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There is a big difference between helping our children be happy and helping them have a godly character that will sustain them through the good and bad periods of life. The foundational elements of character development—integrity, a teachable spirit, self-discipline, compassion, a servant’s heart, courage, faith, and joy—take hard work and intentionality on the part of parents. If we neglect character development, much of our other work as parents will easily fall apart as our child leaves our home. As with heart change, the Holy Spirit does the work of change, but as parents we can prepare our children for when the Holy Spirit does His work.

Character development is integrally connected with heart change. Consider character development as the “living out” of heart change in every aspect of one’s life. With a godly character, based on biblical teaching, we can weather the inevitable storms and flourish no matter our circumstances. As parents, one of the best gifts we can give our children is to properly prepare them for when they are on their own. Teaching and training them in character development is perhaps our most important job.

As you address the questions below, see how God prepares people in each area and how God wants to prepare you and your child’s character.



Integrity. Read Colossians 3:1–7. If we are raised with Christ, what are we to set our hearts on?

Read verse 5. Why do you think God wants us to “put to death” our earthly nature?

A Teachable Spirit. Read Psalm 25:4–15. In verses 8–10, why should we trust God’s teaching?

How do you think forgiveness allows us to be guided by God’s teaching?

Self-Discipline. Read Luke 9:23 and 2 Timothy 1:7. How does the concept of denying yourself lead to a
stronger character? Why is Jesus such a strong example for us?

In 2 Timothy, Paul writes about God’s help for us in self-discipline. Why is it essential to have the Holy
Spirit give us power to discipline ourselves?

Compassion. Read Isaiah 58:6–11. Why do you think God describes those with compassion as a “well
watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail” (v. 11)? How does being compassionate not only help others but change ourselves?

Read Psalm 103:6–14. In your own words, describe God’s compassion toward us based on these verses.

A Servant’s Heart. Read Philippians 2:3–4 and John 13:1–17. Why does God call us to value others
more than ourselves?

If Jesus can model service as He did in the passage in John, what types of actions could we model in our
life that would demonstrate humility and love for others?

Courage. Read Deuteronomy 31:6. Why should we not be afraid?

Read Ephesians 2:10. If God is with you, and we are created in Christ Jesus to do the work God has
already prepared for us, what should our attitude be as we go about this work? How can we expect
God to help us carry out His plan for us?

Faith. Read Psalm 111. Write five reasons why we should be able to trust God and have faith in Him.

Read Ephesians 1:17–21. Describe the power that God describes He will give us as we put our faith and
hope in Him.

Joy. Read John 15:1–13. How do you think the “pruning” process can lead to joy? Describe an
experience in your life where this has happened to you.

Read Psalm 97. Contemplate God’s awesome power as described in this psalm. How can God’s power
and glory help us have joy in our everyday lives?

*The elements covered in this Bible study are based on those identified in the book Character Matters! Raising Kids with Character That Lasts, by John Yates and Susan Alexander Yates,  one of the resources in the Aslan Academy program.


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