Sermon quotes on character

Tod Bolsinger 

Relational congruence is the ability to be fundamentally the same person with the same values in every relationship, in every circumstance and especially amidst crisis. It is the internal capacity to keep promises to God, to self and to one’s relationships that consistently express one’s identity and values in spiritually and emotionally healthy ways. Relational congruence is about both constancy and care at the same time. It is about both character and affection, and self-knowledge and authentic self-expression. Relational congruence is the leader’s ability to cultivate strong, healthy, caring relationships; maintaining healthy boundaries; and communicating clear expectations, all while staying focused on the mission.

Canoeing the Mountains

David Brooks

The road to character often involves moments of moral crisis, confrontation, and recovery. When they were in a crucible moment, they suddenly had a greater ability to see their own nature. The everyday self-deceptions and illusions of self-mastery were shattered. They had to humble themselves in self-awareness if they had any hope of rising up transformed.

The Road to Character


Fyodor Dostoevsky

Lying to ourselves is more deeply ingrained than lying to others.


Hellen Keller

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.


C.S. Lewis 

Progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.

Mere Christianity


C.S. Lewis 

Fine feelings, new insights, greater interest in ‘religion’ mean nothing unless they make our actual behavior better…. When we Christians behave badly, or fail to behave well, we are making Christianity unbelievable to the outside world.

Mere Christianity

Martin Luther

Resolved: that all men should live for the glory of God. Resolved second: that whether others do or not, I will.

Martin Luther King Jr.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Strength to Love

Erwin McManus

Attitude is an accurate monitor of where we fall on the spectrum of pride and humility.

Uprising: A Revolution of the Soul

Theodore Roosevelt

In the battle of life, it is not the critic who counts; nor the one who points out how the strong person stumbled, or where the doer of a deed could have done better. The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who does actually strive to do deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends oneself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he or she fails, at least fails while daring greatly.
Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

You can resolve to live your life with integrity. Let your credo be this: Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me.

Charles Spurgeon

Character is always lost when a high ideal is sacrificed on the altar of conformity and popularity.



Dallas Willard

Individual disasters, too, very largely follow upon human choices, our own or those of others. And whether or not they do in a particular case, the situations in which we find ourselves are never as important as our responses to them, which come from our “spiritual” side. A carefully cultivated heart will, assisted by the grace of God, foresee, forestall, or transform most of the painful situations
before which others stand like helpless children saying “Why?”

Renovation of the Heart: Putting On the Character of Christ.

N.T. Wright

What are we hear for in the first place? The fundamental answer…is that we we’re “here for” is to become genuine human beings, reflecting the God in whose image we’re made, and doing so in worship on the one hand and in mission, its full and large sense, on the other; and that we do this not by least by “following Jesus.” The way this works out is that it produces, though the work the Holy Spirit, a transformation of character. This transformation will mean that we do indeed “keep the rules”-though not out of a sense of externally imposed “duty,” but out of character that has been formed within us. And it will mean that we do indeed “follow our hearts” and live “authentically”-but only when, with that transformed character fully operative (like an airline pilot with a lifetime’s existence), the hard work up front bears fruit  in spontaneous decisions and actions that reflect what has been formed deep within. And, in the wider world, the challenge we face is to grow and develop a fresh generation of leaders, in all walks of life, whose character has been formed in wisdom and public service, not in greed for money or power.

After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters

Brené Brown

What we know matters, but who we are matters more. Being rather than knowing requires showing up and letting ourselves be seen. It requires us to dare greatly, to be vulnerable.

Daring Greatly  Penguin Publishing Group, p. 16.

Will Ferrell

Before you marry a person, you should first make them use a computer with slow Internet to see who they really are.

Wayne Stiles

God works through our waiting to strengthen our character through weakness, to develop our peace of mind by trusting him in chaos, and to teach us that we can glorify him just as much by waiting on him as we can by serving him.

Waiting on God, Baker Publishing Group, 2015, p.117.

John Ortberg

Very often God’s will for you will be “I want you to decide,” because decision making is an indispensable part of character formation. God is primarily in the character-forming business, not the circumstance-shaping business.

Taken from All the Places to Go . . . How Will You Know?: God Has Placed before You an Open Door.  What Will You Do?, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 

Source Unknown

We sow a thought and reap an act; We sow an act and reap a habit; We sow a habit and reap a character; We sow a character and reap a destiny.  

Richard Halverson

Jesus Christ said more about money than about any other single thing because, when it comes to a man’s real nature, money is of first importance. Money is an exact index to a man’s true character. All through Scripture there is an intimate correlation between the development of a man’s character and how he handles his money.

Stanley Hauerwas

Our character is not merely the result of our choices, but rather the form our agency takes through our beliefs and intentions. So understood, the idea of agency helps us see that our character is not a surface manifestation of some deeper reality called the “self.” We are our character.

The Peaceable Kingdom: A Primer in Christian Ethics (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1983), 39.

Source Unknown

Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

Anne Bogel

Compared to our personality traits, character traits are more malleable. Our personalities can only be managed (or tamed, some might say). Our characters can be shaped, although this isn’t easy and happens slowly, with effort. Much of what we call character arises out of our core beliefs, and it’s surprisingly difficult to change our beliefs.

Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything, Baker Books, 2017.

Dan B. Allender

We are to have a character that invites others to see the goodness of Christ and to be a character that intrigues and compels others to discover what it means to be forgiven and set free to live with passion and joy.

Leading Character (Leadership Library), Zondervan. 

Dan B. Allender

A leader’s failure is never isolated, involving only the leader. Usually the failure of a leader involves basic patterns of hiding and blaming throughout the whole organization, patterns that must be uprooted. But the solution must always begin with the senior leader. If the fix doesn’t begin with the leader, then any efforts to address it in the so-called rank and file will be futile.

Leading Character (Leadership Library), Zondervan. 

Mark Twain

Make it a point to do something every day that you don’t want to do. This is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain.

Following the Equator (1897)

Mark Twain

Every one is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.

Following the Equator (1897)

John Foster

A man without decision of character can never be said to belong to himself…. He belongs to whatever can make capture of him.

“Decision of Character,” Decision of Character: And Other Essays in a Series of Letters (1882)

Still Looking for inspiration?

Consider checking out our illustrations page on Character. 

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