Developing Godly Character
Christian Character Development

Three Key Questions For Developing Godly Character

In the Christian world, you’ll hear the term “godly character” mentioned a lot.  Developing godly character is something each Christian should be working towards in their life. 

But what does godly character even mean?  What does it mean to be a godly person?  And how can we start to develop godly character in our own lives?  

To start developing godly character, we need to ask (and answer) these three questions about it.  I continue to be a work in progress on living out my faith and developing godly character in my life.  Here are the answers I’ve found that have helped me as I work to develop godly character.  

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What Does Godly Character Mean?

In order to start developing godly character, we have to know what godly character means.  The website Bible Study Guides defines godly character as simply, “Godly character is consistently doing the right thing at the right time in the right way for the right reason.”  I like this easy explanation because it’s easy for everyone to understand.  You don’t have to speak “bible” to get the meaning of godly character.

Developing Godly Character
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Developing Godly Character by Being Like God

Being like God is a great way to start developing godly character.  And, no, I don’t mean start acting like you’re the creator of the universe.  But as Christians, we should constantly be trying to act the way God would in our daily lives.  

The famed basketball coach and teacher, John Wooden, describes character as, “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”   Another way to explain godly character is, “Godly character is consistently doing the right thing at the right time, in the right way for the right reason,” when no one is watching.  In order to start developing godly character, we need to do what is right, all the time, for the right reasons.

Amos 5:15
Amos 5:15

One way we can be more like God is through hating evil and loving what is good.  Amos 5:15 says, “Hate evil, love good, and establish justice in the courts…” (WEB)  God cannot look on evil.  It’s not in His nature.  If’ we’re going to be like God, we need to treat evil the same way.

Reflecting Jesus in Your Life

As a Christian, our main goal is to reflect Jesus in everything we say and do. Several years ago there was a popular movement called “What Would Jesus Do”.  WWJD for short. During this movement, Christians were encouraged to make every word, every action, every thought they had, reflect what Jesus would do. 

Bob Goff is a famous Christian writer, philanthropist, and influential public speaker.  One of his most recent tweets says, “Our problem following Jesus is we’re trying to be a better version of us, rather than a more accurate reflection of Him.”  

Wow!  This simple, but profound statement hit me like a ton of bricks.  I’ve spent many hours trying to make myself better.  I’m constantly trying to be the version of myself that prays and trusts God more.  I want to be a healthier version of MYSELF.  I need to be more motivated and work harder.  

Many people are probably doing the same thing that I do.  There are tons of books and podcasts designed to help you become the best version of yourself you can be.  The self-help industry generates over $11 BILLION a year.  That number is expected to continue growing.

But as Christians, our purpose shouldn’t be self-improvement.  If we are totally committed to Christ, then we must work on becoming like Jesus. 

 Last week, our pastor talked about this same concept of being more like Jesus.  He shared Hebrews 6:1, “Let us go on and become mature in our understanding as strong Christians ought to be.” (LB)  If we reflect Jesus, then we are walking with Him throughout our life.  And as we walk with Him, we will continue building character like Jesus in our own lives.

What Does it Mean to Be a Godly Person?

A godly person is a person who is actively developing godly character.  They are working hard to be more like God every day.  So what are some ways to become a more godly person?

The Fruit of the Spirit Are Examples of Godly Character

Some of my favorite foods to eat are fruits.  Not only are they delicious, but most fruits are good for your body too.  In the Bible, the Fruits of the Spirit are each character traits that will help each of us in developing godly character.  

Galatians 5:22-23
Galatians 5:22-23

“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control.  Against such things, there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 (WEB).  These are the Fruit of the Spirit mentioned in the Bible.  These characteristics are the nature of God.  In developing them in our lives, we are becoming a better reflection of God for the world to see.

Let’s take a look at the first three fruits: love, joy, and peace.  Love is one of the most important aspects of godly character.  We should be loving towards our family and friends.  We should also show God’s love to strangers and those we meet out in the world.  

There’s a great old song, “They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love” that explains the love of Christ that we should reflect.  Sadly, we often miss this key aspect of God in our daily lives.   Godly love is the first thing people should see from us.

Joy is another important Fruit of the Spirit.  As Christians, we have the best news in the world!  Why shouldn’t we reflect that as joy in our lives?  Yes, we all have troubles.  We all get discouraged and face tragedies.  But knowing that God loves us, Christ died for our sins, and conquered death so we can live forever should be shown with the joy we have in our hearts!

Peace should also be one of the first characteristics people see when they are around us.  We should have God’s peace which “surpasses all understanding…” Philippians 4:7 (WEB).  

By incorporating these three Fruits of the Spirit, along with the others, we will begin developing godly character.

Godly Character Lovingly Opposes Sin

Christians are often quick to judge sin, which IS a part of our job. But doing it in love is even more important.  One thing we aren’t supposed to do is judge the person who’s sinning.  

It’s sad though, that most times we forget the love part.  Yesterday my pastor said that he had, “…never argued a person into heaven.”  He’s kind of on a roll right now (lol) but his statement got me thinking about myself.  How many times have I yelled at my kids when correcting them when kindness would have worked so much better?  When I get on Facebook, how often do I want to spew out a political rant?  And when I do these ugly things, am I helping anyone grow closer to Christ?  That answer is a big, fat no!

Romans 12:21 reminds us, “Don’t be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.” (WEB)  If we are to overcome evil with good, then we need to be good.  And all good things come from God.  We need to be reminded of His love when confronting sin around us. Lovingly opposing sin is one of the great godly character traits to have.  

How Can We Start Developing Godly Character?

In the first section, we answered the question of what godly character means.  The last section was all about the meaning of being a godly person.  After answering those two questions, we move on to the most important question of the three.  How can we, as followers of Christ, start developing a godly character?  Here are three important ways to start developing a godly character today.

Develop Godly Character Through Committing Your Life to Christ

The first step we need to take in developing godly character is committing our lives to Christ.  This is not only the first step we need to take, but it’s also the most important.  It’s a life-changing decision, with consequences that last for eternity!

At our church, whenever someone wants to give their life to Christ, they give a confession of faith with a minister. They often do this in front of the church family, but sometimes it’s just a small group of family and friends.

After this confession, the new Christian gets baptized as a physical sign of their new life in Christ. Not every church uses or requires baptism, but my church believes it’s an important part of accepting Christ as Lord and savior.

When you accept Jesus as your savior and believe he saves you from your sins, then your sins are forgiven from that point.  It doesn’t have anything to do with your goodness, but only from accepting Spend Time With God to Grow Your Relationship

Becoming a Christian is only the first step in developing godly character. Another extremely important step is One of the best ways to spend time with God is by reading the Bible. The Bible is God’s word. Its truth is the same when it was written, today, and into the future.

Spending time in prayer is also another great way to build a relationship with God. Prayer is a direct and instant connection with Him. You can use it 24/7. God doesn’t sleep, and he’s never too busy to listen to you.

A great way to incorporate both Bible reading and prayer is by scheduling a daily devotional time. This time is important, so you’ll want to add it to your calendar for each day. Plus committing to a scheduled time each day will help you make it a habit!

For me, I like to use my first 30 minutes of the day. I’ve tried after work, but I usually have errands to run. Before bed, I’m usually only half awake, so morning works the best!

I usually read a short devotional from the Bible App, along with the scriptures that go with it.  After reading and thinking about how the passages apply to my life, I spend a few minutes in prayer.  

I’ve been using this Bible reading and prayer routine for the last few years, and it’s made a HUGE difference in my life!   Beginning my day with God helps to set a positive tone for my day.  This doesn’t mean that I’ll have a perfect life and nothing will ever go wrong.  But, it does assure me that God will be with me whatever happens in life.

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Christian Friendships Help Develop Godly Character

There’s an old English proverb that reminds us, “A man is known by the company he keeps.”  I think this quote continues to be true in the world today. In order to continue developing godly character, I have to be mindful of the people I spend time with. 

I’ve noticed my words and actions are different depending on the people I’m spending time with.  Over the years I’ve had several different friend groups.  From college friends on to work friends and couples friends with my husband, I could always fee myself becoming more like my friends at that time.  Sometimes these influences were good, and some of them, not so much.  I would like to say that I was a good influence on my friends, but I know that wasn’t always true either.  

I’m very fortunate that my last several years have been spent with some wonderful and uplifting people.  Many of the other staff at my school are Christians, so I’m spending a lot of time with people who share my faith.  Several of us attend church together, which has helped to deepen our friendships.  It’s great having people around me that can help keep my behavior and attitude in check.  

In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he shares a reminder of the importance of godly character found in those things that influence us.  “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.  Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8 (NLT) 

The people we spend our time with influence our thoughts and actions.  If their character reflects what is true and admirable, then they are good influences for developing godly character in you.  If not, it may be a good time to search for some new friends.

Plug Into a Church Family to Develop Godly Character

Accepting Jesus as your savior, spending time with Him, and finding Christian friends are awesome ways to continue developing godly character in your life.  Another thing you can do that will grow your godly character traits is to plug into a church family.  This church family will supply you with strong Christian friendships.  It will also give you an opportunity to serve others for God’s kingdom.  

1 Peter 1:3
1 Peter 1:3

1 Peter 1:3 reminds us that, “God has given us the privilege of being born again so that we are now members of God’s own family.” (LB) This is an honor, to be called part of the family of God.  Part of that honor should be given back into the church community.  Finding the right church family for you will help God build your character even more.

Check out my free resource page for scripture coloring pages and other resources to help you develop godly character! And be sure to subscribe for updates and access to my free Bible Studies.

Blessings,

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