Build Opposite Traits of Character to Overcome Defects
The child of God will not rest satisfied until he is clothed with the righteousness of Christ, and sustained by his life-giving power. When he sees a weakness in his character, it is not enough to confess it again and again; he must go to work with determination and energy to overcome his defects BY BUILDING UP OPPOSITE TRAITS OF CHARACTER. He will not shun this work because it is difficult. Untiring energy is required of the Christian; but he is not obliged to work in his own strength; divine power awaits his demand. Every one who is sincerely striving for the victory over self, will appropriate the promise, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” 2 Corinthians 12:9.
— Gospel Workers, p. 420 (emphasis supplied)
Opposite Traits of Character to Build
Do you struggle with complaining like I do?
Then build up the opposite trait of thankfulness. Think of all the things you can be thankful for. List them every morning when you get up and praise God for them in your morning devotion. Or, write down the blessings you’ve received during the day when you have your evening devotion, perhaps in a dedicated gratitude journal. Cultivate cheerfulness, “knowing that the trying of your faith worketh patience” (James 1:3). Then, thank Him for the trials that refine you and draw you closer to Him!
Do you struggle with grudges?
Then build up forgiveness, thinking of how God through Christ has forgiven you. Yes, He forgave you even when He knew you would hurt Him again! Even if you do not feel forgiveness in your heart, choose to forgive. God often does not bring the feeling into our hearts until we have chosen to act on principle.
Do you struggle with lusts?
Then “lust” after God; “cleave unto Him: for He is thy life” (Deut. 30:20). Whenever your thoughts wander into forbidden territory, rein them in and focus them on “the beauty of Jehovah” (Psalm 27:4; 90:17).
Do you struggle with loneliness?
Then make friends with God, His angels, and fellow earthlings (people or pets) that would love your friendliness and attention. Even if you are an introvert, take time to socialize! Even if it is only once a week (e.g. congregating on Sabbath), it is vitally important to connect with other people. After all, it is not good that a man should be alone (Genesis 2:18). (But don’t get married just to solve your loneliness; only marry if God leads you to the person He chose for you.)
Do you struggle with fears?
Then build up hope. Contemplate upon God always being in control of your life and that nothing can hurt you except it touches Him first. When you are in Christ, anything that comes to you must go through Him first. Therefore, He only allows that which will either be for your good or so that you can help someone else.
And remember, the One who owns “every beast of the forest” (Psalm 50:10) is your Father. He is taking care of you and will provide everything you need.
I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread
— Psalm 37:25
But How Do We Build These Character Traits?
We can accomplish this by following some very simple biblical counsel.
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
— 2 Corinthians 3:18
You see, friend, that we need only behold the perfect character of Christ and His Spirit will form those beautiful traits in our own hearts. We behold Him in His Word and He transforms us by the power of that Word. It’s really that simple! Just remember, it won’t work unless we follow this counsel consistently, day after day.
God Will Create His Character Traits in Us
There is hope for whatever we are going through. Pain will pass. Glory will come if we build up the character of Christ in our hearts. In all these things we can rejoice in the precious presence of the Spirit of our Saviour!
This is not a self-help program; but opposite traits of character from our defects are built up by Christ working in our hearts as we yield to His thoughts that He implants in us as we Ask, Believe, and reCeive.
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
— Romans 15:13