“Do as I say, not as I do” might be easy to say—or hide behind as a parent—but the truth remains that children learn to mimic just about everything their parents say and do.
One newspaper article illustrates this point as it reported a teenager driving his brother to the hospital in the family car. The thirteen-year-old had never driven a car before, but successfully navigated his brother to the hospital, where he received the medical attention needed in time to save his life.
When asked how he managed to drive the car—for the first time in his life—he simply responded: “I just did what I saw my father do.”
So, here’s the question: “What do your children see you doing?”
One Old Testament father was motivated to change his life after his son was born. The father’s name was Enoch, a descendant of Adam through his son Seth. Enoch became the great-grandfather of Noah. His brief biography appears in Genesis 5:
“When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah. … Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him” (vs. 21-24).
The apostle Paul expanded on the term “walked with God” at various points in his letters. He told the Romans to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4), and encouraged the Corinthians to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Walking with God requires willingly submitting yourself to God’s moral standard, as Paul told the Galatian church: “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).
Walking graciously toward others is also involved, as Paul urged the believers in Ephesus; “walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us” (Ephesians 5:2).
Those who walk with God walk with a heart of faith, an attitude of love, surrendered to the Holy Spirit, and with a passion for holiness. This is the highest calling a father should pursue in life.
This passion will not only make you a better father, but it will create a godly legacy worthy of passing down to your children and grandchildren.
When we ask ourselves “What do I want my children to see me do?”, Enoch’s example provides the answer: to walk with God.
There is no greater example. There is no greater legacy.
Have you ever thought about the fact that walking with someone, just as you walk with God, requires several agreements?
THERE MUST BE AGREEMENT ON THE DESTINATION.
Our final destination is Heaven, where the throne of God is located. Are we focused on that life to come, or are we primarily focused on the things of earth?
It’s far too easy to know that we’re going to Heaven but live for the stuff of earth. Dad, if your children see you passionate about sports, politics, automobiles, or status, they will set their sights on those “destinations” as well.
Paul raises our focus by reminding us to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call” (Philippians 3:14).
THERE MUST BE AGREEMENT ON THE SAME PATH.
Have you ever told your children to do something and given them specific instructions on how to do it? Then you come back around and discover they’ve attempted to accomplish it in a different way? You have more life experience, you know better, and you’re the one who asked for it to be done in the first place!
We do the same thing to our heavenly Father as we attempt to live our lives our way. We’re effectively telling God that we know better.
THERE MUST BE AGREEMENT ON THE SAME PACE.
Walking with God means submitting to His divine timing. You may feel like He’s going too fast, or too slow. But we trust Him, adjusting our pace to His. And sometimes that means speeding up. Often, it means slowing down— or perhaps, stopping altogether. Walking with God means that He is determining our steps and our stops.
Enoch ended up walking with God after his baby boy was born. If you explore the timeline, Enoch walked with God for 300 years. Frankly, I’d be impressed by someone who could say they walked with God for 30 years. Imagine 300!
We don’t know how long we have to walk with the Lord, so let’s just make sure we walk with Him today.
Let’s agree with Him on our destination, our path, and our pace. Doing that will ensure a godly legacy worth sharing with your children.