If you are a father, or are about to become one, your whole life has been an audition, and God has chosen you for the most important role a person can play. Your role has three parts to communicate on the stage of life ~ the love of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Congratulations, Dad! Now it’s time to hone your craft. Here is your cheat sheet for the character study you’ll need to fulfill your role. If you focus on these key elements, you will succeed.

To portray this role effectively in the lives of your children, you must first know Him as your Father. Do you? Is He the One who guides you through life? Do you turn to Him for every need, trusting in His wise provision and timing? Do you grasp the depth of His love for you—a love that tore His heart in two as His Son died on the cross for your sins? It’s a love that shouted through a megaphone that crucifixion day and now whispers into your heart words of encouragement and guidance whenever you are willing to listen.

Your kids need to know about that love, Dad. They need to know that you’ve tasted it, and that it is real. So share it with them! Tell them how your Father’s love has carried you through scary times and heartbreaks. And model it for them by showing them your forgiveness, mercy, and grace, as you train them up in responsible living.

Next, you must know Jesus as your Savior. Have you submitted your life to Him? Are you trusting in His sacrifice on the cross as the covering for your sin? Tell your kids. Don’t play perfect. They’ll see through that every time. Instead, be humble and share your own need for forgiveness, so they’ll feel safe to admit theirs.

Finally, are you allowing the Holy Spirit to speak into your life, as God guides you through each decision? Pray to be filled with His Spirit. And then watch for the fruit of that Spirit in your life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Isn’t that the kind of Dad every child needs and wants? Yours does. And only you can fill those shoes.

So, run hard after God yourself, and teach your children to do the same. While you’re at it, also show them the love you have for their mother. Christ laid down His life for His Bride (the church). Show them ways you are doing that for your bride, too. They may squirm and act embarrassed, but keep showing tender affection to her in their presence. Every hug, every kiss, every compliment you give her tells those children their family unit is safe, and so are you.

As Shakespeare once said, “All the world’s a stage…” And you are playing an essential role in the unfolding acts of your child’s life. You are the key actor. God wants you to be a star. And it’s going to take a lifetime of practice.

But don’t worry. Kids are very forgiving, and if you’re heart is in the right place, they will see God’s love shine through, even when you flub some of your lines, miss a scene, or draw a blank in the middle of one.

Who knows? You may even be handed the ultimate award in the Fatherhood Celebration in Heaven—“Well done, My good and faithful servant!”