Character is not what a person appears to be but what he actually is at heart. It is what he has become by way of personal conviction and performance. It is the sum total of the values he lives by. Character is not produced only under stressful conditions. It is forged by responses to everyday struggles and common experiences. That fact requires us to consider a large part of Abraham's life. Let us identify the traits that built his character.
Responsiveness to God
One primary trait that marked Abraham's life was his responsiveness to God. How a person responds to God's direction determines what he becomes. This is vividly demonstrated in Abraham's life.
Genesis 12 opens with God giving Abraham specific instructions to leave his homeland, leave his family, and go where he had not yet been told. That he had a home and family and that he did not know where he was going did not matter. What did matter was that immediately after this instruction we are told, “So Abram went out as the Lord had commanded him, and Lot went with him: Abram was seventy-five years old when he went forth from Haran.” (Genesis 12:4)
This same ready response is repeated in Genesis 17 when God approached him again. This time God told him He wanted to make a covenant with him. The condition of the covenant for Abraham is two fold- one part long term, and the other part immediate. The long term part? Abraham was to walk before God properly. The immediate part? As a symbol of being in a covenant, he was to circumcise all the males in his household. The bible tells us that Abraham did this “forthwith the very same day, as God had commanded him.” (verse 23)
The third demonstration of Abraham's response to God came when he was told to go and offer up Isaac. The verse following the instruction shows how responsive he was. “So Abraham rising up in the morning, saddled his ass: and took with him two young men, and Isaac his son: and when he had cut wood for the burnt offering he went his way to the place which God had commanded him.” (Genesis 22:3) Immediately, thorough, and ready responses to God were his trademarks- and those responses were foundational to his character.