Although many Christians do prosper and achieve good health, often strong character is developed through times of difficulty, struggle, and pain. There is no quick and easy way to develop character. Character is a quality of life produced by consistent actions and thousands of little decisions during times of testing. In Romans 5:3-5, Paul says, "We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
In their desire to be positive and provide quick, easy, victorious solutions, many preachers/televangelists say nothing about the character acquired through sufferings (see also James 1:12; Phil. 2:22). The desire for quick and easy solution to problems also short-circuits the Scriptural process of gaining wisdom and discernment. Those qualities of character are gained not be reciting a formula, having a positive attitude, or knowing the prescribed steps. The way to discernment involves deep thought and consistent practice.
Hebrews 5:14 reads, "Solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil." Notice the connection between solid food and maturity. Not only do the mature digest solid food, but they also practice what they have learned. They have thought hard about what they believe, and then have felt whatever emotion that thought produces and then have acted on it. One cannot act on something without being moved to do so (emotions). But one cannot be moved to do something unless one is inspired by a particular thought, concept, doctrine, or idea.
Those who press on to learn more about God, and then experience and live out that knowledge, become men and women of character: "Get wisdom, discipline and understanding," Scripture commands (Prov. 23:23). "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Psalm 111:10). Although we may, in our sinfulness, be tempted to take a shortcut to character, we must remember that such neglect is not in accord with Scripture (see Rom. 12:2; Gal. 5:16-25; Phil. 2:12-13; 4:8-9; Col. 3:9-17).
Essential to the development of character is the solid food discussed above. One important step in developing character involves educating the conscience. Recently, many writers have described the moral decay in our culture. One author in particular has discussed the "death of ethics in America" and locates the solution in moral education: an education of the conscience. The televangelists could help here but I am afraid they do not.
Again, a few simple answers are not adequate to prepare us for the complexities of life, and the fruit of their own shortcut mentality has been amply demonstrated. The absence of an emphasis on conscience from the preaching of televangelists indicates a lack of connection between knowing and doing. Conscience is where doctrine and practice meet and is where general principles are brought to bear in concrete cases.