by Dr. Charles Stanley
A Child’s First Image of God
A child’s first image of God is his earthly father. We Christians spend a lot of time discussing ways to protect or improve our witness. We need to live our faith in front of co-workers and friends, but in the privacy of our home, we also want our family to see Jesus in us. If we show forgiveness, patience, and acceptance, then our children will expect to find those traits in the Lord.
In a similar way, negative behaviors — for example, consistent harshness, busyness, or emotional neglect — also shape a child’s view of God. I remember a young man who came to me worried about his salvation. He had received Christ as his personal Savior but wasn’t convinced that he was truly forgiven. When I opened the Scriptures to share some assurances with him, he responded, “I believe them, but I’m just not sure God’s promises apply to me.” He seemed surprised when I then asked about his relationship with his father. During our conversation, it came out that his dad had often made promises he failed to keep. Now, years later, the son lacked certainty that God would keep His word.
Being a reflection of the heavenly Father requires no special skills; the only training guide we need is the Bible. By approaching fatherhood as an area of service and ministry, all men are able to be successful dads. As with any service rendered for God, the Holy Spirit offers fathers wisdom and guidance in the raising of children.
Be attentive to the words of the heavenly Father, and someday your children will rise up and call you blessed.
Celebrate Fathers this month. Discover what our heavenly Father expects of dads and how He equips them to raise godly sons and daughters in Dr. Stanley’s series “How-To’s for Fathers.”
Breaking News: How to Handle Your Emotions is the latest elective now online at the Charles Stanley Institute of Christian Living! This expansive course focuses on Dr. Stanley's powerful 12-sermon series by the same name. In this course, students not only learn the basics of a healthy, biblical, and positive love for themselves, but they will also target some of the most potentially explosive emotions, including self-image, anxiety, loneliness, guilt, anger, depression, and rejection. Included in this for-pay elective course is a hand-signed copy of Dr. Stanley's book, Finding Peace, which brings further emphasis to the areas of regret, anxiety, and fear.