Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Ps. 127:3 NKJV
Children are a gift from God. In addition to that blessing, God has a personal stake in them as well:
…she is your companion and wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. Mal. 2:14, 15. ESV
Why should our children be godly offspring? The entire Bible tells us that living a godly life yields the highest and best life – both in this life and the eternal extension that is afforded to those who do so.
So as parents, we have a heavenly mandate to bring them up that way:
Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], even when he is old he will not depart from it. Pr. 22:6 AMP
If you plant the seed within the child and nurture it, he or she will blossom as godly fruit. However, you cannot plant that seed unless it has first flourished in you:
The righteous man who walks in integrity and lives life in accord with his [godly] beliefs – how blessed [happy and spiritually secure] are his children after him [who have his example to follow]. Pr. 20:7 AMP
After all, after a child has reached the age where they have grasped their innate knowledge of right and wrong and come to know the gospel, they too are responsible for their deeds:
Even a child is known by his deeds, whether what he does is pure and right. Pr. 10:11 NKJV
As far as we are able then, we must help them grasp all of God’s promises:
“For the promise [of the Holy Spirit’ is for you and your children and for all who are far away [including the Gentiles], as many as the Lord our God calls to Himself.” Acts 2:39 AMP
They have the promise to share in all phases of the kingdom, e.g:
“It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy…” Joel 2:28 NASB
As parents, it is our duty to prepare them, to strengthen them, by teaching them to draw upon God’s strength when they go out into this hostile world that is clamoring for their souls. We will be held accountable. Today’s world is not any less formidable than it was in the days of old, when some were devil-driven to sacrifice their own children:
“I will also set My face against that man and will cut him off from among his people, because he has given some of his offspring to Molech, so as to defile My sanctuary and to profane My holy name.” Lv. 20:3 NASB
We are responsible for beginning to teach our children how to acquire their spiritual armor.
How do we begin this journey? First, we lead by example, which will in itself confer a blessing on them – through our obedience:
Be careful to obey all these words that I command you, that it may go well you and with your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God. Dt. 12:28 ESV
So, we must begin biblically educating our kids, weaving the gospel into the everyday events in their lives:
You shall teach them diligently to your children [impressing God’s precepts on their minds and penetrating their hearts with His truths] and shall speak of them when you sit in your house and walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up. Dt. 6:7 AMP
We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. Ps. 78:4 ESV
Yet, we have to be wise and clever about our instruction. While we teach, we want to help them experience and preserve what should be the joy of childhood:
Therefore, remove sorrow and anger from your heart and put away pain from your body, for childhood and the prime of life are fleeting. Eccl. 11:10 AMP
But that joy, wonder and awe doesn’t have to be fleeting. You have surely seen that those who live life the largest, are those who have never lost that sense of child’s play. Moreover, they position themselves to be closer to God when they retain some of those child-like traits, e.g. faith and trust:
“I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless you repent [that is, change your inner self – your old way of thinking, live changed lives] and become like children [trusting, humble, and forgiving], you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Mt. 18:3 AMP
Yes, we must be an authoritative figure for our children, but in a way that we are not lording it over them, so as not to foster rebellion – a war of the wills. We slowly begin to relinquish some of the authority by leading our kids into the direction of listening to their own hearts, that spiritual center of their souls.
We are not here to ‘clone’ our children. God has given each child unique gifts, and we want to help them on their path to the discovery of them. Where we help lead them, is in the realization of themselves; and we can only do that through effective communication. We have to talk to them. What a concept!
But while we are talking, we have to lead them in such a fashion that we present the information and guide them into realizing the answers for themselves. That is the best way that all people come to learn and believe.
Moreover, we have to help them grow their godly character. Their actions are borne out of who they are being. So, we need to assist our children in developing and embracing their authentic self – not some twisted derivative thrust upon them by the world view and its purveyors.
It all comes down to getting our kids to see that all choices must be first examined before acted upon; and that all choices should be made within the framework of a single question: “Am I honoring God with my goodness and obedience at this moment?”
I would wager that in most if not all situations, the answer will always be a no-brainer, i.e. the answer will be clear. Let’s face it, when you honor God, it’s because you’re doing the right thing; and He then honors you and your situation.
Children need to be inspired by their goodness. So, we have to appeal to their good character and commend them when they exercise it. Oh, they’ll make bad decisions, just like everybody else. And we must discipline them for their own sake; but hopefully, our previous leadership in their upbringing will minimize the damage:
Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline [correction administered with godly wisdom and lovingkindness] will remove it far from him. Pr. 22:15 AMP
Yelling, cursing, or shaming never produces long-lasting desirable outcomes. In fact, it can result in the undesirability of rebellion and / or flight. When we do that, we are only giving in to our exasperation. Instead, we can teach them the godly foundations for obeying their parents, as well as their own hearts, which hopefully are on the same page:
Fathers, do not provoke or irritate or exasperate your children [with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive, nor by favoritism or indifference; treat them tenderly with lovingkindness], so they will not lose heart and become discouraged or unmotivated [with their spirits broken]. Col. 3:21 AMP
Children, obey your parents [as God’s representatives] in all things, for this [attitude of respect and obedience] is well-pleasing to the Lord [and will bring you God’s promised blessings]. Col. 3:20 AMP
They have to learn that there’s stuff we don’t want to do, but that the outcome for doing them is far more favorable. If we help them build godly values, it will strengthen them against the wiles of those who follow the ways of the world. They will regularly tap into the innate virtues and graciousness that God placed within their hearts, all of which will be reflected in their actions.
Ultimately, the best parent-child partnership will come down to Mom and Dad using as many of their child’s decisions and experiences as opportunities for learning, by stopping whatever you are doing and giving him or her your undivided attention. Let them speak all of their mind. Reflect it back to them for gaining greater accuracy of your understanding and pray together to see what God has to say about the situation.
You know, it will take some of the heat off of yourself if you ask for God’s help. Duh!
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Mt. 11:29, 30. NASB
To be continued…
Goodnight and God bless.