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Character is the most important thing in any sphere of life.

Remember what your dad used to say?  “A man’s word is his bond.”  “A little hard work never hurt anybody.” “You’re always a winner if you lose with a smile.”

Good ole’ Dad, right?

So when we talk about our work, it’s the same thing.  Have high character.

It is the primary way we can honor God as we labor.  We’re at work for most of the week anyway, so we have to figure out how to be the man/woman He made us to be.  It’s in pursuing high character, that we can serve others best, and serve others through business and commerce.

Here are 7 character traits to avoid at work.

1. The Prestige-Seeking Character Trait

And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

ShepherdGranted – this passage is about Paul in his work as a preacher of the gospel.

But the principle remains, as we consider how to act at work.  He didn’t come with eloquence.  He didn’t try to be the best speaker or the most charismatic leader.  He didn’t try to stomp on other people so that he could rise up.  He didn’t seek the respect of men above all else.

He admitted his weaknesses and allowed God to shine through him.

Don’t pursue prestige.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting to do your work so well that other people notice.  But have the right heart about it.

2. The Gossiping Character Trait

A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much.

Proverbs 20:19

Standing at the water cooler today?  Keep this one in mind.

Perpetuating rumors can be one of the most damaging things for other people.  You can hurt their reputations and even put their job on the line.

Do not do this!  Just hold your tongue.

3. The Self-Defending Character Trait (AKA The Throwing-My-Friends-Under-the-Bus Character Trait)

A friend loves at all times,
    and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

Proverbs 17:17

character man in the woodsSome people seem to always have an excuse when they mess up at work – it’s someone else’s fault.

This is despicable.

If someone is unwilling to take responsibility for their actions, that’s bad enough.  There can be no growth when when a person will not admit they made a mistake.

But then it becomes clear to anyone in charge that the self-defender is full of crap when he blames other people all the time.

Show some courage and bear the weight of your mistakes.

Show some #courage and bear the weight of your mistakes. Click To Tweet

4. The Easily-Angered Character Trait

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

-James 1:19-20

I had a staff member aggressively say to me one time, “I’m going to come at someone however they come at me.”

There was no hint of self-control, understanding, or forebearance in their words.  Their goal was to squash anyone who showed a hint of disrespect (without realizing that they themselves were being completely disrespectful).

Becoming angry is okay, but acting on it quickly is not.  Yes, other people will make us mad, but as mature adults and sons and daughters of God, we put Christ’s reputation on the line when we embarrass ourselves by going berserk very often.

5. The Self-Indulgent Character Trait

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

Romans 12:3

character network church planters vision goal eyeEssentially, all the bad character traits listed here are self-indulgent.

But in this case, I’m talking about the person who thinks they are God’s gift to the world (Yes, all of us are made in His image, so yes, we’re technically a gift from God, but you understand the colloquialism).

Do not be the one who always talks about him/herself.  Don’t ramble endlessly about your accomplishments or how you always do the right thing.

Because you don’t always do the right thing.  You’re a sinner like the rest of us.

6. The Lying Character Trait

You shall not give false testimony about your neighbor.

-Exodus 20:16 (The Ten Comandments)

This one is pretty straight forward.  Do not lie.  It’s one of the 10 commandments.

You know better than this.

7. The Out-for-Yourself Character Trait

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Philippians 2:3-4

Do you call in for work often?  Do you often refuse a friend who needs a shift covered?  Do you consider your personal life more important than those of your coworkers?  Do you leave jobs regularly for new opportunities.

Be a team-player.  Everyone has to make sacrifices.  And everyone should have some degree of loyalty to their employers, and to their organization.

Be a team-player. Everyone has to make sacrifices. Click To Tweet

As you work on being focused on the needs of others, and not just on yourself (considering all the principles in this article), you’ll be able to love your neighbor truly.  You’ll be able to take care of your community.  And your part in the commonwealth of your organization will contribute to the well-being of your city.


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Also published on Medium.