Character Like Christ
Following are some Bible references and passages from the writings of Ellen White to support you in understanding character and its development. Do not view this as a comprehensive answer or guide, but rather as a platform to encourage your own prayerful study on the topic.
"...but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." Romans 5:3-5
'To a large extent parents create the atmosphere of the home circle, and when there is disagreement between father and mother, the children partake of the same spirit. Make your home atmosphere fragrant with tender thoughtfulness. If you have become estranged and have failed to be Bible Christians, be converted; for the character you bear in probationary time will be the character you will have at the coming of Christ. If you would be a saint in heaven, you must first be a saint on earth. The traits of character you cherish in life will not be changed by death or by the resurrection. You will come up from the grave with the same disposition you manifested in your home and in society. Jesus does not change the character at His coming. The work of transformation must be done now. Our daily lives are determining our destiny."
E G White in letter 18b (1891)
Character of Children
"And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favour with the Lord and with people." 1 Samuel 2:26; and "And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favour with God and man." Luke 2:52
"Even small children are known by their actions; so is their conduct really pure and upright?" Proverbs 20:11
"For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come." 1 Timothy 4:8
"Here is your work, parents, to develop the characters of your children
\in harmony with the precepts of the Word of God. This work should come first,
for eternal interests are here involved. The character building
of your children is of more importance than the cultivation of your farms,
more essential than the building of houses to live in,
or of prosecuting any manner of business or trade."
E G White in The Signs of the Times
September 10, 1894
"Character building is the most important work ever entrusted to human beings,
and never before was its diligent study so important as now.
Never was any previous generation called to meet issues
so momentous; never before were young men and young women
confronted by perils so great as confront them today."
E G White in Education, p225
A Change of Heart
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." Ezekiel 36:26
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2
Teaching & Training
There are an abundance of resources that can be found online with regard to the development of character or virtues. An important principle to remember is found in 2 Corinthians 3:18: "And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." It is through the knowledge of God, and the working of His Spirit in our lives, and the lives of our children, that our characters are changed to reflect His own.
Some recommended family resources to help teach children attributes of good character are to the right. These are third-party links and shared in good faith - please note that while we have attempted to link to free resources, some of these items may also have resouces that are for sale and/or may advertise products. We are not affiliated with these services, nor do we guarantee their product.
The book "Parenting by the Spirit" is available from Adventist Book Centres. Click on the image for a link to an excerpt from the book.