The desire for success I believe is one of the greatest motivators for action in the lives of people. Everyone has a desire to be recognized for something they are good at. If you have ever sought out to accomplish a task, or if you have ever felt angry because of an obstruction towards a goal, then you have implicit attested to this statement. No matter what you desire to attain to as your definition of success, you must recognize that there is no true success without a good character to back it up.
Character guides our responses to issues we face in life as we work toward success. Our character is who we are and what we do. It is important that we have a foundation of strong character because our responses to life’s issues determine the quality of our results. Character is a summation of our thoughts, values, words, and actions, which in turn become the habits that determine how successful we are in life. Integrity is the foundation of any lasting success, and at the heart of integrity is good character.
Human character is formed at the core of the human being. It it who we are when “nobody” is looking. A person can create a facade of how they intend for people to perceive their personality and their actions, this facade is what we know as reputation. Our reputation is the summation of who/what everyone thinks about us. Too often we hear of good people, reputed for being successful in their field, who have fallen from great heights because of a weakness in their character. What many fail to understand is that the character weakness is nothing new; the effects of a character flaw are amplified as we rise up the ladder of success.
When we see a tree, we see its fruits, leaves and branches. The fruit that grows on the tree represents what kind of tree it is. I’m pretty sure, to a 100% level of certainty, that if I see oranges growing on a tree, it is an orange tree. However, though I see the tree, its trunk, branches and leaves, there still exists a root system below the ground that is hidden. On average, tree roots spread close to 3 times the spread of the branches, so that a tree with an 8-foot branch crown spread would have a 24-foot root spread diameter. The root is what keeps the tree grounded. This is why Jesus in teaching said, “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” (Matt.7:17-20). The principle here is that a person’s character is an overflow of the state of their heart.
This is why it is important that we examine ourselves from time to time. For you to succeed in life, you must learn to listen to the voice of your conscience. Rather than silence the inner voice at the core of your humanity, you need to objectively check yourself to see if your words, thoughts, actions and attitudes line up with what’s fundamentally true and noble. In addition you must ask yourself if there are aspects about your personality that others complain about? Successful people have learned to be sincere and consistent on the basis of truth. Your self assessment is not to impress anybody, rather it is to ensure you are taking the right steps in line with what you hold to be true.
I believe that God has inscribed a sense of morality on human hearts through the natural law. However, through Scripture (absolute truth) we are able to form a Christ centered conscience and a moral guide to strengthen our character. The good news is that by your decision you can make a change to areas in which you fall short in character. With every pressure that comes against your character development, you can use it as an opportunity for growth and development. It is important to know that the quality of your character will not just get better with time; it must be intentional.
Here are a few things the Bible lays out for humans in the development of character. For each one, we must check to see if our attitudes, thoughts and beliefs line up, and make necessary adjustments.
God’s revelation of the supreme moral code:
The Ten Commandments, Exo.20:1-17 (NLT)
In our general attitude:
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” Gal. 522-23 (NLT)
“ Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.” Rom.12:9-13 (NLT)
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” Col.3:13-15 (NLT)
The attributes of God’s love of God:
1 Cor.13:4-8 (NLT) , Matt.22:38-39, Col.3:22,
In our speech:
“ Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Eph.4:29
Growing in faith:
“ In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.” 2 Pet.1:5-7 (NLT)
A person of strong character is a trustworthy person, whose words carry great value. Such a person can be trusted solely on the basis of their words, having no need for supervision or follow up. Can your words be taken at face value? Your words represent you; you don’t want to be known as a person of double standards but a person of integrity. To grow in character you must train yourself to keep your commitment, even if it hurts you. This way you will learn to be more careful with what you commit to in word and action. In the long run, people will appreciate you for it.
J.P Morgan before he died is noted to have said that the best bank collateral is a good character. Solomon said, “a good name is to be chosen rather than gold or silver” (Prov.22:1).
Strong character are the legs on which any lasting success stands on. You never want to attain to any level of success that your character cannot support, else you will be in a dangerous place, susceptible to an easy fall.
What are your thoughts on developing a strong character? What else can you add is necessary in the development of character?