Character matters. At the end of the day, our character will reveal itself for what it really is. When it comes to living with the character that Jesus has called us to, we must remember that it is cultivated. Character isn’t something you are born with – it is developed. Day by day and decision by decision, we are developing the character that shapes our lives. This past week at our Life Center Men’s event, I shared about 5 Character Thieves to avoid.
5 Character Thieves to Avoid
…and what we need to build to keep these thieves out:
WHEN I GROW COMFORTABLE HAVING A GAP BETWEEN WHAT I PROFESS AND WHAT I PRACTICE
We are all capable of having a disconnect in our lives. This gap, over time, begins to erode our character. It is one thing to experience that gap between what we profess and what we practice – the danger is when we grow comfortable with it. It will rob us of the character that will protect our lives.
What we need to build to keep this thief out:INTEGRITY
“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.”Proverbs 11:3, ESV
WHEN NO ONE HAS BEEN GIVEN AUTHORITY OR ACCESS TO CALL ME OUT
Who in your life has the ability to say to you the things that you don’t want to hear? When no one has the right to say what needs to be said, we are quickly going to find ourselves in dangerous places and spaces. We all have the capacity to drift, and we need people in our world who will speak truth to us.
One of our Life Center staff values we are working on is HONESTY. Here is what that value states:
I will be honest with God, with myself and with others. I will have a few trusted people in my life who have the freedom and authority to truthfully and lovingly call me out when they see a discrepancy between what they see in my life and what they see in scripture.
What we need to build to keep this thief out:ACCOUNTABILITY
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”Galatians 6:1, ESV
WHEN ISOLATION IS MY DEFAULT SETTING
When we allow isolation to become the way that we live life, we are going to experience trouble. We were created for community. We need it. None of us are exempt to this. We never get better in isolation. In fact, one of the most severe punishments in our criminal system is to be placed in solitary confinement. Why would we willingly opt for that?
It is important to remember that we need solitude. But remember: solitude and isolation are NOT the same thing.
What we need to build to keep this thief out:COMMUNITY
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”Galatians 6:2, ESV
“But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”Hebrews 3:13, ESV
WHEN MY APPETITES BECOME MORE IMPORTANT THAN GOD’S DESIRE AND DELIGHT
Every one of us has appetites. We all have cravings in our lives. The battle for each of us is deciding ‘who is in control?’ – or more importantly – to what or whom will we give control?
What we need to build to keep this thief out:SELF-CONTROL
“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”Proverbs 25:28, ESV
WHEN MY OPINION OR FEELINGS HAVE MORE AUTHORITY THAN GOD’S WORD
We all need an authority bigger than our momentary feelings. We need an anchor. That is why Scripture must have the place of authority in our lives. If not, we will take the scriptures that we like and use them for our purpose and reject or ignore the ones we don’t like, because they don’t help us accomplish our purpose. We need to be people who honor the authority of Scripture – the Word of God, in our lives.
What we need to build to keep this thief out:HONOR
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,”2 Timothy 3:16, ESV
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”2 Peter 1:3–4, ESV
I’d love to hear from you. What are some ways that you have focused on developing character in your life or in the lives of others? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.