A few months ago, our Campus Pastor at the Dallas campus of Watermark Community Church, Jonathan “JP” Pokluda, asked our staff the following question:
100 years from now, what do you think you’d tell your current self?
Many men and women on our staff responded to his question with great wisdom gained from personal experience and from watching the successes and failures of others. As I reflected on his question, many answers came to my mind:
- Don’t look at porn, EVER.
- Just be faithful, every step along the way.
- Quit eating so much.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. Know yourself, like yourself, be yourself.
- Marry well! Done! Love you, Kristen Kedersha.
As I reflected further, I realized I have this opportunity right now. While I only have 13 years of experience as a dad, I get the opportunity to share wisdom and lessons learned with my four boys. Every day, as Kristen and I raise them, we get the chance to share from God’s Word and our personal successes and failures. Each day we get to tell them what we wish we had done, and what we’re glad we did do.
Today I share the top three things I want my boys to know. I share them in the form of Three Proverbs I Want My Kids to Know and Live Out.
1. Choose Your Friends Wisely.
Proverbs 13:20 – “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”
I’ve shared this verse on this blog many times, as I want my wife and me, as well as our kids, to benefit from the many gifts of community. Proverbs 13:20 provides both a promise and a warning. The idea is simple; the application can be complex. Walk with wise people, and you will become wise. The one who is a companion of fools will suffer harm.
My 13-year old sons are a part of an incredible small group through the student ministry at our church. They’re led by three young men who love the Lord, and they’ll be in the same small group from 6th grade to 12th grade. They have every opportunity to walk with the wise. I pray they will be wise beyond their years when they leave our home for college.
This group of friends will help them process relationships and decisions they’ll make. They’ll provide accountability for the times they fall short and encouragement for the times they need to be lifted up.
2. Confess and Don’t hide or Isolate.
Provers 28:13 – “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”
I wish I learned this one about 35 years ago. For years I hid secret sin. I’d eat and binge in private, I looked at porn every day, if not multiple times per day, and I hated myself. I didn’t open up in my sins and struggles with others. As a result, I did not prosper. I still remember the day I first confessed my struggle with pornography to other men. After I shared, they loved me, challenged me, and encouraged me. I found mercy in the body of Christ.
I so desperately want my sons to confess their sins to the Lord and to other believers. And, I want them to benefit from the gift of mentors and community. I want them to not boast in their sin, but to boast in their weakness, knowing it glorifies the Lord and invites others into their lives.
It is not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18). I want my kids to know this truth and to live it out. Confess and forsake your sins, and you will find mercy. God views us this way, and He desires for the body of Christ to do the same for one another.
3. Grow Your Character, Not Your Batting Average.
Proverbs 22:6 – “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
So often as a dad, I can focus on the wrong things. I want them to get good grades, have a great jump shot, and slay it in the talent show. To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with getting good grades, excelling on the sports field, or strumming a guitar. But, what if I focused more on their character? What if I took more effort to train them on how to read their Bibles and pray? How about if they knew how to look adults in the eyes, shake their hands, and ask them insightful questions? My hope is that they’d be all stars in character, not in baseball.
Know It and Live It Out
I pray they don’t just know these verses, but they would live them out. I don’t want them to just check the box that they’ve memorized the verse. Rather, I hope they live it out like the wise man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and doesn’t forget what he looks like, but walks away as a changed man (James 1:25).
There are many more Proverbs I could choose, but Proverbs 13:20, 28:13, and 22:6 are three verses I pray that my kids would know and live out. Choose your friends wisely, confess and don’t hide, and grow your character more than your batting average.
What are some of your favorite Proverbs? What verses do you want your children to know and live out?