“Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.” Philippians 3:17
In Philippians 3:17, Paul gives us a principle of child-rearing. In many ways, Paul considered the churches he planted as his children. He wrote in 1 Corinthians 4:14-16, “I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 I exhort you therefore, be imitators of me.”
He told the early believers that they should follow his example as to how to live a Christ-like existence. Observe and follow the blueprint set by him.
Paul knew that he was a changed man because of Jesus. He was offering his changed life as a pattern to change lives. Changed lives changes lives.
The same holds true today as we raise our children. Parents set the bar through the life they lead. Remember this; children will do as you do and not as you say. If you say to them, “Eat all your vegetables” and you eat none, what is that going to tell them? If you say to them, “Pick up your dirty clothes and place them in the hamper” and you leave your dirty clothes strewn on the floor, what are you telling them?
In 2 Timothy 1:5, Paul wrote to Timothy, “For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.” Paul recognized the tremendous influence Timothy’s mother and grandmother had upon Timothy.
The word, ‘sincere’, is unhupocritos or un-hypocritical. In order words, Timothy’s life and faith was authentic because the lives of his mother and grandmother were authentic. Their lives were changed by Christ, which in turn, changed Timothy’s life and destiny.
One of the best things we can do for our children is to allow the Lord to consistently change our lives to be more like Jesus. We should be in prayer, in a Bible study, in fellowship, in service to others and worshiping the Lord on Sunday mornings. The Lord will use these things to help change our lives.
Parents set the pattern for their children. They will do what their parents do and not what their parents say. So, we should ask God to keep changing our lives for the better because changed lives changes lives.
Something to think about…