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Exemplifying Godly Character: How to Grow in Christlikeness

Godly character is the expression of our inner values and beliefs through our words, actions, and attitudes. It is the reflection of God’s nature and likeness in our lives. As followers of Christ, we are called to exemplify godly character in everything we do and say. But how can we develop and display godly character in a world that is often hostile to God and His ways? In this article, we will explore what godly character is, why it matters, and how we can cultivate it by God’s grace and power.

What is Godly Character?

The word “character” comes from the Greek word “charakter”, which means “engraving, the figure stamped, an exact copy or representation.” It is used in Hebrews 1:3 to describe Jesus as “the express image” of God’s person. Jesus perfectly represented God’s nature, likeness, and character through His life. He said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

Godly character, then, refers to the qualities and attributes that reflect the character of God. One of the clearest descriptions of godly character can be found in Galatians 5:22–23, which reads:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”

These are not natural traits that we can produce by ourselves. They are supernatural fruits that are produced by the Holy Spirit in us as we abide in Christ and surrender to His will. They are evidence of God’s work in our hearts and lives.

Why Does Godly Character Matter?

Godly character matters because it is God’s will for us to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). God wants us to grow in Christlikeness and reflect His glory to the world. Godly character also matters because it affects our relationship with God and others. It determines how we worship God, how we serve Him, how we love others, how we handle trials, how we resist temptations, how we make decisions, and how we fulfill our purpose.

Godly character is not optional for Christians. It is essential for our salvation and sanctification. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Doing God’s will involves obeying His commands and living according to His principles. It involves developing a godly character.

Exemplifying godly character

How Can We Develop Godly Character?

The Bible provides several principles for developing godly character, including:

  • Pursuing God through prayer and study
    To develop godly character, we must first pursue a relationship with God. This means spending time in prayer and studying His word. Prayer is our communication with God, where we express our love, gratitude, praise, confession, requests, and intercession. Prayer aligns our hearts with God’s heart and enables us to receive His grace and guidance. Studying God’s word is our nourishment from God, where we learn His truth, promises, commands, and wisdom. Studying God’s word transforms our minds and renews our thoughts according to His perspective.
  • Practicing self-control
    Self-control is a key aspect of godly character. It enables us to resist temptation and live in a way that honors God. Self-control is not something that we can achieve by ourselves. It is a fruit of the Spirit that comes from relying on God’s strength and not our own. Self-control involves saying no to our fleshly desires and impulses and saying yes to God’s will and ways. It involves disciplining our body, mind, emotions, tongue, and actions according to God’s standards.
  • Embracing humility
    Humility is another essential quality of godly character. It is the opposite of pride, which is the root of all sin. Humility is recognizing our dependence on God and acknowledging our need for His grace. Humility is admitting our faults and weaknesses and seeking forgiveness from God and others. Humility is esteeming others better than ourselves and serving them with love and respect. Humility is following the example of Christ, who “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant… He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death” (Philippians 2:7-8).
  • Pursuing excellence
    Excellence is not perfectionism, which is unrealistic and unhealthy. Excellence is doing our best with what God has given us and for His glory. Excellence is being diligent, faithful, and responsible in our work, ministry, and stewardship. Excellence is using our gifts, talents, and resources to serve God and others with excellence. Excellence is striving to improve ourselves and grow in our skills and abilities. Excellence is honoring God with our whole being and giving Him our best.
  • Demonstrating love
    Love is the ultimate mark of godly character. It is both the greatest commandment and the greatest virtue. Love is the essence of God’s nature and the motivation of His actions. Love is not a feeling or an emotion. It is both a choice and an action. Love is defined by God in 1 Corinthians 13:4–8:

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”

To develop godly character, we must learn to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:30–31). We must love God more than anything else and love others as God loves them. We must love without hypocrisy, without conditions, and without limits.


Exemplifying godly character is not easy or natural. It requires God’s grace and power, as well as our cooperation and commitment. It requires a daily surrender to God’s will and a constant dependence on His Spirit. It requires a lifelong process of growth and transformation.

But it is worth it. Because godly character brings glory to God, blessing to us, and impact to the world. Because godly character makes us more like Christ, who is “the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person” (Hebrews 1:3).

May we all strive to exemplify godly character in our lives by God’s grace and for His glory.

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