As children grow up, we who are parents or leaders pray that they will learn to discriminate more and more between right and wrong. But be prepared! Eventually these children will compare our actions with our words. If what we do and what we say don’t match up, they will be confused, not knowing which to follow—our actions or our words.
In his second letter to Timothy, Paul could honestly say, “I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did” (1:3). His actions and his words agreed.
Paul then described Timothy’s faith as “genuine” and pointed to his spiritual heritage: the genuine faith of his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice (v.5). Later in his letter, the apostle urged Timothy, “Continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures” (3:14-15). Christians whose actions and words are consistent can influence generations of people for Christ.
Children put a searchlight on the quality of our lives. “Do as I say” is not the highest standard, but rather an honest life that invites, “Do as I do.” That means having actions and words that match up. Do yours?
Blest is the household where honesty reigns,
Where dad and mom practice the truth;
Blest are the children whom God leads and trains,
And are taught His Word from their youth. —Fitzhugh
Children are more likely to do what you do than to do what you say.