It’s always at the top of the list. If you were an employer, what would be the things you looked for in a great employee? What qualities would make someone a trusted friend? How about a great leader? What would you look for before following someone into the unknown?
At the top of all of these lists is integrity and character. As we actively look for these traits in those around us, we can see how important they are. Others are looking for the same qualities in us. If you want to have any kind of influence, you must be a person of the highest character.
Here are 3 practical ways you can begin to develop a great character:
Do the Right Thing. Repeat.
Character in its simplest form is habitually doing the right thing. Character says that you choose right even if it costs you something. Far too many people are willing to do the right thing if they get something out of it. When things get hard or when no one is watching, is when your character is put to the test.
Do not envy the oppressor, And choose none of his ways; Proverbs 3:31
Choose ahead of time that you are going to be righteous. Then when situations get tough, follow through with your decision. Each time you choose right, you add a brick to the foundation of your character.
Count the Real Cost
Not every action has equal weight. Every time you do the right thing, you add slightly to your character and reputation. It takes a good track record of continuous positive action before people will place their trust in you. It only takes one negative action to bring it all crashing down. If you have ever broken a trust, you know how long it takes to rebuild. Some relationships are permanently scarred.
For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Luke 14:28
Most of the time we make bad choices by ignoring the consequences or implications of those actions. Before you decide to make an unwise decision, stop and count the real cost. Make sure to quantify all the things you will lose when you choose the wrong path.
Choose Long-Term over Short Term
Character development is a long-term endeavor. When we settle for short term gains instead, we steal from our own future. Keep eternity in mind as you are tempted to sacrifice your integrity.
Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. Galatians 6:9
When you begin to value your character more than what you will gain by breaking it, it will fuel your decisions and allow you to view the long term impact.
Make a commitment to make better choices, be honest when thinking about the consequences, and play to win the long game. Each step will bring you closer to the kind of trustworthy person that you want to become.