|We are responsible for teaching our children.|
Before I got married, I constantly practiced writing my new name. Over and over again, I wrote “Mrs. Lauren Jones, Rev. Lauren Jones, L. Jones, and Lauren J.” because I wanted to see what it would look like once I took on a new identity.
Well, when you become a Christian, you also take on a new identity. Romans 8:29 (NRSV) says, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family.” To be conformed to the image of God’s Son means that when we get saved, we should look different. Our behavior should change. Our lifestyles should change. Our lives should line up with the Word of God. This is necessary so that we can experience the fullness of God and so that we can be the light of the world and point others to Christ. 1 Peter 2:9 (NRSV) says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
When you become a parent, it becomes even more important to take on this new identity because as Christians, we are called to raise a godly seed (Malachi 2:15) and point our little ones to Christ. One of the most important ways that you can point your little one to Jesus is by your behavior. You have to model godly behavior. Our children learn how to behave, interact with others, and operate in this world by observing us. If you want to teach your child how to be longsuffering and patient, then model that behavior to them. If you want your child to be compassionate and kind, then demonstrate compassion and kindness in your household. Our children are more inclined to do what we do not what we say. That’s just how it works. In the formative years, children learn by watching us. If we act crazy, they will act crazy. When I worked with teenagers, they always noted the hypocrisy of adults. Adults would tell them to do one thing, but would do the exact opposite. They didn’t model the behavior they were trying to instill in the youth, so they negated their message.
One of the things that I’ve purposed to do differently when raising my children is the way that my family communicates. In the household I grew up in, there was constant yelling and sarcasm. I hated it. As a mother, I now realize that if I want things to be different for K, I have to communicate differently. I have to surrender my habits and conditioning to the Holy Spirit and allow him to transform me and conform me to the image of Jesus. Again, I have to model the behavior I want to teach him.
I understand that modeling godly behavior is not easy because we have to directly address and let God work on our issues. But, if you surrender yourself to the Holy Spirit and allow him to work on and through you, God will change you. You’ll see a difference in your family. You’ll see that your decision to take on a new identity will positively affect your family for generations to come.