Character and Choices

September 27, 2019

“God reminds us in different ways of His presence. We, however, quickly forget about it, especially when things are going well for us. We forget that we are here for a short time only, and we think that we will be around forever, but when misfortune strikes, we cry, “Lord have mercy!” This is why we should try hard to change our character for the better…That is why we must strive to improve our character while we are still in this life—we will pass into eternity with this very same character.” (Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica)


“Growing the soul is not at all an obvious thing…The soul is ever so much more about who we are, and the character of who we are than what we are and what we know.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“Mere instruction in morality is not sufficient to nurture the virtues. It might even backfire, especially when the presentation is heavily exhortative and the pupil’s will is coerced. Instead, a compelling vision of the goodness of goodness itself needs to be presented in a way that is attractive and stirs the imagination. A good moral education addresses both the cognitive and affective dimensions of human nature. Stories are an irreplaceable medium for this kind of moral education—that is, the education of character.” (Vigen Guroian)


“Godliness is more than Christian character: It is Christian character that springs from a devotion to God. But it is also true that devotion to God always results in godly character…God wants His character and likeness to be reflected in your life." (Jerry Bridges, Colin Smith)


“...all parts of our lives and character should be in the process of becoming conformed, both inwardly and outwardly, to God’s standards....the revelation of the character and the person of God is the criterion for proper self-evaluation… God looks at a person’s actions and also at the attitudes of the heart…True knowledge of God resulting from an intimate relationship with Him will be demonstrated in a person’s character (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Peter 1:14-16, Foundation Study Bible, Job 42:5, Psalms 24:4, Jeremiah 9:24)


"God's gracious promise in the Gospel of Christ either saves people or makes them hard and stubborn. Yet this hardness and stubbornness is of their own free will, for He never forces anyone to respond in faith. But He does make them the offer of peace…God did not create us as robots but gave us freedom of choice (Orthodox Study Bible, Deuteronomy 2:7, Abbot Tryphon)


 “We make the decision as to whether the events of our life will serve as stepping stones or stumbling blocks…We cannot determine our emotions, but we can choose our attitudes and actions." (Maxie Dunnam, Gary Chapman)


 “You are free to choose what you surrender to, but you are not free from the consequences of that choice." (Rick Warren)


“Trusting God is a decision, not a feeling…Because of the Holy Spirit’s witness and illumination, you never have to be alone in your decisions—but this is true only as long as you’re seeking the mind of God and wanting to do His will." (Dan Walsh, Tony Evans)

"Every time you make a choice you are turning into the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different than it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself." (C.S. Lewis)


 “Your character is a product of the choices you make, and the reaction you have toward the circumstances in your life." (Tim Burns)


“Poor choices, whether morally, relationally or spiritually, lead to unrest, stress and anxiety...The choices we make determine the shape and color of our lives." (John DeMarco, Luis Palau)


“We need to realize that we are in control of our choices, no matter how we feel." (Henry Cloud and John Townsend)


“People continually blame God for their self-induced problems…Instead of blaming God, look for ways to grow through your bad choices and failures.” (Life Application Study Bible, Isaiah 8:21)

“We work hard to keep our outward appearance attractive, but what is deep down in our heart (where others can’t see) is more important to God.” (Life Application Study Bible, Matthew 15:16-20)


“If you want someone to act a certain way, be sure that you live that way yourself. Then you will earn the right to be heard, and your life will reinforce what you teach.” (Life Application Study Bible, Titus 2:7,8)


“Whatever happened to self-discipline? Many books and speakers guide wandering souls to selffulfillment, self-satisfaction, and self-awareness. Not many tackle self-discipline. Self-discipline requires an honest look at your strengths and weaknesses. It means building a will to say no when a powerful appetite inside you screams yes…Self-discipline is a long steady course in learning attitudes that do not come naturally, and channeling natural appetites toward God’s purposes.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Corinthians 9:25)


“What we say reveals what we are. If we can control what we say, we can control what we do." (The Orthodox Study Bible, James 3:1-12)


“A person’s lifestyle and relationships provide a window into his or her character.” (Life Application Study Bible, Titus 1:5-9)


“Our conduct speaks volumes about what we believe.” (Life Application Study Bible, Titus 1:15)

“The qualities we condemn in others are often our own character flaws…ask God to help you understand their feelings and see your own flaws more clearly. You may discover that in condemning others, you have been condemning yourself.” (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Samuel 12:5,6)


“Lying to one another disrupts unity by destroying trusty…Be committed to telling the truth.” (Life Application Study Bible, Colossians 3:9)​


“You conduct should match your faith.” (Life Application Study Bible, Colossians 3:10) “…strive to do what is right, and both God and people will respect your convictions.” (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Samuel 8:15)


“Each time we show compassion, our character is strengthened.” (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Samuel 9:7)


“…God’s perfect moral character highlights His glory and can be seen everywhere. God will never do anything that is not morally perfect. This reassures us that we can trust Him, yet it places demands on us. Our desire to be holy (dedicated to God and morally clean) is our only suitable response.”  (Life Application Study Bible, Psalm 93:5)


“We should live above reproach morally so that we will reflect God’s goodness to others.” (Life Application Study Bible, Ephesians 5:8)


“Our lives, our actions, and our words together are meant to share the truth of the Gospel appropriate to our position and opportunities, even when not cast in “religious” terms.” (Dynamis 12/11/2012)


“One of the finest marks of the great servants of God, a characteristic that distinguishes them above the many, is the capacity to beseech God not to charge the faults of other brethren “against them” (Dynamis 12/12/2012)


“…always strive to have good character, and continually grow into a better and better person…How we treat others is of paramount importance and reveals our true character… As we grow in God our human character takes on more and more of God’s divine character…There is no life or existence apart from God. We are of God and in God. When we reject God we are rejecting existence itself in a sense.” (Sacramental Living)


“God’s principles for right living bring lasting happiness, because they guide us into long-term right behavior in spite of our ever changing feelings.” (Life Application Study Bible, Proverbs 10:2)


“It is wrong to think that we can separate spiritual life from everything else, obeying God only in some ethereal sense or living for Him only one day each week. Christ must control all of us, not just the “religious” part.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Thessalonians 5:23)

“Nothing but honesty is acceptable to God. When we pray, sing, speak or serve, nothing closes the door of God’s acceptance more than hypocrisy, lying or pretense.” (Life Application Study Bible, Jeremiah 5:3)


“If we live with the right heart, an authentic heart, despite any flaws we have, God helps us grow toward Him and in Him.” God helps us do this because our hearts are what are so important to Him and He is willing to help us overcome major flaws within ourselves in order to draw us closer to Him. The Bible reads in 1 Samuel 16:7 (or 1 Kingdom 16:7 LXX), ‘For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ “(Sacramental Living)


“Keeping your word and following through on assignments should be high on anyone’s priority list.” (Life Application Study Bible, Ruth 3:18)


“By hope we are empowered to confidently trust that all the good things promised us by God we shall obtain; that we will never be without the light and strength we need to fulfill the will of God; that no trials that God sends us will be greater than, with His grace, we can bear” (Father John Hardon)


“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” (Helen Keller)


“Some think troubles are always caused by sin or lack of faith. Trials may be part of God’s plan for believers. Experiencing problems and persecutions can build character, perseverance, and sensitivity toward others who face trouble. Problems are unavoidable for God’s people. Your troubles may be a sign of effective Christian living.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Thessalonians 3:1-3)


“Some people turn to God with the hope of escaping suffering on earth. But God doesn’t promise that. Instead, He gives us power to grow through our sufferings.” (Life Application Study Bible,1 Thessalonians 3:2-5)


“Time and time again the spiritual decisions of the most consequence are faced by individuals alone” (Richard Mathews)


“Most of us can find compelling reasons to do or believe whatever suites our purposes. If we do not examine our ideas in light of God’s truth, however, we may just be self-serving.” (Life Application Study Bible, Luke 7:33, 34)


“Consider: in the positions we occupy: are we consistently functioning as Christ’s hands, eyes, and mouth? Are we speaking His truth through our words? This is not a matter of acting piously, but of being faithful to the Lord. We are to apply the grace we have in daily life.” (Dynamis 10/26/12)


“We all fail Christ. The Apostles did; the Saints did. But these persisted until the end. They stayed with the struggle. Maybe they had moments when they worried about appearances, about looking good - yes, even Saint Peter did that (Gal 2:11-13). However, the beauty of their lives in Christ was seen in the ability to weep and correct their behavior when they were wrong.” (Dynamis 11/5/2012)


“We can all be hypocrites sometimes…. saying one thing and doing another…even when we are striving to be sincere.” (Sacramental Living)


“A person who tries to do right but often fails is not a hypocrite. Neither are those who fulfill their duty even when they don’t feel like doing it. Often it is necessary to set aside our desires in order to do what needs to be done. It is not hypocri