Continued from here.
The Role of Grace
Fulfilling our role as parents is challenging in the world we live in. This is because the tides of culture are contrary and subtly or overtly oppose raising godly children. Specifically,
- There are few godly role models among the famous, so children hardly have opportunities to see God-honoring behavior in the public arena.
- The demands of daily life put such a squeeze on parents that teaching and modeling righteousness are challenging.
- The lines between good and evil have become so blurred that Christian parents inadvertently allow their children to get involved in things that open doors to the enemy in their lives.
Because of these and several other challenges, we should continually seek God’s grace to fulfill the task He has assigned us. We should also seek His wisdom on how to sow positively and effectively in our children’s lives. We should ask His Holy Spirit to teach us how to instruct and discipline them without destroying the beauty of their God-given personalities. We should also ask for His grace to be able to teach and model righteousness day after day, week after week, and year after year.
The good news is that God’s grace is available in abundance. God’s grace is the power that motivates and enables us to do excellently what we have difficulty doing in our own strength. If we recognize our insufficiency and look to the Lord for help, He will pour out His abundant grace on us (Hebrews 4:16). As a result, we will find ourselves having wisdom, strength, and joy as we go about raising our children for Him. We will also find that our strength for the work is renewed everyday (Isaiah 40:31).
The Role of Prayer
Believing prayer is a powerful tool for raising children. When we see their weaknesses and their inability to overcome them, we should bring God’s power to bear in their lives by praying for them. James 5:16b says that the heartfelt, continued prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available (Amplified Bible). Our prayers, if offered in faith, will surely make a difference in their lives. We may not see the results immediately, but the Word of God says that if we do not give up sowing seeds of righteousness, we will reap a harvest of life in due season (Galatians 6:8b).
The Role of Love
As parents, we are God’s love letter to our children. We cannot convince them that God loves them if we do not model His love. God’s love differs from human love in that it remains the same even when the person being loved fails; human love, on the other hand, increases when its object performs well and decreases or is completely withdrawn when its object fails. God’s love is full of mercy and kindness and does nothing for selfish gain; human love is judgmental, difficult to please, and selfish. When correcting, God’s love disapproves of the behavior not the person (e.g. “you acted unwisely”). When correcting, human love disapproves of the behavior and the person (e.g. “you are an idiot”). This list could go on and on, but its key point is that there is a huge difference between God’s love and human love, and we must be mindful of the kind of love we show our children. If we consistently show them God’s love, we will make a positive and significant impact on their lives.
Showing God’s love is possible, but it cannot be achieved by mere human striving. If we want to be true conduits of His love, we must ask God to empower us. He will do this by causing us to receive His love for ourselves first and then work through us to give it to our children. We need to clearly experience God’s love and mercy in our lives in order to be able to extend the same to our children and others (John 15:12; John 13:15).
Bless and Curse Not
When children misbehave, parents are often tempted to speak negatively, cynically, or abusively to them. However, we should remember that God has appointed us to be their teachers and intercessors; therefore, we should not allow the devil to use our mouths to destroy them (James 3:6-12). Words are powerful (Proverbs 18:21). Abusive words cause deep hurts whereas words of wisdom tenderly spoken bring healing and change (Proverbs 12:18).
When we err, God rebukes us firmly but never with cynical or abusive words. When we are rebuked of Him, we are humbled but never feel worthless and useless (feelings of worthlessness are Satan’s weapons). What we receive of the Lord, we should give to our children. We should rebuke and discipline them but do so in love.
We should also learn to praise and bless them for their good behavior. This may be difficult because children make a lot of mistakes. However, they do behave well sometimes and we as parents should recognize and praise them at those times. Doing this will reinforce their self-esteem and bring them to believe that they are truly loved.
Reflect and Pray
Raising children in a way that preserves their inner beauty and fulfills God’s purpose is an intricate process. I have merely flagged key aspects that merit attention and further meditation. I pray that you will take the nuggets shared here to the Lord and allow Him to highlight portions that are relevant to your situation. As you submit to Him in this and every other aspect of life, He will lead you into His grace and breakthrough in the area of raising your children for His glory.