You are your children’s most important example of godliness. How you live out a growing Christlikeness before them will have an enormous impact on their spiritual journey. That’s why it’s so important to make your own Christian growth a primary component of your efforts at successful parenting.
When your children see you seeking out and following God’s instructions in your own life, they’ll naturally want to do the same. And as you continue to strengthen godly character traits through prayer and perseverance, your children will pick up and develop those same traits.
God’s Word teaches this foundational truth about parenting. Throughout the books of Kings and Chronicles, for example, we read many times in the descriptions of the kings of Israel that “he walked in the … ways of his father” (2 Chron. 17:3)—sometimes for good, sometimes for evil, depending on what the example had been.
A parent’s character and conduct will mold and shape much of the character and conduct of his or her children. If you live in accordance with biblical principles and let the Holy Spirit work in you continually to increase Christian character in all your ways, your children will benefit immensely. While they may be quite different from you in many aspects, they’ll develop a foundation of godliness simply from observing it in you.
The Holy Spirit will also act to impress your godly example on your children’s hearts. Such an impression may at times seem to wane in its effect, but it will never completely disappear.
Need an additional truth to meditate upon? Take heart: God’s Word does not indicate that perfection is required in the Christian life. In fact, it provides us with the means of handling failures in our walk. Along with confession, repentance, and the blood of Christ to atone for our sins, Scripture tells us how to make amends for wrongdoing in many specific situations (Matt. 5:23-24; Luke 22:32; Eph. 4:26).
Therefore, let your children see you making use of these principles when you slip up—it’s as necessary as the example you give when your behavior is more like Christ’s.