Friday, August 9, 2013

Christian Parenting 101

As a parent, parenting can be unapparent.  Did that make sense?  Well, that’s parenting sometimes.  Trying to figure out the how to’s of parenting can be confusing and frustrating.  As a Christian parent, I have more goals than just producing well educated, drug-free, activity driven kids. While these are important, there is so much more to parenting than giving my kids happiness and basic instructions before leaving home.  I want to prepare my kids for life but more importantly, life in Christ.

Luke 2:52 says Jesus grew in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and men.  I want to shape these four areas of my kids’ lives as well.  Wisdom means helping to guard and shape their mind.  I want them to have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) and a Biblical world view.  I want them to grow in stature. This isn’t talking about their physical height but their moral character.  Their actions should be formed by the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  Favor with God means He molds them and shows them their purpose in Him.  Favor with man means through their relationship with God, their personality grows and influences their relationships with people.

I also desire to give my kids the right platform for launching their lives.  I pray four things for them every day: (1) that they would give their lives to Jesus; (2) that they would be called into full time ministry, (3) that they would marry Spirit-filled, born-again, ministry minded spouses, and (4) that they would raise children to do the same.  In order to do this my wife and I have to model this.  One of my favorite verses is Malachi 4:6.  I pray it all the time for my kids.  “He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers.”  Our hearts have to be one with the Lord as parents before we can instill the heart of the Lord in our kids.

There are many dangers I want to protect my kids from.  I am not naïve enough to think I can shield them from every harmful influence in life.  But I can give them the right foundation to make the right decisions when faced with trouble, temptation, or trials.  Change will come in their life.  How do they see me deal with change?  What does the Bible have to say about it?  Failure will happen (either to them or by them).  How do they remain who they are in Christ beyond the bad grade or let down from a friend?  Rejection is evident – even Jesus was rejected.  Showing them how He overcame will help them overcome and be confident in Christ’s love for them.  He never leaves them (Hebrews 13:5) and loves them unconditionally (Romans 5:8).

My wife and I want to point our kids towards the ways of God but the only way to do this is found in Joshua 24:15:  Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”  We can’t drop our kids off at church and expect this to happen.  We have to steer their lives toward Christ as they see us make daily choices to follow Jesus.  The greatest way we can honor our kids is to love them like Jesus does, show them Jesus’ ways of living, and pray for them daily.  Who cares if I leave them great wealth, provide a good education for them and keep them busy in great activities if I never show them Jesus?

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