When parents are fleshing out their faith and living out their days with joy and honesty, their children will be attracted to it. Children want something that is real; they want to follow someone who is genuine. Your example- in victories and challenges, in successes and sins, in forgiveness and accountability- can lead them toward an authentic relationship with the Lord.
But your faith must be both a noun and a verb. It can’t be all talk. It’s who you are and how you conduct yourself, consistently, daily. It’s how your actions grow out of your identity in Christ.
It’s the way you act when you are miles away from your family on a business trip. it’s how you respond when you are the object of advances from a coworker. It’s what you say when a neighbor gossips or a boss pressures you to fudge on the budget.
Character is who you are when no one’s watching.
But count on it, your kids will watch. They’ll pick up a wandering eye or little white lies. They’ll sense deception if you try to paint a rosy picture of your marriage when it’s more thorns than flowers. They see how you are in private and in public. When you live under the same roof, it’s hard to hide the glaring inconsistencies.
I’ve heard it a thousand times. A child takes an unwise detour in high school or college, and the parents come to me saying, “We don’t understand. We raised him in the church.”
And I want to ask, “But what did you model for him in the home?”
Chris Dewelt, professor of missions at Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri, put it like this:
I am to be the same person whether I am holding a communion tray in my hand or a remote control. I am to be the same person whether I am in a hotel room five hundred miles from home or in the family room with my kids. I am to be the same person when I am reading my Bible or browsing through a bookstore. I am to be the same person whether I am on break at work or if I am walking through the sanctuary of my church. For what matters is my integrity, my purity, and my faithfulness.
“Praise the LORD, all you nations; Extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.” Praise the Lord. Psalm 117