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The Devil sent us a “thorn in the flesh,” but by God’s grace and some medical intervention we’re better today.
Jim Rohn is an American author, motivator, speaker, and entrepreneur. Recently he posted on his facebook page “The 6 Essential Traits of Good Character.” Although he writes to an audience of business and professional leaders, his observations have a Biblical basis and find their application for preachers, pastors, and Christian business leaders. In fact, for all disciples of Christ.
Slightly adapted, here are the 6 traits we should all aspire to develop
Integrity is a good catchword that is similar to character but provides us with a different way of looking at the ideas of character. The root of integrity means “whole” or “undivided,” and that’s a terrific way to help us understand what integrity is—an undivided life. For example, you don’t act one way in one situation and another in a different situation.
It is regularly said that honesty is the best policy, but I would add that honesty is the only policy for great leaders. Think about it. Why do people hedge the truth? Usually for a few basic reasons: They are either afraid of the ramifications or they are trying to hide something. Either way, a lack of honesty results in the destruction of the trust of those who follow you. Even if you tell them the truth, knowing you have lied to others will destroy the trust they had in you. They will find themselves thinking, If he will lie to them, will he lie to me?
People of good character are loyal. They have a “stick-to-it” attitude when it comes to others. Anybody who knows human nature knows that people fail. It’s just a matter of time, no matter how talented someone is. A person of good character stays with their friends even in the down times. Anyone can be friends with others when times are good, but people of good character stay with their friends when they need them most.
Lee Iacocca became a legend when he said he’d bring Chrysler back from the brink of bankruptcy and would take only a dollar a year in pay. This was a classic example of a leader sacrificing for their followers. It also showed his understanding of and empathy with the average line worker. As a result, the workers of Chrysler rewarded him with an incredible following as they built Chrysler into one of the world’s leading car companies.
What is it about self-sacrifice that breeds followers? Followers don’t mind putting in the hard work. They don’t even mind a leader making more money or reaping benefits from their work. What followers do mind, though, is when the leader is using them for personal gain. People of good character don’t use other people, period. So when a leader shows sacrifice of personal gain, it says to the followers that they are willing to come alongside them—and followers reward that almost universally. A person of good character shows that they can give up personal gain for the good of the whole.
People of good character don’t mind accountability; that is, the act of allowing others to have a say in your life, to speak to you straight about your life and conduct. In fact, they welcome it. The brutal truth is that we have blind spots and need other people to be close to us so we can advance down the road of success. The need for accountability doesn’t prove lack of character. Rather, it proves the presence of character. The person of good character knows this and invites others to speak into their life.
The ability to make decisions—good decisions—about what we will and will not do with our actions is at the core of what we become in regard to our character. There will be plenty of options to participate in things that are not moral. Everybody has temptations, but a person of good character knows to exercise self-control over their choices. When people don’t exercise self-control, they sabotage their ability to lead. People lose respect for them and will follow less, if at all. Self-control is the ability to choose to do the things we should, and to refrain from doing the things we shouldn’t. When we exhibit self-control, we again build trust in our followers. They respect us and want to follow us.
A couple final thoughts. Reading Rohn’s post again reminds me that (1) When we follow Christ, we will developing these kind of qualities. Jesus said, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Lk. 6:4)) When we are “fully trained” spiritually, we will develop the character of Christ.
(2) Rohn’s points apply to spiritual leaders who want others to follow them, as they follow Christ (1 Cor. 11:1) Additionally, in the area of personal evangelism, it’s often said that before we can share the Good News, we must BE the GOOD NEWS. Our influence on a skeptical, unbelieving, sinful world will be severely diminished when they see character flaws in those of us professing to be Christians.
Finally, this observation by the late, great UCLA basketball coach John Wooden is a challenge for us all. “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
2 responses to “The 6 Essential Traits of Good Character”
I pray all is well Ken! Many blessings for 2023!!
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