Raising Heroes for Jesus
Everyone in our culture seems to be obsessed with superheroes. Everyone talks about the movies and when the next one is coming out. I hear teens and children talk about superheroes as if they are real people.
I have watched one or two superhero movies, and I walk away so disturbed by the character deficits. They don’t seem worthy of all their adulation.
Let me define a hero for you.
What Is a Hero?
Superhero movies show heroes saving the day and getting involved in several protracted fight scenes where they miraculously survive and save the day!
In literature, the hero is the protagonist that we root for in a story.
I think a hero is someone who is brave and good, who pours his life out on behalf of others, especially the weak and powerless.
Jesus is the Ultimate Hero! When we were His enemies and powerless to get rid of our sin and brokenness, He gave His life so we could be reconciled to God!
A true hero is connected to the Ultimate Superhero Jesus! A true hero pours his life out, so that others can be lifted out of dark places into the light of His love and truth.
Heroes from the Pages of History
I want to raise heroes so I give my children real heroes, heroes that are good and brave, who loved Jesus and served Him until their dying breath.
As believers we have two thousand years filled with godly heroes who gave it all for the sake of Christ. From the early disciples who all, with the exception of John, were martyred for their faith to the modern age of missions, we have so many heroes to choose from.
Saint Patrick returned to share the Gospel with the Irish even though they had kidnapped and enslaved him. Athanasius defended the truths of the Gospel boldly, though he often had to flee for his life. King Alfred the Great was the first to translate the Bible into English. When the Lord prospered John Wannamaker’s store, he gave oodles of money away to support ministries around the world and ministered in his hometown of Philadelphia. Gladys Aylward not only shared the Gospel in China but also helped to rid the country of the painful institution of foot binding for women.
Biographies are a perfect way to introduce Christian heroes to your children. They will meet heroes in the pages of a living book who are far superior to the superheroes of today.
Here are some heroes you may want to introduce your child to:
- Apostle Paul
- Augustine of Hippo
- Bede the Venerable
- King Alfred the Great of England
- Francis of Assisi
- John Wycliffe
- John Huss
- Oliver Cromwell
- John Tyndale
- John Bunyan
- John Milton
- Martin Luther
- Katie Luther
- John Knox
- John Foxe
- King Edward VI
- Lady Jane Grey
- John Calvin
- Cotton Mather
- Susannah Wesley
- John Wesley
- Charles Wesley
- George Whitefield
- William Carey
- John Newton
- William Wilberforce
- Count Nicolaus Zinzendorf
- Hiram Bingham
- George Mueller
- John Wannamaker
- L. Moody
- Charles Spurgeon
- David Livingstone
- James Hudson Taylor
- Lottie Moon
- Gladys Aylward
- Mary Slessor
- Amy Carmichael
- Eric Liddell
- William Cameron Townsend
- Corrie ten Boom
- Jim Elliot
- Elisabeth Elliot
- Nate Saint
- Rachel Saint
- Brother Andrew
- Mother Teresa
- Lydia Prince
- Derek Prince
- Bill Bright
- Frances Schaeffer
- Edith Schaeffer
- Billy Graham
- Nicky Cruz
- Joni Eareckson Tada
Heroes Next Door
Not all the heroes become famous. Many heroes serve quietly. A missionary in a remote village in Indonesia, a homeschool mom teaching her children about Jesus, and a Sunday school teacher who leads her students to Christ. So many people are quietly changing their world and making a difference for the glory of God.
These are great people to invite over to have dinner with your family so your children can meet real people who love Jesus and make a difference in the world around them.
What Character Qualities Does a Hero Possess?
All heroes are different. But here are some character traits heroes need to save the day:
- Sacrificial love
So how do we build godly character in our future hero’s lives? Well, we teach what the Bible says about these character traits, memorize Scripture, and give them opportunities to put those things into practice.
If we want our children to take initiative, they need the freedom to do so, within parameters, when a challenging situation arises.
When they feel sadness over others’ misfortunes, we can encourage them to show compassion in a tangible way.
Kindness can be cultivated with these simple words, ”Let’s think of what we can do for…”
Character training requires opportunities, and life is full of challenges and needs where our children can rise to the occasion and then be lavished with praise afterward.
How to Raise a Hero
We’ve talked about introducing godly heroes to our children through biographies and friendships. That is so important because our children need examples of real heroes.
You can be an example of a hero to your children too. Let your light shine! Let your children see you serving Jesus.
We can instill godly character in our children through Bible study, Scripture memorization, and prayer.
We can show our children needs around us both personal and societal. Then, we envision them. Let me give you an example: “Shine! It is so sad the way people are abandoning God’s plan for sexual purity, but you can stand strong in your generation and make a difference.” Then we discuss how she can do that!
In every frightening or impossible situation, God chooses a hero! Our Heavenly Father has a plan. And His plan includes ordinary people like you and me and our children who step out in faith! Nothing is impossible with God! Do you believe that? Heroes believe that! I believe that. Do you?
What does it take to be a Hero for Jesus?
Read “God Always Has a Hero!” Blog Post
Meet some more Christian heroes:
Super-Hero David Livingstone Blog Post
Super-Hero Amy Carmichael Blog Post
Super-Hero John Huss Blog Post
Until next time, Happy Homeschooling,
Meredith Curtis, homeschooling mom, writer, speaker, and publisher, loves to encourage families in their homeschooling adventure. She is the author of Travel God’s World Geography, Celebrate Our Christian Heroes, and HIS Story of the 20th Century. You can check out her books, curricula, unit studies, and Bible studies at PowerlineProd.com. Free Reading Lists for all ages are available at JSHomeschooling.com. Read her blogs at MeredithCurtis.com (http://www.meredithcurtis.com/blog) and PowerlineProd.com and listen to her at Finish Well Radio.