As I reflect upon my spiritual goals for the year 2012, I desire most to focus on developing Godly character. When I would encounter difficult challenges in life during my growing up years, it became a common expression of my mom to say “Great chance for character growth,” and that would usually halt my pity party. For some reason, changing my focus to developing character always made it a challenge, and gave the circumstance a focused goal….thus the grit that often needs to accompany God’s grace began to be molded into my life.
Ephesians 6:10-18 – We must put on the whole armor of God. We must have the character of Jesus Christ. It is impossible to have the power of God without having the character of God, which is holiness.
The Bible lists many attributes of godly character, and I would like to borrow from a list of 49 attributes ( and their opposites) that was developed by Drs. Debbie and Don Dunlap ( biblical counselors that were very instrumental in developing my character through the years.)
They encouraged parents to teach these qualities to their children and developed a worksheet of 7 steps to guide parents with the teaching process. 1. Know the definition (dictionary and biblical). 2. List synonyms and antonyms. 3.Name similar character qualities (Refer to list). 4. Find examples in scripture. 5.Name some men/women in the Bible who did NOT demonstrate the quality. 6.Talk about how Jesus demonstrated the character quality in his ministry and life. 7. Identify how you can demonstrate the character qualities in your own personal life.
I plan to look at a character quality each week on this blog site. Hope you’ll join me in your own pursuit of character development.
List of Character Qualities (and opposites):
Alertness vs Unawareness * Attentiveness vs Unconcern * Availability vs Self-centeredness *Boldness vs Fearfulness *Cautiousness vs Rashness * Compassion vs Indifference *Contentment vs Covetousness * Creativity vs Under-achievement *Decisiveness vs Double-minded * Deference vs Rudeness * Dependability vs Inconsistency * Determination vs Faint-heartedness * Diligence vs Slothfulness * Discernment vs Judgement * Discretion vs Simple-Mindedness * Endurance vs Giving Up * Enthusiasm vs Apathy * Faith vs Presumption *Flexibility vs Resistance * Forgiveness vs Rejection * Generosity vs Stinginess * Gentleness vs Harshness * Gratefulness vs Ungratefulness * Hospitality vs Loneliness * Humility vs Pride *Initiative vs Unresponsiveness * Justice vs Fairness * Joyfulness vs Self-Pity * Love vs Selfishness * Loyalty vs Unfaithfulness * Meekness vs Anger * Obedience vs Willfulness *Orderliness vs Disorganization * Patience vs Restlessness * Persuasiveness vs Contentiousness * Punctuality vs Tardiness * Resourcefulness vs Wastefulness * Responsibility vs Unreliability *Reverence vs Disrespect * Security vs Anxiety * Self-Control vs Self Indulgence * Sensitivity vs Callousness * Sincerity vs Hypocrisy * Thoroughness vs Incompleteness * Thriftiness vs Extravagance * Tolerance vs Prejudice * Truthfulness vs Deception * Virtue vs Impurity *Wisdom vs Natural Inclinations
Character, not circumstances, make the man.
–Booker T. Washington
Distance tests a horse’s strength. Time reveals a person’s character.
– Chinese Proverbs
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”
Everyone tries to define this thing called Character. It’s not hard. Character is doing what’s right when nobody’s looking.”
A man’s reputation is what other people think of him; his character is what he really is.
Prayer for 2012: May you grow in your knowledge and understanding of God. May you allow Him to mold godly character into you in whatever circumstances this year may hold for you.
Image Above: Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos
I’ve been so excited about the Making Your Home a Haven challenge that is being offered on WomenLivingWell.org. The first step in the challenge was to light a candle everyday in a central focal area of the home, and then to pray for peace whenever your eye caught the light of the candle. Monday was the first day, and sadly, my candle never got lit….too much chaos with everyone in my household off in different directions. There never really was a time for us as a family that first night and I felt like I had failed… I decided to not despair, however, and make the most of Day 2 when all would be home with no pressing obligations.
I finished my day of work and got off at a decent time. I drove to daycare with excitement about a good night at home. I walked to the playground and looked around for my 7 year old. Neither I nor the daycare person could find her at first. We kept calling, and slowly a dirt covered object rose as if from the dead out of the sand at the back of the playground. My daughter had let other children bury her up to the neck in sand. She also had a note from school about misbehavior (after many warnings the note said). ugh! I thought…this can’t be a good night, and where has this behavior come from when she has been doing so good. My car was filled with sand. My bathroom floor was filled with sand…but I kept it together. I thought, a quick shower and all will be ok, but NO…in the shower my child proceeded to misbehave. When I asked her what’s wrong, and why are you acting this way, she said “Because I want to do what I want to do!” She is at least brutally honest..no sugar coating or rationalizing for her. Her father came in and was informed about the days misconduct and when he began to talk to her she argued with him (very brave I might add!) and her sassy mouth went in to overdrive. Uh oh! I thought….there goes my haven. Of course my child was given consequences for her behaviors, and as soon as her father left, she said “I hate having parents who are not nice. You are not nice parents.” I have never heard such words from my child before. All of these behaviors were so bizarre, even for her.
But I kept my focus. I went and lit my candle, and I prayed. As the flame flickered, I saw life glowing and my hope was renewed. You know my heart, Lord, I said. I give what’s left of this night to you.
I called my 7 year old to the kitchen to sit and start her homework while I prepared supper. I helped her with her homework and tried to make it fun. Immediately she calmed down and a peace settled over the remainder of the night. She focused and minded. Her father returned about an hour before her bedtime and commended her for changing her behaviors. My teenager volunteered to make some white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.. “and by the way mom, I like the candle”, she said. As I sat with my 7 year old and we finished our cookies, I asked her what she had learned today…and very sweetly, she said..”to mind, and to think about what I’m doing, and to do the right thing.” And she gave me a hug. I thanked God for answered prayer, and the peaceful end to what started out so chaotic.
And I leaned over and blew out my candle with peace in my heart.
( Image above: Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos)