Teaching Kids About the Character of a Jesus-Follower

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So here’s the deal…

I’m not a big fan of what the world thinks a “Christian” looks like these days. If you were to ask a person on the street about the character traits of a Jesus-follower, I’m afraid you would hear words like self-righteous, judgmental, and close-minded. These are ugly words and the furthest thing from the character of Jesus.

This is the world in which we are raising our children. It is more important than ever to teach our kids to be Jesus-followers not just in name, but in everything we do. My character has to speak louder than any label I may claim. And I want the character of my boys to do the same.  

When we look at the life of Jesus, there are so many character traits for us to emulate and teach to our kids. I like to narrow down our focus when the kids are little and build upon it as they grow and mature in their faith.

Jesus Follower Pin (1)

I Will Follow Jesus, a bible storybook by Judah and Chelsea Smith, is a great starting point for sharing these character traits of a Jesus-follower with our young kiddos. Every family should choose their own focus, but here are a few we emphasize from an early age:

Loving

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. -1 John 4:18

Jesus loved people. All people. He loved like no one ever has because He is God and God is love. When we look at the two most important commandments given to us by God, they come down to love. Love God. Love people. A Jesus follower is loving.

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.This is the great and first commandment.And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” -Matthew 22:36-38

Brave

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. -Joshua 1:9

We’ve already talked about the negative view much of the world has of Christians. Living and loving boldly in the name of Jesus takes courage. One day it might look like standing up for a classmate who is getting picked on at recess. Another day it may mean stepping out of your comfort zone to share a bible verse with someone who needs encouragement. We’re not scaling physical mountains, but sharing the love of Jesus in a hostile world most definitely requires bravery. And Jesus is the one who makes us brave!

In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect… -1 Peter 3:15

Humble

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. -Philippians 2:5-8

Jesus was the only perfect person to ever walk this earth, yet He was humble, even to the point of death. We live in a world where pride matters and we don’t want our pride hurt. Being a Jesus-follower means leaving our pride at the foot of the cross and walking in humility.

What does humility look like for our kids? Sometimes it means putting others’ needs before our own, which goes hand in hand with loving well. It also means not always having to be “right” all the time. We have some stubborn boys in this house (they might get that from their mama), and they like to be right about things. They also like to correct someone when they are wrong. A humble person knows how to take constructive criticism, as well when to keep their “right” thoughts to themselves. If we as Christians are always pointing out what others are doing wrong, we are exhibiting pride and opening ourselves up to a big fall when someone catches us in sin.

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. -Proverbs 16:18

When we look to Jesus and see His grace and mercy to us even when we were still sinners, we can’t help but be humble.

We can talk about all these characteristics to help our children in their walk of faith, but being a Jesus-follower comes down to one thing. We must be willing to follow what Jesus asks of us – no matter the cost, no matter what we look like.

We look at the life of Jesus, as told so well for kids in I Will Follow Jesus, for how to live, but we must also pray and listen for His voice, calling us to do the work He has just for us here on earth. Invite your kids to live out these characteristics, open their heart to the call of Jesus in their life, and follow Him!

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” -Matthew 16:24

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Fixer-Upper: Lessons on Love from a Disney Song

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

My love for the move Frozen knows no bounds, and the biggest reason is the fabulous music. I bought the soundtrack for myself the boys for Valentine’s Day and it has been playing nonstop, with everyone signing along, ever since.

By now, everyone knows the most popular song, “Let It Go.” It’s being added to my running playlist because I love it SO MUCH and want it belting in my ear as I let it all go in a race.

But another song from the movie has really captured my heart and it’s not because of the amazing vocals like Ms. Indina Menzel in “Let It Go.” Tucked away as track #9 on the soundtrack, “Fixer-Upper” might have escaped your notice, but you might want to search it out for yourself.

Fixer Upper

First of all, “Fixer-Upper” is a funny little song sung by the troll family of Kristoff. They are trying to figure out why Anna and Kristoff aren’t pursuing each other romantically and their first assumption is that Anna has noticed all of Kristoff’s flaws, which they are happy to catalog for her. When they discover that Anna is engaged, they change their tune and say that she is the one needing fixing so they can be together.

While their motives for singing may be superficial, the message the song conveys is anything but shallow.

Let’s start here:

Everyone’s a bit of a fixer-upper,
That’s what it’s all about!

One of the boys and I got into this last week when he was upset about something he had done and said he hated himself. When we arrived at the root of his feelings, I helped him realize he really hates the sin and not himself. And he needed this reminder about sin that applies even {and especially} to his mommy:

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. ~Romans 3:23

We are all fixer-uppers because we are all sinners. No exceptions.

We’re not sayin’ you can change him,
‘Cause people don’t really change.
We’re only saying that love’s a force
That’s powerful and strange.
People make bad choices if they’re mad,
Or scared, or stressed.
Throw a little love their way.

And you’ll bring out their best.

I don’t agree with the line about “people don’t really change,” but I do agree that WE can’t change anyone. But we CAN love. And love does some pretty amazing things. Just ask Bob Goff. {one of my favorite books from last year}

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. ~Romans 12:10

And that whole part about making bad choices?! So much truth. I’ve spoken harsh words to my children or husband when I was stressed about something completely unrelated to them. I’ve reacted hastily when scared. If these bad decisions are something we all struggle with {and I think we do}, we should know to react with more compassion and love – the kind we would like to receive in the same situation. 

Father! Sister! Brother!

We need each other to raise
Us up and round us out.

God didn’t put us in families and communities to judge and tear down one another. He put us together to lift one another up, using the unique and wonderful giftings from Him to bless one another – to round each other out!

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. ~Romans 12:6-8

We all need fixing. We all need love. And that all comes back to our need for God.

Everyone’s a bit of a fixer-upper,
But when push comes to shove.

The only fixer-upper fixer
That can fix up a fixer-upper is true love!

The true love that transforms is not from us, but from Love himself. His love has the power to take all those things about us that need fixing – our sin, our doubts, our fears – and do a miraculous work through them…

We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. ~Romans 5:3-5

This fixer-upper right here, writing to you now, takes great comfort and delight in the hope produced by the love of God in my life. It’s my job, my calling, my joy to share that life-changing love with other fixer-uppers.

Let’s throw a little more love each other’s way and watch as God brings out the best in all of us.

And go listen to the song if you haven’t. It’s super cute and will have you singing about love the rest of the day!

 

*”Fixer-Upper” lyrics by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez.

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Real Rest

This is my favorite translation of these verses. I want to learn His unforced rhythms of grace more and more.

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