Posted by: glorifyhim1 | August 15, 2011

Becoming Good People

Just like most young children, when our kids were small they would often talk about what they wanted to be when they grew up. Along with their dreaming, they would often play and pretend to be teachers, doctors and nurses, grocery store cashiers, and of course, mommies and daddies. I can still remember the youngest, Blake, sitting in a small school desk while being “taught” by his two older sisters, Stacy and Karla! Invariably, trouble would erupt in the classroom because Blake wouldn’t stay in his chair. But, for the most part, they would work out a solution – perhaps let Blake enjoy a snack in his chair – and play would continue.

 

I can remember watching them play and wondering what each one would grow up to be. Stacy used to dream of being a teacher – and a Presbyterian (but that’s another story). Karla thought she would like to work at McDonald’s, and Blake wanted to be an astronaut.  My husband used to jokingly tell them he wanted one of them to be a doctor (to take care of our medical needs), one to live at the beach (so we could come visit often), and one to live nearby (to help take care of us as we got older). In spite of the joking, however, we both agreed that more important than what each child would do was the kind of person each one would become. Whether they worked for a minimum wage salary or earned a six-figure income, we wanted them to be responsible, faithful workers who always did their best. Whether they worked in a tiring, mundane job or occupied a position of status and influence, we wanted them to be kind and helpful, to treat others with dignity and respect. We wanted them to be good people.

 

Over the years as our kids have grown, I’ve come to understand that although we may try to teach our children how to be good people, such qualities and traits are really the result of Christ’s work in their lives. The character traits that I wanted most to instill in my children are not things we necessarily learn, but actually fruits that the Spirit produces in our lives as we stay close to Christ, walk with Him, and obey Him. Jesus told His disciples: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit, for without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

 

Paul identified these fruits in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Paul further instructed the Galatians: “I say then, Walk in the Spirit, then you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). When we abide in Christ, seek Him first and foremost, He works in us to bear fruit. He helps us replace hate with love, bitterness with joy, and turmoil with peace. Christ helps us be patient, to be kind even in the face of unkindness, to be faithful people on whom others can depend, and to be individuals controlled not by our own feelings or ambitions, but by the Holy Spirit. He helps us to become good people, the kind of people I always wanted my children to become.

 

Today, as I look at my children, twenty-something years later, not one of them has become what they said as kids that they wanted to be when they grew up. Presently, Stacy is working at a home for children (and she’s a Baptist!), Karla is returning to school to study computer engineering, and this weekend Blake was just ordained for the ministry and hopes to leave this fall to work in Chile. There are no six-figure incomes or doctors in the family, and the only beach home will be an apartment on the coast of Chile (perhaps my husband should have been more specific about that request)! Each of them has had their struggles as they’ve made decisions concerning work, school, and what to do with their lives. But I know that no matter what career choices they make, as long as they will stay close to Christ, seek Him in all that they do, and walk in obedience to His Word, that they will be the kind of people I always wanted them to be because of Christ’s work in each of their lives. Let us make this a matter of prayer for all of our children. And remember that what He does for our children, He can do for us, too!  

 

 

 

 

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