Summary: If future generation are to take on the character of God, we must mark for them our own quest.

What Parents Owe Their Children

A Quest for Character

November 4, 2001

This series isn’t about parenting. I do hope this helps those of us who are raising children…

But it’s really about living out our key principles of our faith in front of the children in our lives!

We want to talk about character…

- character in public life

- character in the schools

- character in the office place

- character in marriage

Famous quotes regarding character:

- Ralph Waldo Emerson – “Character is that which can do without success.”

- Dwight L. Moody – “Character is what a person is in the dark.”

- Charles Spurgeon – “A good character is the best tombstone.”

- Character is who you are when everyone and when no one is looking.

But we’re talking about more than morality or good, clean living here…

Anyone can be moral… I want to talk about the special wisdom of Christianity. What does the Christian sense of character mean?

“Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it.” Proverbs 22:6, NLT

The Christian wisdom is there is a right path – not a good path, a nice path, certainly not an easier path – a right path.

The right path is more than just good character,

The right path is God’s character

This pathway of God’s character is a Quest – A Holy Quest – one that you will pursue your entire life. One you will never finish, but one that God says you will not fail.

- This quest will take a very real desire

- Will involve very real difficulty

- Will demand you practice a self-denial

- But it is a quest of Destiny

o Yes destination…

o But also destiny

“I set before you Heaven and Hell, life and death…” Moses – Deut 30

Listen to these words of someone on the quest from Psalm 119:

”Teach me, O LORD, to follow every one of your principles. Give me understanding and I will obey your law; I will put it into practice with all my heart. Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found. Give me an eagerness for your decrees; do not inflict me with love for money! Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word. Reassure me of your promise, which is for those who honor you.”

Psalm 119: 33-38, NLT

Future generations need us to mark the pathway of our own quest God’s character.

Markers are intentional

Markers are visible

Markers show progress

Marker 1: A Chosen Pathway

From Psalm 119

I will obey your law; I will put it into practice with all my heart. Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found. Give me an eagerness for your decrees…

This is a decision I’ve made… a once for all decision… and a decision I have to remake frequently…

“The LORD says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.’” Psalm 32:8, NLT

- Consider the words of this classic poem by Robert Frost

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear,

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –

I took the tone less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Marker 2: A Continual Practice

Children need to see us living out and practicing the faith we profess.

From Psalm 119: “Give me understanding and I will obey your law; I will put it into practice with all my heart.”

“Don’t be impatient for the LORD to act! Travel steadily along his path.” Psalm 37:34, NLT

- Three Preachers are having a discussion debating which Bible translation they each prefer. The first suggests that the New International Version is the one most capable of growing people closer to the Lord. The second insists that the New American Standard is so much more textually accurate. The third interrupts and says, “I prefer my mother’s translation.” The other two preachers are stunned, “I didn’t know you mother translated the Biblical texts…” “Oh, she did,” the third replied. “My mother translated the Bible every day right in front of my eyes – with her life!”

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