Role models are visual examples of who we want to be. They can be someone who provides an example for life and decision-making, someone we want to follow or aspire to be like.
“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction / and do not forsake your mother’s teaching” (Proverbs 1:8).
We as parents, whether we want to be or not, are our children’s first role models. From the moment they are born our kids are absorbing every detail of who Dad and Mum are and how we approach the world. They are forming their understanding of life by watching the everyday decisions that parents make, from how we react in a difficult situation to the way we speak to the people around us; they are observing, learning and being shaped by you.
What kind of role model do you want to be to your child/ren?
The Bible acknowledges the influence of role models (Philippians 3:17) and encourages each of us to follow in Jesus’ steps (1 Peter 2:21). Jesus is obviously the ultimate role model that each of us should aspire to; although He suffered temptations He remained sinless (Hebrews 4:5), He spent lots of time conversing with Father God (Mark 1:35), He showed compassion and love (Matthew 15:32) and He was a hard worker (John 5:17).
The Bible is also full of imperfect people that can act as role models (there is hope for us imperfect parents!).
Abraham and Sarah
Abraham & Sarah are one such couple that we can look to. “Next to our Lord Jesus Christ, perhaps the greatest example of faith in Scripture is the patriarch Abraham”,
(Warren. W. Wiersbe). Abraham is often referred to as the father of faith. Hebrews 11:8 says “By faith Abraham, when called… obeyed”.
Genesis 12:1-3: “The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you”.
When God spoke Abraham listened and obeyed.
He interceded for others;
when Lot and the people of Sodom are living in sin, Abraham prayed to God on their behalf (Genesis 18: 16-33).
Abraham loved his family, cared for them and led by example.
His family followed him wherever he went and he taught his children about God. “The first time the word “love” is used in the Bible it is used to describe Abraham’s love for his son (Reference 1).
It is within the event of God commanding Abraham to sacrifice his long awaited for son, Isaac, that we see Abraham again listening and obeying God without hesitation, evidence of Abraham’s trust and surrender to God’s will.
Abraham was a flawed man who made mistakes in his 175 years of life, however; throughout his life Abraham was faithful in waiting
for God to fulfil His promises, even when it took years for this to happen. In our fast paced world it is difficult to be content in the waiting, if we begin to model ourselves based on Abraham’s example we need to practise resting in God with faith at all times, even in the waiting, the sinfulness and the day to day of raising our families.
Sarah was Abraham’s wife and, although she had her shortcomings (as we all do), she was a woman who displayed a high standard of spiritual maturity and in many areas is worth emulating.
In 1 Peter 3:3-6 we read:
“Let your beauty not be external – the braiding of hair and wearing of gold jewellery or fine clothes – but the inner person of the heart, the lasting beauty of a gentle and tranquil spirit, which is precious in God’s sight. For in the same way the holy women who hoped in God long ago adorned themselves by being subject to their husbands, like Sarah who obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. You become her children when you do what is good and have no fear in doing so.”
Sarah was full of courage;
called by God at age 65 to follow Abraham out of her homeland to Canaan. B. Allison describes biblical courage like Sarah’s as follows: not cowering of fleeing, standing strong and bold, trusting God, not focusing on themself, nor on limited resources, but focusing on God and his unlimited resources, believing in Him to make Himself known and His glory revealed.
Sarah was a woman of hope.
She believed and hoped in God for a baby, even when she was barren and well past child bearing age.
Women of hope are ‘optimistic, recognising that God is sovereign and faithful. Such women are positive and confident, knowing that God is powerful, ever present, and actively involved in the affairs of this world. These women are those who rest in the love, goodness, and justice of God. They know that a brighter morning is going to dawn because God is on the throne. These are the women who hope in God’ (B. Alison).
I encourage you to read in Genesis about Abraham and Sarah and ask God how you can use their example to be a role model in your lives as parents and children of the living God.
References: (Reference 1). B. Alison, (2008).