We would all acknowledge that good character is something that can and should be developed. As parents we want good character for our children. But, why?
We understand that all mankind has been created with a soul that bears the image of its Creator. We have the privilege of showing the world who He is. One of the best ways we can display His image is through our character. How can one see the wind? Only through its affects. How can one see the spirit of a man? Only through their actions. These actions flow from the heart of every human being. When we accurately display the image of God, God is glorified.
God glorifying character is rooted in the goodness of God. His goodness provides a framework for what is right and wrong in our world. Since good character is rooted in the goodness of God, then conversely, character that does not represent that goodness must be rooted in something else, namely evil. Bad character is the default fruit of our fallen nature.
“We were dead in the trespasses and sins in which we once walked, following the course of this world, the prince of the power of the air.” Ephesians 2:1-3
Those who love the world and the things of the world, will inevitably bear the fruit of the one who rules the “world”. So what is different about the Christian?
Those who have received the free gift of grace through faith are imbued with the Holy Spirit. He is transforming us into the image of the Son (Romans 8:39).
“You will recognize them by their fruits… So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.” Matthew 7:16-18
Therefore, character reveals the state of one’s heart and soul. So you see that the character of a man is the appropriate measure of a man. Your character shows where your loyalties fall, which tree your branch is grafted to, and ultimately who is your God.
Thus, the important admonition of our Lord,
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” John 15:4
So this makes sense for a believer, but what about those who are not. Is it fair to expect godly character from our children? No. Is it right to call, instruct, and shepherd our children to godly character. Yes. What else would we put before our children? Anything short of the truth is insufficient for instruction. As the Apostle Peter says, “Where else can we go, Lord, you have the words of eternal life.”
At Providence, we partner with families to show children what good fruit is and who the good fruit comes from. We care about character development, because the character reveals the man.
Charles Spurgeon said, “Where the plough does not go, and the seed is not sown, the weeds are quite sure to multiply; and if children are left untutored and untrained, all sorts of evils will spring up in their hearts and lives.”
So put your hand to the plow and labor on.