regrets more than having godly character. Character counts. Character building is an important aspect of living a life that is honorable and pleases God. God desires us to grow in character; therefore, we should be constantly growing and not become stagnant in our faith. Every Christian parent desires to build in their child’s heart the qualities that most reflect Christ. These characteristics will help form and shape a future that is valuable, impactful and purposeful. The desire should be the same for us as well.
To begin to develop good character, you must understand what it is. Character is what defines you. It is the mental, moral and ethical qualities distinctive to a particular individual. It’s a person’s personality, nature and disposition. It is moral integrity. In many respects, character is the outward reflection of inward righteousness. It is what people will remember about you when you are long gone. Character is important, especially if you want to live a life of no regrets. When your time here on earth is done, will you look back and feel the magnitude of a life filled with regret? We get one chance to live this life, and we want to do it in the best way possible.
The Word of God lays out the clear path for character development, and it includes suffering, endurance and hope (see Rom. 5:3-5).
Character building starts practically the moment we are born into this world. Babies who receive love from both parents are often more well-rounded, content and successful as adults. They are more likely to be confident and assertive. Conversely, children who are born into a dysfunctional family, devoid of love and guidance, are more likely to struggle to find themselves or understand the direction they should go in life. The love of parents, or a single parent, is a critical aspect in character development.
Character development begins with making godly choices in every situation. I remember an incident that took place when we lived in Virginia and my son was just 4 years old. Logan wandered into the bathroom. I noticed he had been quiet, and after a few minutes I became concerned. I went into the bathroom and immediately noticed that the sink was almost filled to overflowing.
“Logan, what are you doing, son?”
“Mommy, I am mixing chemicals.”
I went over and peered into the overflowing sink, and sure enough, it was filled with chemicals—every perfume, face cleanser, skin moisturizer, hand softener, and liquid foundation I owned had been added in.
“Logan, why are you doing this, son? There must be hundreds of dollars’ worth of product poured into this sink, and now it’s all totally useless.”
I picked him up and carried him to the bed and told him that I was greatly disappointed. He knew he should not have done that. With all sincerity I gazed into his precious little eyes, and he said, “Mommy, you don’t want to prevent me from becoming a scientist, do you?” I knew then that I was in trouble, being outwitted by a 4-year old. It was a day of character building for both of us. Even at this young age, Logan knew better. For me, my character was being tested. Would I bring clear correction as I knew in my heart I should do, or would I give in to that smile that melted my heart and miss the opportunity to bring discipline so that it would not happen again? Sometimes doing what is right is hard to do, but it is always the best decision. If something costs you enough, you will learn to not do it, or you will learn to do things correctly so you will not have to keep paying the price.
We learn from the Bible and from instruction. We learn from our parents, and we learn from teachers and coaches. We learn from our mistakes. Or perhaps we choose not to learn and keep on paying for our mistakes. As long as we learn from our mistakes, we do not have to regret them because of the valuable life lessons we take away from the experience. On the other hand, heartache and regret come when we fail to learn from our mistakes and constantly repeat them over and over again.
Character is not who you are in the light, but what shines through in the midst of utter darkness. If you look back at the mistakes that you have made, have you learned from them, or are you still making the same mistakes? True reflection will help you to be honest with yourself and will help you put things into perspective. You may have heard the expression that your heart is the best compass. That’s a lie; our hearts are deceitfully wicked. The Word of God is the best compass.
Prayer Power for the Week of March 11, 2018
This week, ask the Lord to reveal any character flaws that need His intervention. Look into His Word for guidance in changing what needs to be changed. Ask the Holy Spirit for His enabling power (grace) to make the necessary changes. Embrace His life lessons and discipline in forming your character to be like His. Continue to pray for the nation and its allies. Pray wisdom and protection over our leaders and those working with them to ensure our peace, prosperity and safety in this world. Read 2 Peter 1:5-7, Romans 5:3-5