For those of us who are followers of Christ, we probably have a great desire to see our children walk with the Lord, but whether or not that happens depends, in part, on how we lead them. In our daily life, are we pointing our children to Christ, not just through Bible studies or devotionals, but through our focus and conversations and attitudes?
A relationship with Jesus Christ must permeate every aspect of our lives. As we grow in Christ, or in our sanctification, we should become a better reflection of Him to the people around us – including our children. Let’s consider how we can reflect Christ to our children in our daily focus, conversations, and attitudes.
Reflecting Christ in our Focus
As we lead others, particularly those who live in our homes with us, we need to be mindful of our daily focus. Having a consistent focus on Christ begins with spending time in God’s Word and in prayer. For me, that means starting my day with a devotional time including Bible reading and prayer – before the rest of the people in the house are up and about. For you, another time of day may work better. The point is that we cannot have a God-honoring focus in our day to day life without spending time learning from Him in the Bible and in prayer. As we are reading and praying, our minds and hearts will be focused on the truths of God’s Word, and, out of the overflow of our hearts our mouths will speak (Luke 6:45). Our focus on truth will be reflected in our words and in our attitudes. Our children will also notice when we choose to prioritize focusing on God’s Word and time with Him in prayer.
Reflecting Christ in our Conversations
In the Old Testament, David prayed that the words of his mouth and the meditations of his heart would be acceptable to God (Psalm 19:14). In the New Testament, we find numerous admonitions to guard our tongues and be mindful of our words so that they will glorify God. James talks about how the tongue is a world of unrighteousness and can set the whole course of our life on fire (James 3:6). As we engage our children with our words, we would be wise to remember that our tongues can be powerfully destructive. Ephesians 4:29 admonishes us to “let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Since our children are certain to imitate how we speak, we should head the advice of Scripture in considering our words carefully. Our conversations should be building up our children, what we talk about should be appropriate for the occasion, and our words should give grace to our children. In other words, our speech should be pleasing to God and reflect Christ to our children. We should ask ourselves if the conversations we have in our homes – with our spouse and with our children – are honoring to God both in content and in the tone of our voice.
Reflecting Christ in our Attitudes
Have you ever noticed that a parent’s attitude can affect the entire atmosphere in a home? This truth places a huge responsibility on those of us who are parents. Life can be stressful and difficult at times, and in the midst of these challenges, our children are watching us constantly. They are noticing whether or not we trust the Lord and rest in His sovereign control. They see if we get angry easily or if we are generally at peace. Philippians 4:7 promises that as we present our requests to God in prayer, the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds. This peace surpasses all human understanding, but it is real. Our attitudes with our children should reflect this peace from God. We should be people who trust the Lord even in difficulties. Our attitudes should also reflect hearts that take joy in the Lord. There are many biblical admonitions to be joyful. Paul’s letter to the Philippians, which he wrote while imprisoned, contains over a dozen references to joy in just four chapters. For example, he tells his readers, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). In one of his letters to the Thessalonians, Paul writes, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (I Thessalonians 5:16). These instructions from Paul are really imperatives for us – they are not optional. As followers of Christ, we need to reflect attitudes of peace, joy, and gratitude.
Living our lives before watching eyes is not always easy, but it does provide us with an opportunity to disciple our children through what they observe in us. We must press on in this endeavor, for the potential benefit is immeasurable. Let us focus daily on Christ, speak in ways that honor Him, and reflect peaceable attitudes of joy for the benefit of our children and the glory of God.