One of the verses in the Bible that causes me to pause each time I read it is 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” The word “imitators” comes from the Greek word, “μιμητής” meaning – “follower or one who imitates another.” The idea is clear, Paul was exhorting the church to imitate him as he imitates Christ. As we consider that pastoral exhortation to the church at Corinth, can we say the same thing to our children?
Parenting is hard work, and it’s something that you don’t get a degree in before you start. Christlike parenting is even more difficult. The difficulty of parenting is that you’re thrust into it from day one as an immature and inexperienced parent, yet, one who bears the same responsibilities as an older mature expert. How is it possible to be a Christlike example to our children?
As I think about this often, I’m reminded of the simple truth that my children show interest and a desire for the very things that I enjoy. For instance, my wife would not look out the window to watch the Georgia Bulldogs play if they were playing in our front yard. However, I make it a point to watch the Georgia game each Saturday. If I’m busy, I record it and watch it later. I’ve noticed that my children have started enjoying football on the weekends too. The very reason that my oldest children (Karis and John Mark) have a great interest in Georgia Bulldogs is because I show interest in it. They are following my lead.
Consider the positive and negative examples that we can set before our children each day. If our children see us placing emphasis upon God’s Word, the study of Scripture, the memorization of Scripture, the local church, a desire to serve in the church, a desire to be involved in missions, a desire to pray for missionaries, and other things related to the pursuit of God – they will follow in our footsteps.
We can’t expect our children to have a passionate pursuit of God if we have a half hearted pursuit of God. They place emphasis and importance upon the things that we love and elevate as important. I once heard a preacher say, “The negative behaviors that we do in moderation, our children will learn to do in excess.” On the flip side of the fence, if we have a burning passion for God, our children will likely follow us. They will see that our religion is more than a Sunday thing. They will do as Paul exhorted the church at Corinth – “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1).