For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit,

and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12    

  

              

 

 

                                               

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Character... or Characters ?
There is a difference!

A parent recounted a humorous story of someone asking his young homeschooled daughter why she wasnít in school. She looked up at the stranger in the store and replied, "I am in school. My parents are teaching me to be a character!"

In the homeschool arena, the number is growing astronomically as more parents are coming to the realization that public or private schools arenít working. They are afraid of the ever growing gang and drug problems in our society. Many people who arenít believers in the Lord Jesus are also endeavoring to homeschool. It has become an ever growing popular alternative to public education.

As this grows, and as the conventions and homeschool support groups are trying to meet and mix everyone together under the political forum of "homeschooling", we need to ask ourselves WHY are we as believers training our children at home?

Are we training our children because we want them to be highly paid, successful professionals according to the worldís standards? Are we doing it for academic excellence?

Many believing parents have stated that they are simply homeschooling, or home training, their children because they wish to develop a character in their children which reflects God. As homeschooling parents, the majority of us are concerned with building "Character" within our children. Godly character training should be the priority in our homes... academics following AFTER.

Recently, there was a discussion held with some young people who were considering home schooling. They wanted "Character Training" to be defined. What does this mean? What exactly is it to train a character? For that matter, WHAT is character?

This question started a deep search as to what exactly do we mean by "Character Training"; what does the Word of God have to say about it; and HOW does one endeavor to do such a thing?

WHAT IS CHARACTER?

The word "Character" is defined: 1. The combination of qualities or features that distinguishes one person, group, or thing from another. 2. One such distinguishing feature or attribute; a characteristic. 3. The combined moral or ethical structure of a person or group. 4. Moral or ethical strength; integrity; fortitude. 5. Reputation: "I have not the character of being half as prudent as I really am" (Anne Langton). 6. Status; capacity; role; in his character as a father. 7. Informal. A person who is peculiar or eccentric. 8. A personage. 9. A person portrayed in a drama, novel, or other artistic piece. 10. A description of a personís attributes, traits, or abilities.

There are more definitions listed that deal with a legal document or characters as in writing, but Iím sure you get the idea... We are trying to build "character" in our children.

Letís simplify this definition. Letís say that character training, in regard to building Godly character in our children, is to ensure that they have Biblical morals and ethics... That they have integrity and fortitude. That they have, last but not least, a Godly reputation.

On the other hand, we do NOT wish our children to grow up to be "characters". Iím sure you have heard people say in regards to someone, "My, but that person is a character, isnít he?" and then they chuckle. When this is said of an individual it definately isnít being spoken because people are noticing this personís high degree of moral integrity. Mostly, it is the opposite and they are reacting to a personís eccentricity.

WHEN WE AS BELIEVERS ENDEAVOR TO TEACH CHARACTER TO OUR CHILDREN, WE ARE TEACHING THEM TO HAVE INTEGRITY... A TRAIT THAT THE WORLD KNOWS LITTLE ABOUT!

Our duty in regards to Character training in our children is to instill in them integrity. Do you know that integrity means that one has a rigid adherence to a code of behavior? It means to be unimpaired; to be sound. Its synonym is HONESTY. The middle English word was integrite and meant completeness and purity.

WHAT CODE OF BEHAVIOR WILL WE TEACH OUR CHILDREN TO ADHERE TO?

Our code of behavior will be in accordance to the Word of God. We will teach our children to simply OBEY Godís Word.

Are you old enough to remember a dress code when you went to public school? Remember how the school system placed these rules on the students?

What happened if one didnít obey? They would be expelled from school. It was as simple as that. They would be given three chances and if one didnít conform they were out. Some schools didnít even GIVE those three chances.

Can you compare the Kingdom of Heaven with this? If we do not conform to the rules or obey or believe in Christ, we are out? Can you compare integrity with this? No, not really, because there is a difference here. The difference is that integrity is based upon obedience to Godís Word because we LOVE Him not because one HAS to. When we teach our children to come to God, we teach them to LOVE God. We donít teach them that you better believe in Jesus or else Heís going to burn you up in the fires of hell. A young child would then never understand the love of God. We teach our children that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that if you BELIEVE in Him, that you will have everlasting life. This is what integrity is all about. That our children will adhere to the Word of God because they have come to have a deep and abiding LOVE of God. Please know that we are COMMANDED to teach our children the FEAR of the Lord, but this FEAR also includes in the definition to be in awe of, to reverence... Not to just be afraid of someone because they might do something bad to you.

The reason why one adheres to codes such as "dress codes" in public school is because if they donít they will be made an example of punishment. We did not obey those codes because we adored or loved the school. It was because we loved and cared for our own self and didnít want to be in trouble.

What does it mean to love God...? If you look up "LOVE" in the English Dictionary, you will find that it says that love is an intense affectionate concern for another person. Under the theological definition it stated: "Godís benevolence and mercy toward man. Manís devotion to or adoration of God." Again, there were no feelings like this in regard to obeying the rules of the school.

The main thing in teaching our children to have "integrity" is to make sure that they LOVE God...

Deuteronomy 6:5-6 "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with ALL thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."

Joshua 22:5 "But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul."

Teaching our children to love God is the whole basis of Character Training... Sounds simple, doesnít it?

If you continue on with Deuteronomy 6:5, 6 to verse 7, it not only tells us to love God with everything in us, it goes on to read:

"And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart; And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou attest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

WE NEED TO TEACH OUR CHILDREN TO BE UNIMPAIRED!

The meaning of "impared" is to diminish in strength, value, quantity, or quality. It means to make something worse. The synonym is to injure. To keep our children unimpared means to keep them whole! Or in biblical terms, "unspotted from the world".

Iím sure that each of us trying to train our children can make a list of things of this world that we have denied our children. Unbelievers look at us and do not understand how we can live without all the pleasures that they fill their lives with in order to pacify that void of not knowing God.

In the world that we live in, if we endeavor to train our children to be unimpared, we can know that we will be accused of many things. People will state that we are sheltering our children, that they are not properly socialized, and that they will not fit in with "normal" people. But stand firm, be of good cheer!

James 1:27 encourages us "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."

CHARACTER TRAINING MEANS TO TEACH OUR CHILDREN TO BE SOUND!

The dictionary definition for sound in this connotation is: 1. Free from defect, decay, or damage; in good condition. 2. Free from disease or injury; healthy; sound in body and in mind. 3. Having a firm basis; solid; unshakable; a sound foundation. 4. Founded on valid reasoning; free from misapprehension; sensible and correct. 5. Thorough; complete. 6. Deep and unbroken; undisturbed. 7. Free from moral defect; upright; honorable.

Isnít this a perfect description of what we wish our childrenís character to be like?

The scriptures talk often about "soundness":

2 Timothy 1:7 "For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

2 Timothy 1:13 "Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus."

Titus 1:9-13 "Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

Titus 2:1 "But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine."

We do not know what the future holds. The Scriptures tell us that in the last days many people will depart from Truth, or sound doctrine. Already, there are many in the pulpits today who are departing from the scriptural Truth of Godís Word and teaching vain philosophies and superstitions of men. Humanism and New Age philosophies are now subtlety infiltrating ministries that use to be sound doctrinally. This is why it is so important that our children are taught to have Godly Character!

To spend the majority of our school time on Mathematic, Science, World History ("world" history? ), etc., and minoring on teaching our children sound doctrine is exactly what the world approves of in our home schools. But what does GOD think of this?

As the days are waxing worse and worse, as false prophets and false teachings increase, wouldnít it be more profitable to be spending time teaching our children the Truth of the Word of God and exposing the false doctrines they might encounter? Wouldnít it be right to equip them with scriptures that will expose humanism and New Age teachings? We must saturate our children in Scriptural teachings and then work on academics. Not visa versa.

How do we teach our children to be "sound"? By teaching them to line up every single thought, every teaching, with the Word of God. The Bible tells us:

2 Corinthians 10:5 "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience to Christ."

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