Purposed Parent/Connected Child Episode 008 - Building Character
Welcome to the Purposed Parent/Connected Child Podcast
Episode #008 – Building Character
Are you yearning for greater connection with your child? Would you like to parent beyond the moment with eternal perspective? Let’s grow together now with practical tips, scripture, and stories geared to draw your heart to Jesus and guide your child into His arms.
Whether you are a parent of young children, have children who are about to leave for college, or have grown adults raising their own children, it’s always a humbling blessing to see them reflect the Lord in their words and actions.
Being a parent is such a layered gift. We can easily tend to parent in our own strength, look for ways our children are like us, and in fact, call them our “mini me.” Most of us have been there at some time; viewing our children as tiny extensions of ourselves, finding ways they are like us, and basking in their accomplishments that reflect well on us.
What I’ve learned by maturing my walk with Jesus is that each child in this world was miraculously and individually formed with intimate and personal care. For God so loved the world that He brought my child into it with a purpose in mind. He brought your children to this world for special purposes only they can fulfill as they allow Christ to work through them.
1 Chronicles 16:8-11 says, “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim His name; make known among the nations what He has done. Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.”
With hindsight gained from raising one set of children and now well into my years of mentoring my second set in Christ, I know the importance of intentionality. Living with eternal perspective applies to everything we do and how we viewlife. Like decay that spreads unless addressed, if we are not purposeful in our walk with Jesus, our children will most likely follow the world and the desires taught by those who do not know Jesus. Our walk with Christ and the truths we teach because of the Holy Spirit alive within us is the shield that will offer protectionfrom this world and make Jesus known to them.
A mature relationship that builds Christlike character cannot be formed without a deep desire for Jesusto be reflected daily for our children. It’s easy to raise them in ways that produce the morality taught in this world, but we must desire and do more for the children God has entrusted to us.
When we imagine the character we want them to hold, let’s not confuse the holiness Christ seeks with morality. Worldly morality prompts our child to conform to rules or standards for conduct, but who sets the boundaries? Many preach living your own truth and doing what feels right. God’s word teaches His truths, which are the only holy, living, active truths that serve all and honor our Lord.
Holiness is a transformation only realized through relationship with Christ. When we are lovingly following the Lord and what He calls good or holy, Christlike character is formed in us and then, our children as they witness the Holy Spirit at work within to transform us.
As they follow Jesus, developing their own faith, they recognize the Holy Spirit inside, beckoning their spirit to humbly please and honor Christ, and character training begins. When our children look to Jesus instead of the morals advertised by friends, influencers, celebrities, or culture, they will respect the instruction shown and given by us. Holy character is forming.
1 Chronicles 22:19a says, “Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God.”
As we live in a world increasingly hostile to the gospel of Christ, we must remember the basics of a strong foundational relationship with Jesus and our children. As we draw nearer to God, our character matures and transforms to one that attracts our children and causes them to draw nearer to us and their Heavenly Father. We know the basics, done with a loving and consistent spirit makes a dramatic difference in the spiritual life of our children.
Reading our Bible, making time for quiet study and reflection of God’s word and spending time in prayer with Him, speaking and listening for His guidance, wisdom, knowledge, and understanding builds a strong connection that withstands the trials life will bring. When we extend that same purpose with our children, reading and studying the Bible together, praying together and looking for the ways God is working and teaching, a solid groundwork is laid on which to mentor and help them to build a mature relationship with their Heavenly Father.
I’d like to offer a suggestion: when you finish this podcast episode, I recommend listening to Live With Eternal Perspective podcast episode 046, “Maturing Character Like Christ” to hear practical and encouraging tips for living under pressure with heart and mind fixed on Jesus. When we allow our gaze to rely on Him despite difficulties, the Lord moves us to character mirroring His, and through character, to a hope that endures and reflects His grace, hope, and love. Our children see and absorb exactly how we process and react to life. We want to do all we can to ensure we live the way Jesus calls and continue growing in Him moment by moment so that our children will, too.
You can find “Maturing Character Like Christ” on the terrihitt.com website. Simply click on the podcasts page and type the information in the search bar. It’s so simple to listen on your phone or iPad as you work, exercise, or travel.
Beyond the basics of our walk with Jesus, what else can we do to guide our children to Him? How do we enable them to desire and grow Christlike character that pleases God and deepens their walk with Jesus?
The Holy Spirit is the enabler of character like Christ. When our children or grandchildren are taught to know and love Jesus, to view the world as Christ does, their drive for ungodly behavior or worldly pleasures that do not please God diminishes. They must love and honor Jesus. The same applies to us.
So how do we ensure that we raise our children or influence grandchildren with the ability to view the world as Christdoes? How do we instill godly character that gives God joy? By teaching them God’s holy word and applying His truths to life. We make Him real to them. We show them the difference Christ makes in a life submitted to Him.
Each of us pass through this world quickly. We are here for such a short while. Isaiah 40:7 says it best. “The grass withers and the flowers fade beneath the breath of the Lord. And so it is with people.”
Our life can be proof that we can live in this world, yet not be a part of it.
We can live set-apart with thoughts and character. We can examine and process where we are in our life at this very moment and where we want to be. Is it where He would have you go? Ponder ways to submit to God and allow Him to take you where He desires and has purposed. What differences would it make in the life of your child or grandchild to witness you asking for and submitting to the changes God makes in you?
The world tells us that integrity is adherence to moral and ethical principles. But whose principles?
As believers in Christ, we know that His standards are the only ones we should esteem. The world tells us that we must hold good character, evident through characteristics such as persistence, self-control, honesty, optimism, intelligence, gratitude, integrity, and leadership. But who is the judge of the level of our character? Why do they choose these specific qualities?
I believe there are 3 higher objectives we must keep at the forefront of our mind as we raise our children to view this world as Jesus does and live as He would call.
1. Heart for Christ – Prepare the soil of our child’s heart to make them ready for the gospel seeds to sprout and flourish.
2. Submission to Christ – Exhibit personal submission to Jesus in ways that draw our child nearer to Him.
3. Separation from World – Live a life that is set-apart and more attractive than what this world advertises as desirable.
How are we able to do these steps? The answer is the same for each objective: mentor the behavior of Christ.
1. We consistently apply the foundational Bible and prayer basics we discussed earlier in this episode.
2. We allow the Holy Spirit to work within us and transform us to react like Christ.
3. Listen to your child, empathize, but don’t turn away from discipline when needed.
4. Discipline as correction, not punishment. God holds us accountable, but He does not shame us.
5. Don’t reflect or condone the behavior of this world, instead allow the Holy Spirit to continue renewing you moment by moment. As you live consistently with behavior that reflects the teachings of Jesus, you are showing character that will be noticed.
6. Be consistent in godly thoughts, actions, and reactions.
7. Take life moments as they come and use as teachable times. Don’t ignore the hard moments that often appear when families are in a rush or during very active times. Think of these as opportunities (that have been expressed through the trials of life) and use them to bring ungodly behavior up for discussion (yours included). Address consequences or ways to change. The way we exhibit Christ when we use parental authority over our children can be a magnet that attracts or repels them to our Savior.
Remember, the nearer we draw to Jesus, the more we allow the Holy Spirit authority to reconstruct ourheart and mind. As our children see the change within us reflected in daily actions and words, they witness, learn, and recognize the power of Christ and their character will change.
Ezekiel 36:26 says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
Allow Christ to multiply in and through us while we are in the midst of trials and tragedy. Teach your children to do the same.
1 Peter 1:3-7 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, reserved in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power for the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in various trials so that the proven character of your faith—more precious than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Christ sustains and grows us during trials and persecution. Nothing lasts forever, the cruelty or trials will end, but the fruits of Christ’s transformation within us brings us to an eternity with Jesus.
Romans 5:1-5 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”
Seek and exhibit character that shines Christ.
2 Peter 1:5-8says, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities and continue to grow in them, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
As the Holy Spirit works within us, as it works within our children, godly character forms new traits that are impossible for humans to possess apart from Christ, such as: fruits of the spirit, discernment, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, patience, self-denial, mercy, humility, pureness of heart, honesty, loyalty, and godly integrity.
Galatians 5:22-24 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us walk in step with the Spirit.”
As godly parents, we must search the heart and mind of our child and reflect on the following questions:
1. Who am I when no one is watching?
2. Who is my child when no one is watching?
3. What do I do when the right action will hurt me, but benefit another person?
4. What does my child do when the right action will hurt him, but benefit another person?
5. Are my actions consistent when I am watched by someone and when I am not?
6. Are my child’s actions consistent when he is watched by someone and when he is not?
Abe Lincoln said, “Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. As followers of Christ, we know Jesus is the real thing. We must stand in His shadow, praying for His light to pass over and remove the darkness from us. We must also pursue a genuine and strong walk with Him.
As life mentors for our children and grandchildren, we must think of our leadership in terms that are simple enough to remember and follow daily:
1. If we are a godly, trustworthy, consistent leader, our children will see Christ in us and trust Him.
2. Good mentors follow excellent leaders. Keep your eyes and heart on Jesus so your child will, too.
3. Shift praise and accolades to Jesus and remember where your strength and wisdom is established so your child will do the same.
4. Counsel others to look to and lean on Jesus. It’s easier to speak in general as you share about God, but it is imperative to narrow down to Christ. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Your child needs to see your faith in action.
1 Chronicles 28:9 says, “And you, My son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve Him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.”
I’m sometimes asked what I believe makes the biggest difference in a child’s life. I would say introducing our children to Jesus by the way we live our relationship with Him and joyfully studying the Bible together is key. Shoot for daily.
Hebrews 4:12 reminds us, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”
Nothing will reach our children for Jesus and build godly character better than God’s holy word and seeing their parent and or grandparents lovingly and joyfully live by it.
Dear Heavenly Father, You are the biggest blessing to us. Thank you for the Holy Spirit within believers. Thank you for the access we have to You every moment. You are so, so good. Father, You have entrusted such precious gifts to our care. You search us, know us intimately, and still place them with us. How we need You! Draw us ever nearer to You daily. Enable us to seek You in clearer ways, in more godly ways. Help us to recognize our needs and release ourselves to You fully. May we please You greatly with the way we raise and influence our children and grandchildren for You. We are not worthy. But You are. We want our children to love You with joyful and godly hearts. Give them character that pleases and shines You. May they walk ever more closely with You than we have. May each generation draw nearer to You than the last. In the precious name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Thank you for listening to this podcast. If you pray for your child, please look for my free ebook, “Prayers for My Child,” available on the website under the “Resources” page and is designed to guide the heart of your child to the feet of Jesus through scripturally-based prayer.
The Purposed Parent/Connected Child podcast is now available at terrihitt.com, where you can access the episodes housed in one convenient location, receive access to blog posts, read transcripts, and find additional resources designed to mature your walk with Christ and equip you to raiseor influence connected children through Him.
God knows that we are not capable of successful parenting on our own. As we rely on Him, releasing doubts and expectations, and humbly bow to His guidance and experience, we find greater clarity in parenting and a wondrous walk with our Creator that will extend to our children and those around us for generations.
I pray this podcast helps you parent with purposeand deepen your connection to Jesus and your children as you intentionally place Christ above culture or self. Allow Him to work through you for true connection that will draw your children to Him and build a maturing relationship with Christ and your child that lasts for eternity.