“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1, ESV) Those were Paul’s words to the Corinthian church. But it could well be said of parenting. You are the example your children will learn the most from. Below is a non-exhaustive list of how you can be a Christ-like example.
Always and everywhere, be a person of integrity. If you child were to meet your co-workers and ask them about you, what would they say? Never lie. Ever. Yes is yes and no is no. Stay away from “we’ll see” when you really mean no. Be truthful. There is the story of a man who took his son to the circus when he was 9, but 8 and under got in for less money. When asked, the father said his son was 9. The ticket taker said, “You should have just told me he was 8. I didn’t know how old he was.” The Dad replied, “No, you didn’t know his age…but he does.” Don’t sell your honesty for a few dollars at the ticket counter!
Fathers, love your wife (Eph. 5.25), and also honor her as your child is told to do in Eph. 6.2.
Mothers, be respectful to your husband (Eph. 5.33).
Be exclusively devoted to your spouse physically (Ex. 20.14) and mentally (Matt. 5.28). Your children need to understand that love is not based on looks or lust. They learn the value of women and men from how you treat your spouse.
Be a content, thankful person, not a covetous complaining one (Heb. 13.5, Eph. 5.20, Ex. 20.17)
Your children learn the value of authority from you. If you constantly scoff and complain about your manager at your workplace, then don’t be surprised when your children do the same things to their teachers. If you constantly scoff at the leadership of your church then don’t be surprised when your children can’t find a church where they’re satisfied.
Be known for self-control (Prov. 25.28), not anger (James 1.20)
Say you’re sorry when you have behaved improperly towards them, or in their presence (especially if it was towards your spouse).
The importance and priority of God in your life is learned by observation. If your life shows a higher priority on other things besides God, then your children will see it. You may be able to fool the folks at church, but you’ll not fool your children.
You are the example your children will learn the most from. Live in such a way that you can say, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”
David Harris is the Senior Pastor at Faith Baptist Church. A former programmer, in his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife Kim and trying his hand at the illusive craft of smoking meat.