Personality and Character

Nov 25, 2013 | News, President's Blog

There are many flamboyant and expressive personalities in the news today. The word personality comes from the Latin word persona, originally used to denote the masks worn by theatrical players in Greek drama which came to encompass the actor’s role as well. Personality could be described as the “mask we wear for the world to see.” Anyone can decide by a choice of the will to change their personality just as you would a mask and show everyone a different side you want them to believe. Just watch children grow up! Their personalities change as they pass through different ages, where certain behaviors, clothing, or types of language are popular. Social scientists tell us that the personality of a person is quite fixed at a young age. But this normally does not take into account that personality includes a superficial “social image” that people display. This “social image” may include such characteristics as charm, graciousness, and charisma – although they may not have any of those qualities when at home with their family! Why is that? Personality has more to do with style than consistency.

Influence and leadership that makes a lasting impact normally has much more to do with character than personality. The character of a person deals with the substance. Dwight L. Moody, the 19th century evangelist is quoted as saying, “Character is what a man is in the dark.” The word character comes from the Greek verb meaning “to engrave.” A person’s character is the visible sign of his inner nature. Character is what we are beneath our personality mask. Our character is developed throughout the whole of our lives and is influenced by our daily activities and habits.

Those who would impact our lives most have ethical strength and maturity that flows from their character. They order their lives and behave according to proper values and principles. Someone has said, the difficult part of life is not knowing what is right, but doing what is right. I would suggest that the leaders and influencers are those individuals, who, by the Holy Spirit’s leading and based on the knowledge of God’s Word, don’t simply do what they want to (like everyone else) but do what they ought to! That is character in action – doing the right thing, when we don’t feel like it — perhaps especially when we do not feel like it! I regularly battle the “selfish little brat” inside of me who wants his own way, and only by the power of God do I see victory. But do you know what? Each time I act out of Godly character, I develop a habit of obedience. Each habit of obedience makes the choices easier. Each habit that builds our character creates currency of influence and my destiny as an individual. Aristotle wrote, “Moral virtue comes about as a result of habit…We become what we repeatedly do. We become just by doing just acts, self-controlled by doing self-controlled acts, brave by doing brave acts.”

 ACTION POINT: Begin a habit today based on your convictions and Godly desires. Tell the “selfish little brat” that lives inside to get used to doing without, because his rule is over! Prayerfully ask God to build your character and influence for His glory!

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