Question: “What does the Bible say about Christian


Question: “What does the Bible say about Christian
character?”

Answer: Character is defined as strength of moral
fiber. A.W. Tozer described character as “the excellence of moral beings.” As
the excellence of gold is its purity and the excellence of art is its beauty, so
the excellence of man is his character. Persons of character are noted for their
honesty, ethics, and charity. Descriptions such as “man of principle” and “woman
of integrity” are assertions of character. A lack of character is moral
deficiency, and persons lacking character tend to behave dishonestly,
unethically, and uncharitably.

A person’s character is the sum of his or
her disposition, thoughts, intentions, desires, and actions. It is good to
remember that character is gauged by general tendencies, not on the basis of a
few isolated actions. We must look at the whole life. For example, King David
was a man of good character (1 Samuel 13:14) although he sinned on occasion (2 Samuel
11). And although King Ahab may have acted nobly once (1 Kings 22:35), he was still a man of overall bad
character (1 Kings 16:33). Several people in the Bible are described
as having noble character: Ruth (Ruth
3:11
), Hanani (Nehemiah 7:2), David (Psalm
78:72
), and Job (Job 2:3).

These individuals’ lives were distinguished by persistent moral
virtue.

Character is influenced and developed by our choices. Daniel
“resolved not to defile himself” in Babylon (Daniel
1:8
), and that godly choice was an important step in formulating an

unassailable integrity in the young man’s life. Character, in turn, influences
our choices. “The integrity of the upright guides them” (Proverbs 11:3a). Character will help us weather the
storms of life and keep us from sin (Proverbs 10:9a).

It is the Lord’s purpose to
develop character within us. “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
but the LORD tests the heart” (Proverbs 17:3). Godly character is the result of the Holy
Spirit’s work of sanctification. Character in the believer is a consistent
manifestation of Jesus in his life. It is the purity of heart that God gives
becoming purity in action. God sometimes uses trials to strengthen character:
“we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces
perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4). The Lord is
pleased when His children grow in character. “You test the heart and are pleased
with integrity” (1 Chronicles 29:17;
see also Psalm 15:1-2).

We
can develop character by controlling our thoughts (Philippians 4:8), practicing Christian virtues (2 Peter 1:5-6), guarding
our hearts (Proverbs 4:23; Matthew 15:18-20), and
keeping good company (1 Corinthians
15:33
). Men and women of character will set a good example for others to

follow, and their godly reputation will be evident to all (Titus
2:7-8
).

Recommended Resource: After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters by N.T.
Wright
.

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