Ways to Help Your Children Develop a Godly Nature

Character Counts: 9 Ways to Help Your Children Develop a Godly Nature

These days, all you have to do is flip on the news to be reminded of the sad state of so much of the world. Even a trip to the grocery store can paint a picture of the impatient, self-serving, and uncaring turn that society has taken. Values and good character seem to be things of the past.

For Christ-followers, this should come as no surprise. Humanity is fallen, cursed by sin. And yet, God’s value system remains unchanged. As believers, we are called to exhibit Godly character. However, one look at the world around you might have you wondering how it’s even possible to raise children with Christian values in a culture that seems to defy and abhor those values.

Thankfully, we are not alone or left without a sense of direction when it comes to godly parenting. The Bible has a lot to say about how to raise children in the Lord, as well as plenty of examples of godly character.

What values define a Christ-like character?

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful” (Colossians 3:12-15, English Standard Version).

Colossians gives us incredible insight into the values that define godly character. As believers, we are called to “put on” these characteristics. This implies effort on our part. It can be frustrating when we don’t always see evidence of these values in our childrens’ lives, but we should remember that learning to live with these values is a process. Parents can guide and equip their children to “put on” Christ-like characteristics by taking the time to teach them what the Bible has to say about them. Try using the verses below when discussing godly values with your children:

  • Love: Romans 12:10

    “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor” (ESV).

  • Honesty: Ephesians 4:25

    “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another” (ESV).

  • Compassion: Galatians 6:2

    “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (ESV).

  • Integrity: Proverbs 10:9

    “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out” (ESV).

  • Respect: 1 Peter 2:17

    “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor” (New International Version).

  • Courage: Joshua 1:9

    “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (ESV)

  • Endurance: Romans 5:3-4

    “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…” (ESV).

  • Purity: 2 Timothy 2:22

    “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (ESV).

  • Humility: Philippians 2:3

    “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (ESV).

  • Kindness: 1 Corinthians 13:4

    “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant” (ESV).

  • Others-mindedness: Philippians 2:4

    “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (ESV).

  • Forgiveness: Ephesians 4:32

    “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (ESV).

  • Thankfulness: 1 Thessalonians 5:18

    “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (ESV).

  • Generosity: 2 Corinthians 9:7

    “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (ESV).

  • Obedience: Ephesians 6:1-3

    “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land”(ESV).

How can you help your children develop Godly character?

1. Lead by example.

Children learn from the examples set by those around them. As parents, it is crucial to model for your children the kinds of values you want to instill in them, even when they aren’t watching.

2. Don’t skip discipline.

Scripture reminds us that just as God disciplines those he loves, we must also discipline our children. However, it’s important that children not view discipline simply as a punishment or angry reaction, but as guidance. The root of the word “discipline” is “disciple.” This implies a relationship where one lovingly teaches and guides another, and gives us the framework for how we should discipline our children.

3. Give them responsibilities at home.

If you want your children to grow into hard-working adults with integrity, give them chores and responsibilities at home. Children should understand the importance of work and of sharing the load at home.

4. Consider their community.

1 Corinthians 15:33 reminds us that “bad company ruins good morals” (ESV). The friends and adults in your child’s life are going to rub off on them. So, seek to fill your child’s life with like-minded people who can be an example of godly character.

5. Lead family devotions.

Make time in the Word a regular part of your family life. Develop a routine of having family devotions at dinner time or before bed.

6. Encourage scripture memorization.

Scripture memorization can be extremely useful when we are tempted to act in a way that goes against biblical values. In fact, Jesus himself fought temptation by quoting scripture. Try to commit to memorizing one verse together each week as a family.

7. Serve together.

When children serve others, they learn valuable lessons in compassion, love, kindness, and gratefulness. See if your church or your child’s Christian school has opportunities to serve, or partner with a local organization that will allow you to give back to your community.

8. Talk about it.

If you want your children to develop godly character, it’s important that they know what that looks like. The following verses can provide additional clarity on what the Bible has to say about Christ-like behavior:

  • Galatians 5:22-23
  • Philippians 4:8
  • Romans 12:2
  • 2 Peter 1:5-7
  • Luke 6:31
  • 1 Timothy 6:11

Parents also have access to a wellspring of resources that can support them in instilling biblical character in their children. These include family devotional books, value-centered tv shows, and web resources from organizations such as Focus on the Family.

9. Pray for your children.

Prayer is a powerful tool and an incredible opportunity to go to the Lord on behalf of your children. Parents who want to grow Christian character in their children should pray that the Holy Spirit would work in their lives to produce Christ-like behavior and strengthen them against temptation. Additionally, pray for wisdom as you seek to model and teach godly character for your children.

Here at Academy of Scholars, a private Christian school in Atlanta, Georgia, we’re committed to partnering with parents to train up children in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6), and want to provide families with the resources they need to teach Christian values. We encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher to discover more ways that you can teach your child godly principles at home.