On a mission, I grabbed the Clorox wipes and hurried to the kitchen. All I could see was a teeming cesspool of germs. My daughter had just gotten over the flu and strep. So, I wiped down the refrigerator handles, the microwave, the faucets, door handles, and the knobs on the stove.
It has been a rough winter in our household. We have all been sick a lot. Thank goodness for the MinuteClinic! In-out-on antibiotics-and back to bed! And just my style . . . . no doctors!
Just like those pesky germs, our character, who we are, is likely to be contagious. Contagious to those around us, and contagious to our kids.
Think about it, have you ever caught yourself mimicking things your parents said or did during your childhood? We all have.
Our character is contagious. And if we are living a life in obedience to Christ, our faith will be contagious as well.
We, as Christian parents, are the first step in the equation of our kids’ faith. Whether our kids develop a personal, and passionate faith, or a casual, watered down faith, depends a great deal on the faith and character of Mom and Dad.
We are told that if we live by the Spirit we will bear fruit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22–23
If we long to reflect the image of Jesus in front of our kids, all of these characteristics should be our goal. However, there are three overarching themes in the character of Christ, under which everything else falls.
There are three characteristics of Christ that teenagers need to see in their parents to make following Him irresistible.
They must see . . .
Kids must see their parents being people that love much. Love God, love their kids, and love others.
If someone asked you if you loved God, you would probably say, yes. We all would. But what does it really mean to love God? Love is not a feeling or a fact. As DC Talk sang back in the ‘90s, “Luv is a Verb.”
As disciples of Christ, we must actively, willfully, deliberately, intentionally, and fully love God and His Son, Jesus Christ above all else.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30-31
Michael Smalley posed this question during the sermon he gave at our church this Sunday. “What was Jesus’ love language?”
We all know the love languages from Gary Chapman’s 1995 book, The Five Love Languages.
- receiving gifts
- quality time
- words of affirmation
- acts of service
- physical touch
“What was Jesus’ love language?” I repeated in my head. I figured it was a trick question. All of them?
Michael went on to say that Jesus’ love language was obedience. Of course!
“If you love me, obey my commandments . . . Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.” John 14:15,21
Our kids will see that we love Jesus if we are obeying his commands. It’s that simple.
Our kids will also see if we are a people who “love much” based on how we love them. We must be continually pouring love into them.
And, this one will seal the deal on what our kids think about us. Our kids must see us love others. Are we loving our neighbors? Are we loving difficult people? Are we loving our enemies?
The strongest defining characteristic of Jesus after love, was humility. No one has ever been higher or more worthy of praise that walked this earth than Jesus Christ. And no one has ever been more humble.
I have often thought that if I found out someday that Christianity wasn’t true, following Jesus would still have been the right way to live. Because of the call to humility.
When we put ourselves below others, they are lifted up. If we all lived like Jesus, we would be loving others and lifting each other up. Talk about an ideal society!
If you want your kids to have faith in Christ, there is nothing that can make Him more attractive than a display of humility in you.
Many Christian kids growing up in the church never experience parents who surrender their lives to Christ. No wonder they are walking away.
If we don’t follow Christ with reckless abandon, then we might as well forget about passing on our faith at all. Why would we want to anyway? If we are not seeking to surrender our lives to Christ, then, He must not be that important to us. At least not important enough to do what He says.
If we want to show our kids a loving, good God, then we must surrender to Him first.
Love first, humility second, and surrender third. These are the ingredients that make our faith contagious.
It might be time to take inventory. As Christian parents, we must look in the mirror from time to time. Am I a loving person? Do I put other’s first? And, have I given everything I have and everything I am to God?
If you are brave enough, ask your kids what they see in you. You might be surprised by what they say.