Character in Scripture…and Parenting
Family and Parenting in God’s Design…continued (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)
As parents, we all desire to have a household of peace rooted in character. Scripture speaks to the importance of character over and over again and I want to share two of those passages to encourage you as to its importance and to be sure you’re walking in the character of Christ and His Word.
The first is from what many know as “The Prayer of Jabez” in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (NASB): “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, ‘Because I bore him with pain.’ Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, ‘Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!’ And God granted him what he requested.” His mother literally named him, Pain! How’s that for a moniker?
We find one simple note about character in the opening and closing statements of these two verses. We find that God granted Jabez’s request, but the writer of Chronicles under the guidance of The Holy Spirit wanted us to not miss that Jabez was honorable, which means “of noble character.” It is connected to God’s granting of his request.
That’s what we desire for our children and to pass it on we must live it, teach it, expect it and encourage it.
The second passage points to how character prompts us to act. In Acts 17:11, Paul and Silas had come to Berea from Thessalonica and the text reads, “Now the Berean Jews were of more ‘noble character’ than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Inner quotes mine and added for emphasis)
Notice what their character prompted them to do. They eagerly searched and studied for themselves. These are key attributes of the discipleship life and what we, as parents, desire to instill in our children.
As we model and develop character in our lives and in our children’s lives, the spiritual fruit is a seeking for Truth, ultimately a seeking for Christ!
Building Our Children’s Self-Worth
Every parent desires to have good children, although some may define “good” differently. For those of us who call Christ Lord and walk as His followers and disciples, this character is based on His life and God’s Word (Colossians 3:16). Hopefully you’ve been tracking along and are able to see that everything in these articles is founded on God’s Word. The principles are for building our character that we, and our children, would form the character of Christ (Galatians 4:19).
One of the enemy’s greatest tricks common to all of us is to focus and reward one another based on accomplishment or performance only. While we need to be encouraged when we have done what is right or good and achieved successes, true development happens in our heart in the formation of character.
As parents we should be attentive to this and while we certainly can point out and reward accomplishment and performance, we must go deeper and find the issues of character so we can praise, reward, and help develop that inward compass in our children’s lives, pointing them to Christ in all things.
In order to do this, let Christ be formed first and always in me.
As we seek to mature in and have Christ formed in us so we can train our children up in His character and instruction, we will begin to see Christ in them as they learn to know and love Him with all they are and seek Him above all else. This is the core and foundation of them knowing who they are and recognizing that their identity, value and worth are in Him.
This is a blessing to them as they mature and it is also a tremendous blessing to us as parents to see the self-control and self-discipline so crucial to developing character in our children. This carries over into the peaceful home we all desire.
The world is mesmerized by self-esteem, but in reality that is just another word for pride that ultimately destroys. The real trophy, or jewel, that our children need is to know their self-worth, leading to self-love. Let me give you a simple yet profound equation that I pray will help you in developing this in yourself and your children:
Again this is not the self-love of the world but the sacrificial self-love of Christ! God, let them and us know that we are your masterpiece in Him (Ephesians 2:10)!
Think back over these articles and see how this aligns with the greatest commands in that it takes self-discipline/control to die to self and worship God above all. As we mature in our faith and praise, we grow to love Him with all that we are. This produces the self-respect that comes from knowing and loving who we are in Him, which gives us our self-worth and ability to love our self (who we are in Christ). Now we are able to love others.
Unless we are willing to practice the self-discipline/control that forms His character in our lives, we will never develop the self-respect and self-worth needed to go outside ourselves and love others fully.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Happy will that house be in which relations are formed from character.” We want our children to be blessed as we walk after The Lord and they grow to do the same (Proverbs 20:7). We all desire a home filled with happiness and peace and it is Godly character that makes it a reality (Proverbs 24:3-4; Psalm 127:1a).
You can be sure The Lord is building your family as you build on The Rock of Christ!
Character, Integrity & Legacy (Deuteronomy 6:7; Proverbs 20:7; 22:6; Ephesians 6:4)
Remember, whatever you invest into your children will become the legacy that you leave and they live out. You need to be intentional and willing to have candid discussions in teaching them about life, relationships, and sexuality, as these are what we were created for to build the loving relationships of Christ’s Kingdom. Don’t let fear, guilt or any other deterrents keep you from being the ones, as parents, to model this character and teach it your children.
Research shows over and over again that despite the Internet, media, peers, and other influencers, parents still have by far the greatest influence on their children. Good or bad, you will be the greatest molder of their life. My question to you is, “What legacy will your influence leave?” Will it be one of character leading them to walk with Christ or will it be for the world?
The second greatest influence is their faith. How are you guiding and helping to shape their faith. Remember, it’s not the pastor or youth minister’s job, it’s yours. They will stand or fall based on how you model and instill that faith in them.
God is Faithful as we are doing these things with and for our children!
Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – We must be the first teachers and disciplers but we also are responsible to see that those “others” that impact our children’s lives are rooted in God’s Word as well. This includes involvement in a church family (Hebrews 10:24-25), pastors, schools and teachers, coaches and others. While they may not do everything we do as parents we desire that they are seeking after and following God’s Word and will and together we can impart that faith in Christ to our precious children. When they are not, we can graciously counter that while teaching our children to respect and honor their authority.
Love and Lordship…Action Item(s) –
- Read the Scriptures in this article. Ask The Holy Spirit to reveal how you are instilling character in your own life and in your children.
- How are you developing self-worth/self-love in your children? How are you teaching them self-discipline?
- How do you model the self-worth/self-love spectrum in your life?
- What will you do to ensure that you are leaving a Godly legacy of integrity for your children?