6 Difficult Character Challenges We Must Deal With

In this post, I share six character challenges that I believe we must all deal with on a daily basis. Andy Stanley once said that, “We must evaluate every challenge and determine if it’s a problem to fix or a tension to manage.” I believe these challenges are tensions we must constantly be managing. Some days you’ll do a great job handling these challenges and other days you’ll fail at them. Our goal should be to consistently increasing the frequency of times we handle these well versus the times we fail.

-We must evaluate every challenge and determine if it's a problem to fix or a tension to manage.- (1)

Here are the six challenges: 

1.) The Challenge to Use Your Power and Influence to Serve Others – Abraham Lincoln once said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” As you grow in your leadership journey, you will get more influence and power. When you do, you will constantly need to choose between using your influence and power for your own benefit or for the benefit of others.

[shareable cite=”Abraham Lincoln”]Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.'[/shareable]

In Matthew 20:25-28, Jesus said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord their authority over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.26 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Question/Challenge:

  • Do you use your power and influence to benefit yourself or others? What would your team say? Your family? Friends? It might be worth asking them!
  • How are you using your power and influence to serve others?

2.) The Challenge of Handling Criticism and Rejection – If we’re going to pursue the dreams in our hearts and become the men and women God called us to be, we will be criticized and rejected. How you respond to criticism and rejection is critical. If we are not careful, they will bind us in a prison that we can’t escape from and we’ll never risk doing anything great.

In Matthew 10:14, Jesus encouraged us when he said, “If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake the dust from your feet as you leave.” We must learn to shake off criticism and rejection quickly and never let it define who we are. Let God do that!

Question/Challenge:

  • Have you been letting the voice of others criticism and rejection keep you in bondage?
  • What can you do today to “wipe the dust from your feet” and move past it?

3.) The Challenge of Remaining Humble while Being Praised – Proverbs 27:21 says, “Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but a person is tested by being praised.”As you grow and develop and start accomplishing a lot, you will get praised by others. While there is nothing wrong with getting recognized for our accomplishments, there is a danger to believing our own press. If we’re not careful, we can fall into pride, and mistakenly think that we are the reason for all of our success.

Deuteronomy 8:10-18 says, “When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. “But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today.  For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, 13 and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. Do not forget that he led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry. He gave you water from the rock!16 He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good. 1He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ 18 Remember theLord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath.

[shareable cite=”Deut. 8:10″]When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. “But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God.[/shareable]

The reality is, if we’ve accomplished anything and done anything great with our lives, it’s because God gave us everything we need to be successful. We must never forget. We must continually remind ourselves of who enables us to do what we do. If we’ll constantly be grateful to God for what He’s done for us, we’ll escape the trap of pride and never esteem the praise of others more than we should.

Questions/Challenge:

  • In what areas of your life have you fallen into pride? Humble yourself and repent!
  • Have you forgotten where God brought you from? Reflect on that and be grateful.
  • Do you realize that all the gifts and talents you have come from Him? Be grateful?

4.) The Challenge of to Not Favor Some People More than Others –  James 2:1-4 says, “My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others? For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?

I have a very interesting job. In the same day, I can spend time with an executive in a corner office of a high-rise and then spend time with someone who literally does not have a place to live and is dependent on our organization for their next meal. To be honest, it can be a challenge to treat both of those people the same. It can be a challenge to give the person with nothing as much time as the executive.

I remember a leader challenging me one day when she said, “Doug, you’re all about influencing the influencers, which is great, but every day you get the opportunity to influence those with no influence. What are you doing with them?” DANG! I think about that challenge every day. I would encourage you to as well.

[shareable] ‘Doug, you’re all about influencing the influencers which is great, but every day you get the opportunity to influence those with no influence. What are you doing with them?’ [/shareable]

Question/Challenge:

  • What are you doing today for someone who can do nothing for you in return?
  • Who are the people who are in your life that you usually ignore, but would be greatly blessed if you gave them some of your time?

5.) The Challenge to Guard Yourself Against Greed – . In Luke 12:15, Jesus said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” I recently wrote an entire blog post on this subject. I encourage you to read it!

Question/Challenge:

  • What are you pursuing that will never actually fulfill you? (i.e. More money, stuff, etc.)
  • What are you sacrificing as a result of your greed? (Your family? Your relationship with God? Your health?)

6.) The Challenge to Not Broadcast the Good that You do –  In Matthew 6:2-4, Jesus said, “When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” 

In a world that it’s extremely easy to broadcast to the world what we’re doing, this is a challenge we tend to overlook, but shouldn’t.

Question/Challenge:

  • How often do you find yourself broadcasting the good you’re doing? Why do you do that? What need are you trying to fill?
  • When’s the last time you did something for someone and didn’t tell anyone?

Conclusion:

  • These are six challenges that I’ve been dealing with lately. Which ones challenge you?
  • What other character challenges do you see that we must deal with?

Thoughts? Comment below!

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