My wife and I have three sons and, though we do not yet know the gender, a fourth child due in November. I have been thinking a great deal in recent months about examples for my children. We live in a world that casts actors, athletes, and superheroes as the role models for our children; they should not be. One dictionary defines a “role model” as, “Somebody to be copied; a worthy person who is a good example for other people.” It is unfortunate, but most of the people in today’s world are not worthy to wear that label. Instead, by their actions and decisions, they show that they are nothing more than the most recent lesson of what not to do.
As I consider what I want my sons to be and who I want them to emulate, I cannot help but turn to Scripture. For it is there I find the people I want my sons to resemble. I would like to share with you my wish for my sons and encourage you to seriously consider the same for your children; because who you want your children to be will determine the directions with which you align their hearts.
I wish you to have the heart of David. David was by no means the perfect individual. He was as flawed and imperfect as they come, and God was not afraid to show us both sides of his life. However, there is one thing about David that could never be denied: his heart. He was described as a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 16:7; Acts 13:22). He was a man that, though imperfect, was always humble and willing to repent when faced with his sin. His heart was filled with the desire to serve God and the direction of his soul is laid out for all to see in the Psalms. Have the heart of David, the humility to admit when you are wrong and repent; for it will clear your conscience, and save your soul.
I wish you to have the honor of Joseph. There is no individual I can find in Scripture who faced more desperate situations and troublesome strife at such an early age than Joseph. Yet in all of his trials he worked with purpose and served God with honor. At a time in which he could have claimed “I have no choice” with Potiphar’s wife; he instead claimed “I have made my choice.” At a time when he could have despaired at his condition in prison; he helped oversee and care for those around him. At a time when he could have had vengeance on his brothers who meant him so much harm; he took care of them and saw to their every need. Have the honor of Joseph that no matter what comes at you in life you live and work to the glory of God and the benefit of man.
I wish you to have the conviction of Paul. Paul never did anything half-heartedly. He told the Colossians, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Col. 3:23). When he was converted to Christ and became the apostle Paul, he worked diligently for the cause of Christ to the day of his death. His letters show a man who believed in what he taught to the point he could not refrain from helping others along the way. He worked hard at training men to preach the Gospel like Timothy and Titus. He worked to encourage his brethren as with Philemon and the Philippians. As his life came to an end, he had no regrets. He simply said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7). Know what you believe and why, and once you know the truth hold onto it with such conviction that Satan and all his servants could not wrest you away from it, for they will surely try.
My sons need to know what I want them to be and why; they also need to know the truth about life, this world, eternity, and why they must obey God’s commands no matter what. I pray that my sons will uphold the values of Scripture, but I know that their instructions and preparations to do so must come from me.
Teach your children to know, love, and obey God. Give them God’s role models to emulate. Teach them the principles of a godly life every day and in every way (Deu. 6:7-9). Show them you love them by training them and walking them down the path of righteousness, not by letting them “find their own way,” for that will only lead to failure and destruction.