Our children become who we are, not what we tell them they should be. I remember one afternoon, my mom sat me down to give me “the lecture” on why I shouldn’t smoke. My mom smoked 6 cigarettes while she gave me the “why you shouldn’t smoke lecture.” I smoked until I got saved at age 22. The reality is, we are our kid’s first glimpse of God, so what we do is just as important as what we say.
When our kids see us, they need to see Jesus because, how they perceive us is how they will perceive God. If we’re angry all the time, they see God as angry. If they can never achieve enough, they get a B and you think they should have gotten an A – then they will see God as someone who is impossible to please. Our job is to train and model by our example qualities like faithfulness, forgiveness, respect for authority, honesty, responsibility, and gratefulness.
Training is instruction and demonstration with a specific result in mind. The result we want is to see the character of Christ formed in our kids. We also want the assurance that they have a personal relationship with Him, and that they are learning how to make wise life choices.
2 Corinthians 3:18 “And all of us have had that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more.”
As parents and leaders, we are influencing everyone we encounter. Someone is watching our life. The question is not, am I influencing someone? It’s how am I influencing them? Sometimes appearances can be deceptive, but know they are watching and we are always influencing. We are like books read by all those around us.
At Erik’s high school graduation, he had a guy come up to him and say, I just want to thank you, it’s because of your life that I am a Christian today. Erik had never met the kid. It seems he had seen Erik in Junior High when he was going through his rebellious period, and then he went to the same high school when Erik got his life right with God. He had just watched quietly in the distance and saw the change in his life and behavior. When he went to a camp, he was convinced that Jesus was real because of what he’d witnessed in Erik’s life and gave his heart to Christ.
That’s the power of influence and a life well lived. People are watching you. Your kids are watching you. The people at your job are watching you, everyone you come into contact with is watching you. You won’t be perfect, but you should be growing and improving yourself by reading, listening to teachings, serving (doing the Word) Spending time in God’s presence, and keeping yourself stirred up in the Lord.