“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” —Galatians 5:22-23.
If you’re like me, your greatest desire for your children is that they will love Jesus, love people, and be on a mission for His kingdom. While there are many traits and attributes we would like to see in our kids, those three will always be the priority.
Instilling those desires in our kids is not easy. Parenting is tough, and being the type of parent God wants you to be is even tougher. We live in a culture that tells parents “anything goes” when it comes to raising kids. In order to raise home run kids, we will have to lean heavily on the Lord for His wisdom and grace. We can’t assume they will be home run kids because they attend church every Sunday and have a Bible on all their electronic devices. It takes more than that. It takes loving God, character and it takes self-control. Good character will not do us much good if we are not building our character around Jesus Christ and His principles for our lives. Jesus is the foundation of our character.
The good news is that the Bible gives us the blueprint for raising home run kids. The challenge is to take children — step-by-step — from selfishness to selflessness. That is why it is important to begin with the ending in mind. Parenting is strategic, not just tactical. And it begins with us as parents.
If we want to be a good example to our children, we’ve got to get our belief system right on the inside so that our “outside modeling behavior” can be effective. Otherwise, we’ll be going around saying, “Do as I say, not as I do,” and there isn’t a kid alive who will respect that, or will want to learn from it. Remember, good character is caught more than it is taught. That means, as you live out godly character before your kids, they’ll naturally get it more than if you just tell them what it’s supposed to look like. Discipleship is not just about what you do, but what you are–how you follow Christ, walk daily with Him, serve others in His name, and “seek first His kingdom” through personal ministry. Before you discipline, you’re a disciple.
It includes developing your child’s character by helping them understand the goodness of God and learning to desire that good. Our goal is not to indoctrinate your child with Biblical truth, but rather to give your child the will and skill to learn, and the desire to keep learning about God.
There is no fail safe “formula” for building home run character. It is really just a process of teaching them to love God and to love themselves. Bringing your children into your daily faith-life with Christ is what will define and shape their character.
- Have you ever been through a hard time that made your character better?
- Would your children understand that character that came from God produces hope, and a character that you developed on your own is hopeless?
- How has your parenting approach focused on character building so far? Are there other areas that are taking time away from opportunities to build character? If so, what are they?
- What did you learn this week about character? What can you do to apply it to your life?