When I first met John David he invited me to join him on a Saturday morning at an old building downtown. It was scheduled to be remodeled and he was going to tear out the old tin ceiling before the other interior work was started. John David worked out a deal to keep the tin pieces he removed, and he offered to give me some of the pieces if I helped him finish the work.
We began kicking the tins off of the rafters from the top down. Several times one hard kick would leave us hanging perilously from the 12 foot ceiling. It was dusty and sweaty and painful. By midday, we had kicked down every tin and loaded them for storage. We divided the booty and as we wrapped up, John David looked at me. “You know,” he said, “The real reason I invited you to help me today is I wanted to see what you were made of.” John David was talking about character.
Character Sets The Bar For Reaching Potential
Your character sets the bar for personal development. And personal development is the key for living and reaching your potential as the masterpiece God created you to be. Character is who you are on the inside, not what people see on the outside. Character is who and what you are when you are alone in the middle of the night and no one else sees you or knows your thoughts.
Paul gives us insight into character in Romans 5:3-5. “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” The word “character” in Romans 5:4 comes from the Greek word dokime, which communicates the concept of being proved by trial.
What Are You Made Of?
It’s like John David inviting me to help tear down a ceiling to see what I’m made of. Both of us saw evidence of my resolve and were each strengthened as a result. What you are “made of” is imperative for living life as the masterpiece God created you to be. However, character is not a thing you do; rather, it is developed in you through faithful endurance. It seems somewhat demented when Paul says, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials.” That’s normally not my first reaction to difficulty. Yet what could possibly make you want to praise God when you face a problem? The confident knowledge that God is working on a masterpiece; it’s your trust that the artist has a design that’ll lead to a composition which will ultimately reflect His qualities.
Next Steps To Develop Your Character:
Write out one priority regarding your character and an action plan.
(Adapted from Chapter 5 of my book Life Palette)