What Is Character?

The word character dates back to the 14th century. One of its roots is in a Greek word which means “to scratch or engrave.” Character also means “a graphic placed on an object as an indication of ownership.”

These definitions suggest tha character involves tendencies that are not original to the person. In other words, if you’ re scratched, you got that scratch from someone else. This also suggests that we are not born with a character bent. We are in essence a clean slate that can be scratched by the world or by the Creator of this world. Whichever arena we feed on the most, we will find its scratch the deepest upon our life.

As Christians, we are to be scratched by God and His Word. This must supersede being scratched by this world and the god of this world. As we allow our lives to be scratched by God and His Word, our character begins to reflect God’s character. We are identified with Him, and His mark of ownership is upon us.

Second Corinthians 3:18 says, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” This passage implies that the less we know about Him, the less we will reflect His character.

Second Corinthians 3:18 talks about believers being changed, or transformed, into God’s likeness. The Greek word translated “changed” in the King James Version is almost identical to our English word metamorphosis. It speaks of change, or transformation, from the inside out. Character transformation begins in the soil of a teachable spirit that is allowed to be mentored by the Word.

Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

The good news is that our character can change. We can be transformed. For example, being unreliable is not a character trait that we have to be chained to all of our days.

In his book Louder Than Words Andy Stanley said, “What is true of every living thing is true of your character. Your character is not stagnant, but is either developing or deteriorating.”

Of course, the direction our character heads in each day depends on how much we allow our Word – based beliefs to affect what we think, what we say, and how we act.

We must not take the stewardship of our character lightly. If we nurture our character properly, it will provide an exceptional platform from which we can gain the ears of those who need Jesus. People listen to people of character.

“Character … exemplifies human nature in its highest forms, for it exhibits man at his best.” – Samuel Smile

Your character is who you truly are. It will:

  • Impact how much you accomplish in this life.
  • Determine whether you are worth knowing.
  • Make or break every one of your relationships.

– Andy Stanley, Louder Than Words