When was the last time you had a “character coach”? Never? Our culture is enamored with football coaches (just look at how much they get paid at the college and pro level), basketball coaches, skill coaches, business coaches, and life coaches. But have you ever heard of a character coach? Probably not.
I imagine that you have been pushed, poked and prodded to develop competency. Your parents pushed you to get an education. Your profession may require ongoing education for licensing or certification. Your employer might even cover the costs for you to attend a conference to improve your skills.
Developing competency can have quite a few incentives. Better pay. Greater knowledge. More initials to add behind your name on your business card. And let’s face it—we live in a culture that adores competency. The higher level of skill, the greater accolades and “attaboys.”
But we live in a culture that devalues character. The average person wants to be known as a person of integrity, but where can you go to get it developed? And why should you get it developed when our culture praises competency and ignores character? Character is the step-child of a prosperous culture; it gets overlooked until something goes wrong.
I applaud those in our education system who focus on character education, and I’m sure there are even adult programs being used by businesses across our country. But I want to make this a bit more personal.
Carey Nieuwhof asks the question, “But who’s pushing you to be a better you?” (Didn’t See It Coming, 47). Who’s speaking into your life to address those deep-seated character issues that you never seem to overcome? Let’s face it—character development is a lot harder than skill development. To increase your integrity, humility, work ethic, and honesty, you have to go deep into the crags and crevices of your heart. You have to study your past in order to prepare your future. You have to confront the person staring back at you in the mirror.
When you deal with your character, you have to stop blaming others, and you have to deal with the real you. Quite honestly, this is why it’s easier to keep focusing on competency and keep compromising character. The heart work is the hard work. But the hard work is what produces the greatest results.
I encourage you—no, I challenge you—to talk with one or two other people you trust and who have consistently demonstrated spiritual and emotional health. Ask them to help you grow your character. Character development happens like muscle development—you have to exercise. Begin working on practical disciplines, habits and life-patterns than can lead to character growth.
If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. Develop a plan, have good accountability, and take it one day at a time. For further study, be sure to check out https://billygraham.org/story/developing-christlike-character/.
“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. . . . In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. . . . The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be. . .”( 2 Peter 1:3a, 5a, 8a, NLT).