My Pastor preached a series on “Powerhouse Families” during the month of September and the scripture reference for the series was Joshua 24:15
“As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
What a powerful statement! The scripture in its entirety reads, “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the god your forefathers served beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” We hang this scripture up in our houses, quote it, and shout it from the rooftops, but what does it really mean? It means that no matter what, we choose to follow the ways of the Lord over our culture, no matter how unpopular, old-fashioned, narrow-minded, nor all the other things people think and say about Christians.
Our pastor spoke about our homes being Christ centered and not just Christian and that our children are to be influencers and not influenced.
I started thinking about this and how this applies to my family. I have two adult children who are serving God (thank you Jesus!) and as they were growing up, I was obsessed with character training. I bought homeschool curriculum and parenting books on the subject. I even bought a Christian curriculum on character sketches that compare animal traits to character i.e the turtle was persistent. I taught character during chapel at the homeschool co-op I directed. I thought that if I taught my children “character” they would have it. Boy was I wrong. Teaching character and Christian virtues is great but it does not give anyone good character. Every parent wants their child to have good character whether they are Christians or not. Some public schools use a program called “Character Counts”. I don’t know much about it, but I’m sure it’s a good program.
The curriculum and books I bought were good and most of the material was biblically based but the Bible is our ultimate book on parenting . What does it say?
- First of all we should pray for our children: 1 Samuel 1:26-26
“[Hannah to the Priest Eli] As surely as you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the LORD. I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.” (NIV)
- Secondly, we should set the example. We can’t expect our children to do something we don’t do. This is tough. Along these lines, we need to apologize to our children when we blow it, and we will.
Philippians 4:9 ” Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
With that being said, what are Biblical character traits? They are the Fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23,
“Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
Think about it. These nine “character traits” are the model God gave us as believers to follow. All the Christian virtues we teach our children are rooted in these nine fruit that flow from us as we submit ourselves to Christ. And if we are Godly influencers these traits will overflow from our spirits. This is no easy task if we do it on our own but with help from the Holy Spirit, we can do all things.
How do we go about teaching these traits? We teach by example and call our children out on negative attitudes and ungodly actions. I have seen too many good Christian parents ignore negative attitudes and make excuses for their children’s poor behavior. Their children know about God and can quote scripture but don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus and as a result they struggle with their salvation. Call them out when they are unkind, ungrateful, negative, complaining, irresponsible, etc. I have heard too many well meaning parents say their kids are “good kids” but they are disrespectful to their parents. I am not saying to call them names and to speak negative things about your children. I am saying to let them know that their actions are not Godly. We as parent should expect Godly character from our children. My children are 22 and 26 years old and I still call them out on negative attitudes.
This is part of raising our children in the way they should go. It is not always easy but the results are worth the persistence!
This is my household and we do serve the Lord!