Coach John Wooden was incredible. He won ten basketball championships in twelve years, with seven in a row. He is the only person inducted into the college basketball hall of fame as both a player and a coach. But what is more impressive than his playing and coaching record is that he was just as incredible as a man of God. He is a shining example of Christian character in action.
In his book They Call Me Coach, he tells us his story from his point of view, revealing to those of us who didn’t know him what his heart looks like. The book makes it evident that he was driven by character and conviction. It is filled with quotes about character, one of my favorite being, “Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation. Because character is who you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
Disciples of Jesus
More than anything else, I want to live my life pleasing Jesus. And if we desire to please Him in all we do, we must grow in Christlike character.
Character can be thought of as who and what you are when no one is looking. Even though we may try to hide our flaws and transgressions from others, God sees and knows all. That is why the writer of Proverbs says in Proverbs 28:13,
The one who conceals his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them will find mercy.
As disciples of Jesus, we should be striving to “walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).
Character and Competency
I believe that who you are is more important than what you can do. So many competent people have shipwrecked their lives because of a lack of character.
So the question becomes, “Are you a man or woman of integrity?” “Are you trustworthy?”
In his book Leaders Who Last, Dave Kraft says that godly leaders are people of character, compassion, and competency. I should say that those who follow Jesus must also be called the same things. They should be people of character, compassion, and competency–in that order!
You can have all the skill in the world, but if you lack character, you will ultimately fail in your relationships and responsibilities. You may be able to go on for a while, but a lack of character will catch up with you.
Character is best developed and displayed in the context of accountable relationships. That is why being a part of a Discipleship Group is so important. Men and women in a D-Group journey together and as they get to know one another, transparency begins to permeate the group. Group members begin to “earn the right” to speak into one another’s lives and call out attitudes or actions that are not Christlike.
Being in a D-Group allows group members to “stir one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24), and to encourage one another to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).
As a disciple learns to abide in Christ and be filled with the Spirit (John 15:4, Ephesians 5:18), the fruit of the Spirit will be displayed in his or her life:
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
The conclusion of the matter is that character counts! May God help us as we strive to be men and women displaying godly character.
Wanting to build character in your life and in the lives of others? Check out the D-Group Starter Guide and find a few others to start meeting with in 2021! Pastors, help your people grow and develop every other aspect of your discipleship ministry by checking out the Replicate Network.