Institute in Basic Life Principles

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What role does character development play in my life?

Character Qualities
transformation into the character of Christ

The Greek word for character is charakter. It is translated in Scripture as the “express image.” According to The Complete Word Study Dictionary New Testament, the word “originally denoted an engraver or engraving tool. Later it meant the impression itself, usually something engraven, cut in, or stamped, a character, letter, mark, [or] sign. This impression with its particular features was considered as the exact representation of the object whose image it bore.” In Hebrews 1:3, Christ is referred to as the “express image” of God; He fully expressed the character of God through His life.

One of God’s primary goals for believers is to transform them into the image of His Son so that they may be a reflection of the character of Christ. We can take comfort in this purpose when we experience difficulties, because “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Operational Definitions of 49 Character Qualities

Alertness vs. Unawareness
Being aware of that which is taking place around me so I can have the right response to it (Mark 14:38)
Attentiveness vs. Unconcern
Showing the worth of a person by giving undivided attention to his words and emotions (Hebrews 2:1)
Availability vs. Self-centeredness
Making my own schedule and priorities secondary to the wishes of those I am serving (Philippians 2:20–21)
Boldness vs. Fearfulness
Confidence that what I have to say or do is true and right and just in the sight of God (Acts 4:29)
Cautiousness vs. Rashness
Knowing how important right timing is in accomplishing right actions (Proverbs 19:2)
Compassion vs. Indifference
Investing whatever is necessary to heal the hurts of others (I John 3:17)
Contentment vs. Covetousness
Realizing that God has provided everything I need for my present happiness (I Timothy 6:8)
Creativity vs. Underachievement
Approaching a need, a task, an idea from a new perspective (Romans 12:2)
Decisiveness vs. Double-mindedness
The ability to finalize difficult decisions based on the will and ways of God (James 1:5)
Deference vs. Rudeness
Limiting my freedom in order not offend the tastes of those whom God has called me to serve (Romans 14:21)
Dependability vs. Inconsistency
Fulfilling what I consented to do even if it means unexpected sacrifice (Psalm 15:4)
Determination vs. Faintheartedness
Purposing to accomplish God’s goals in God’s time regardless of the opposition (II Timothy 4:7–8)
Diligence vs. Slothfulness
Visualizing each task as a special assignment from the Lord and using all my energies to accomplish it (Colossians 3:23)
Discernment vs. Judgment
The God-given ability to understand why things happen (I Samuel 16:7)
Discretion vs. Simplemindedness
The ability to avoid words, actions, and attitudes which could result in undesirable consequences (Proverbs 22:3)
Endurance vs. Giving up
The inward strength to withstand stress to accomplish God’s best (Galatians 6:9)
Enthusiasm vs. Apathy
Expressing with my soul the joy of my spirit (I Thessalonians 5:16,19)
Faith vs. Presumption
Visualizing what God intends to do in a given situation and acting in harmony with it (Hebrews 11:1)
Flexibility vs. Resistance
Not setting my affections on ideas or plans which could be changed by God or others (Colossians 3:2)
Forgiveness vs. Rejection
Clearing the record of those who have wronged me and allowing God to love them through me (Ephesians 4:32)
Generosity vs. Stinginess
Realizing that all I have belongs to God and using it for His purposes (II Corinthians 9:6)
Gentleness vs. Harshness
Showing personal care and concern in meeting the need of others (I Thessalonians 2:7)
Gratefulness vs. Unthankfulness
Making known to God and others in what ways they have benefited my life (I Corinthians 4:7)
Hospitality vs. Loneliness
Cheerfully sharing food, shelter, and spiritual refreshment with those whom God brings into my life (Hebrews 13:2)
Humility vs. Pride
Recognizing that it is actually God and others who are responsible for the achievements in my life (James 4:6)
Initiative vs. Unresponsiveness
Recognizing and doing what needs to be done before I am asked to do it (Romans 12:21)
Joyfulness vs. Self-pity
The spontaneous enthusiasm of my spirit when my soul is in fellowship with the Lord (Psalm 16:11)
Justice vs. Fairness
Personal responsibility to God’s unchanging laws (Micah 6:8)
Love vs. Selfishness
Giving to others’ basic needs without having as my motive personal reward (I Corinthians 13:3)
Loyalty vs. Unfaithfulness
Using difficult times to demonstrate my commitment to God and to those whom He has called me to serve John 15:13)
Meekness vs. Anger
Yielding my personal rights and expectations to God (Psalm 62:5)
Obedience vs. Willfulness
Freedom to be creative under the protection of divinely appointed authority (II Corinthians 10:5)
Orderliness vs. Disorganization
Preparing myself and my surroundings so I will achieve the greatest efficiency (I Corinthians 14:40)
Patience vs. Restlessness
Accepting a difficult situation from God without giving Him a deadline to remove it (Romans 5:3–4)
Persuasiveness vs. Contentiousness
Guiding vital truths around another’s mental roadblocks (II Timothy 2:2)
Punctuality vs. Tardiness
Showing high esteem for other people and their time (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
Resourcefulness vs. Wastefulness
Wise use of that which others would normally overlook or discard (Luke 16:10)
Responsibility vs. Unreliability
Knowing and doing what both God and others are expecting from me (Romans 14:12)
Reverence vs. Disrespect
Awareness of how God is working through the people and events in my life to produce the character of Christ in me (Proverbs 23:17–18)
Security vs. Anxiety
Structuring my life around that which is eternal and cannot be destroyed or taken away (John 6:27)
Self-Control vs. Self-indulgence
Instant obedience to the initial promptings of God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:24–25)
Sensitivity vs. Callousness
Exercising my senses so I can perceive the true spirit and emotions of those around me (Romans 12:15)
Sincerity vs. Hypocrisy
Eagerness to do what is right with transparent motives (I Peter 1:22)
Thoroughness vs. Incompleteness
Knowing what factors will diminish the effectiveness of my work or words if neglected (Proverbs 18:15)
Thriftiness vs. Extravagance
Not letting myself or others spend that which is not necessary (Luke 16:11)
Tolerance vs. Prejudice
Acceptance of others as unique expressions of specific character qualities in varying degrees of maturity (Philippians 2:2)
Truthfulness vs. Deception
Earning future trust by accurately reporting past facts (Ephesians 4:25)
Virtue vs. Impurity
The moral excellence and purity of spirit that radiate from my life as I obey God’s Word (II Peter 1:3)
Wisdom vs. Natural Inclinations
Seeing and responding to life’s situations from God’s frame of reference (Proverbs 9:10)
For Further Study

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