Character Traits to Keep an Eye On

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You’ve started thinking he might be a guy worth dating…or marrying. Maybe you’re engaged and the question pops up in pre-marital counseling. Or, perhaps you’re married and you’re starting to ask: what kind of person is he? Further, what kind of person are you?

Character matters. The Lord makes each of us with a unique personality, and He works in us to develop and hone character traits that glorify Him. But some character traits seem iffy. A blessing and a curse, as some say.

It’s important to talk with your significant other about strengths and weaknesses, including in your character. Be prepared to uphold and encourage certain traits with the wisdom that your character (and his!) can easily shift just a bit to be out of line.

Spot some subtle key differences between traits that the Lord prospers and those He warns against:

Carefree Vs. Careless

How relieving and revitalizing it can be to spend time with someone who is carefree! You know that with a carefree person, you can expect to have fun, experience joy, and feel freedom to just…be.

The trouble comes when carefree is actually careless. A careless person moves from enjoying freedoms to abusing them. Neglecting responsibility, stewardship, or wisdom, a careless person is “all good” until the good runs out and he is left wondering why.

Confident Vs. Prideful

There’s a fine line here. Confidence can make you bold, give your courage, and equip to you to obey and follow the Lord. Pride looks much the same, except that pride doesn’t come from trusting in the Lord, but trusting in oneself.

Likewise, you can recognize a prideful character by what they do with their gain: is it to glorify the Lord and shared among loved ones humbly, or saved for oneself under the auspices of “prosperity” and “building up” something “for” instead of “in” the Lord?

Loyal Vs. Dependent

Hard to come to grips with, it’s possible for loyalty to go too far. A person who sticks by you is precious like a brother (Proverbs 18:24). Unfortunately, a person whose sense of self, worth, and purpose is enmeshed with yours is quick to lay a trap for your feet, as with flattery (Proverbs 29:5). Invite loyal friends who care so much for you that they recognize your fallibility and sharpen you instead.

Easygoing Vs. Lazy

“Live quietly” 1 Thessalonians 4:11 says. An easygoing person is like that, minding their own business, pursuing peace, and happy to humbly follow. The verse continues though, “work with your own hands.” Beign relaxed isn’t an excuse for putting everything onto others. Even the easygoing person must give account to God and do his own work.

Outspoken Vs. Aggressive

Like confidence, being outspoken has its place. The outspoken can be the clearest communicators, great proclaimers of the Lord’s truth, and fine examples of the Lord’s honing process (see: the Apostle Peter.)

When outspokenness becomes aggressive, however, it goes beyond fruitful boldness and zeal, taking on qualities of “I know best” and “my way or no way.” The offense of the cross becomes the offense of “me.” It’s difficult to respect and be close to a person whose gospel is oneself.

Meek Vs. Passive

On the flip side, passivity can be an issue too. Much like an easygoing person, a passive person can easily allow all sorts of evil to happen around them, choosing to preserve themselves and their quiet state above speaking up for what’s right.

Don’t be mistaken: you can be a calm, quiet, and even a cautious person and be used for God’s glory. Gideon, anyone? Meekness isn’t the same as passivity. Instead, meekness is marked by humility and by a wisdom that recognizes that “every word is heard by God, so speak accordingly!”

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