Time Out: Developing a godly character

Topic / Time Out

Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)

Character development. We’ve all heard the term, but what does it mean? Try writing an accurate, concise definition of character development and you’ll soon realize its quite slippery and elusive. Character is different than personality, image or reputation. It is the inner reality and quality in which thoughts, speech, decision, behavior and relations are rooted. The goal of our character development is to be like Jesus in thought, word and action. But how do we bring that about?

Years ago we realized we needed to remodel the bathroom in our house. If it was just a matter of painting the walls and changing the curtains we could have done that, but this needed far more work than that. A newer and better shower, toilet and sink were all a must. We needed an expert to come in and do the work for us, someone with the expertise and resources to bring about such a transformation. That’s the way it is with our character. We can’t just paint on a bright surface or rearrange of few things in our personality. Real character goes much deeper than that, and it requires the hand of Someone with the ability and resources to bring it about.

God promises to bring this change in us, but He needs our cooperation to do it. Just as I must fully cooperate with those redoing my bathroom and help in any way I can, so we must work together with Him in becoming more like Jesus Christ. What can we do? First, look for someone whose character you admire and want to be more like. Spend time getting to know them well. What do you see in them that you’d like to have in yourself? Do you lack compassion, sacrifice, patience, honesty, generosity, humility, kindness, responsibility, ambition, trustworthiness, etc.? Then make a plan as to what you can do about the areas where you sense God working in you. Write it out and share it with someone who can pray for you, encourage you and hold you accountable. Be alert to opportunities where you can practice good character traits and allow God to do His renovating work in you. If you fail, use First John 1:9 and look for another opportunity. It will come along. Remember, God promises He will do this work in you. Just sign the contract and let Him begin His renovation. He doesn’t work fast, but He does a great job!

Ruth 3:11, “And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character.”

Proverbs 31:10, “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.”

Philippians 2:13, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”

Philippians 1:6, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”


  • Who is someone whose character you admire and would like to emulate? What is it about that person that you would like to have?
  • Where is God already working in your character to make you more like Jesus?
  • What can you do to better cooperate with Him in His efforts to renovate your character?


Jerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!

Posted on June 1, 2008

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