“You’re quite a character!”

The statement usually means you’ve just done something that either amused or frustrated another person. But what is character?

You can look up the definition, but it will probably seem vague or theoretical. Some people say, “Character is what you are like when nobody sees you.” Character has to do with what you’re like on the inside, but it shows itself all the way through you. For example, fighting to be the first in line shows itself in action, but what is inside a person that motivates them to be first? A “me-first” character shows itself in many ways, including the attempt to always be ahead of others.

We can easily be fooled by what we see on the outside. Even the prophet Samuel misread what he saw when looking for a new king. God told Samuel, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7, NIV). Jesus said something similar: “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment” (John 7:24, RSV).

Character forms through a process, actions that get repeated until they become habits. Habits develop attitudes that mold your character; that is, who you are. Here are some examples of character traits:

Put an asterisk by the ones you have. Underline the ones you desire. Cross out the ones you want removed.

Your character continues to develop, no matter what your age. Character gets shaped by others, but it’s managed by you. Pray for God to form your character.

The older you get, yes, the harder it is to change your character. Give special attention to it now before you get too old, but as long as you are alive, and your mind is functioning, you can develop your character for the good by the power of Christ in you.