The first step in overcoming our parental fears is to give it to God. The second building block is to be the parent that God has called us to be. Last month, we talked about focusing on God. Today, I want us to focus on ourselves. I do not mean we need to focus on ourselves selfishly. Like, we need to pamper ourselves with manis, pedis, and full body massages. I mean we need to focus on our personal growth and development.

I truly believe that being a parent is the greatest and highest calling in life. God has blessed us with these children, and it is our responsibility to raise them and set them on the path that God has for their lives. For us to be the parents God has called us to be, we have to reach a certain level of spiritual growth and maturity.

Here’s the deal: more is caught than taught. Even though we “preach to” and teach our kids every day, they are more than likely to do what we do and not what we say. They are going to follow our example. So, we need to strive to model for them in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity (1 Timothy 4:12).

So, if our kids are following our example, we want to make sure that we are living a life worth emulating. “If the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” we need to make sure we are producing the right kind of apples. I know this is a huge responsibility. Let me suggest narrowing our attention to three areas of personal growth and development. 

First, we need to be secure in our faith. We need to have a firm foundation and know what we believe. As James says, “we must believe and not doubt because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by wind (James 1:6). A strong faith begins with a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. We grow closer to God just like we grow in any relationship, by spending time with God. God speaks to us through his word, the Bible, and we speak to God, through prayer. Prayer is just talking with God just like we would talk with a close friend. There is nothing more powerful in a child’s life than seeing his father or mother reading the Bible and on his or her knees in prayer.

The second area we need to develop is a secure identity in Christ. We need to have a positive view of ourselves and see ourselves as God sees us. I hear so many parents say that they are not equipped to raise their kids. And quite honestly, none of us are. But our confidence comes from the Lord. He is the one who has blessed us with these kids, and He will equip us to be the parent He has called us to be. Our security or insecurity directly relates to our effectiveness as parents. When our security is in Christ, resulting in a healthy view of ourselves, it will help us lead our kids in every area of their lives.

Lastly, we need to have solid Christ-like character. Our character, good or bad, will be passed down to our children. More is caught than taught. They are watching our every move. So, we need to be men and women of integrity. We need to strive to exemplify the Fruits of the Spirit…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

It takes a long time to develop strong, Christ-like character. And this is not an area of our lives we can fake or put on a show. Our kids see us every day, and we cannot fool them. They know if we are walking the talk or simply giving lip service. I think we all like the idea that our strengths will be passed on to our kids. But not only will they receive some of our strengths, but they will also pick up some of our weaknesses as well.

As we strive to be the parents that God has called us to be, let’s focus on these three areas. Let’s commit to growing as close to God as we can, develop a strong self-worth based on our identity in Christ, and exemplify the character qualities of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. More is caught than taught.

Jonathan Howes has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance from Jacksonville State University and a Master in Divinity Degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the lead pastor for Graystone Church. Locations include the Ozora Campus: 1551 Ozora Road Loganville, GA 30052, the Walton Campus: 723 N Broad St Monroe, GA 30655 and the Oconee Campus: 1275 Lenru Road Bogart, GA 30622.
Phone: (770) 466-3159
Twitter: @JohnnyHowes