Please understand these ten keys are not meant to be an all inclusive parenting manual, but rather major biblical points of consideration for parents who are particular about raising their children in the way of the Lord. Hopefully this will be beneficial to you.
1) Develop a Passionate Relationship with God
In Deuteronomy 6:5-6, God instructs parents:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
How enlightening that before God commands parents to diligently teach their children (v. 7), He first instructs them to passionately love Him (vv. 5-6)! God wants parents to understand that they cannot transfer to their children what they do not possess themselves. The foundation for both a great marriage and successful parenting is to love the Lord supremely above every other love.
2) Strong Marriages Add Stability to a Child’s Life
It is not easy to raise children when you have a strong marriage, but nearly impossible when you have a shaky marriage! Solidify your marriage. Only when each spouse passionately loves God (key 1), will they correctly love each other and have the strong marital foundation needed for successful parenting.
If you are a single parent, pray for strength and wisdom to show respect and avoid negative put downs of the parent that is no longer in the home. Also, if the ex-spouse is pursuing an ungodly lifestyle and he or she has visitation rights, you must prepare your children to respond respectfully and righteously in the undesirable environment.
3) Make the Word of God Your Standard
We are living in a day that offers as many views on parenting as there are parents. God’s Word is full of instruction about training children. It is the standard that we are to use to raise children that are God fearing.
4) Parents Must Be on the Same Page
One common source of marital strife is disagreements concerning child rearing. To successfully parent their children a mom and dad must be on the same page. That page needs to be the Word of God. In Amos 3:3, God asks, “Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” The obvious answer is – No! Parents must make a commitment to search the Scriptures and read biblically based books that direct them to be in harmony. If parents are not in agreement, their children will skillfully manipulate to get their way.
5) Protect Your Children
In a culture that is infiltrated with humanistic thought, sexual immorality, ungodly media, pedophiles, and false teachers, to name but a few, it is absolutely essential that parents take responsibility for their children’s wellbeing. A major part of protection is to teach children truth so they will recognize lies that are seeking to take root in their hearts. Parents must have a fresh realization that it is not primarily the church’s responsibility to protect the mind or to train their child. It is their God ordained duty! Parents must shield their children by monitoring television, installing filters on internet, regulating and overseeing the use of cell phones, and reviewing books and materials that are used at school. Also, they must safeguard their children from a society filled with pedophiles by not allowing them to be alone with anyone (even friend or relative) they do not completely know or trust. Protection also includes training children to resist and report any improper touch.
6) Bless Your Children
The necessity of bestowing blessings is frequently overlooked. There are many children today who are desperately pleading like Esau, “Bless me, even me also, O my father” (Genesis 27:34). When mothers and fathers brought children to Jesus the disciples reprimanded these parents. But, Jesus immediately rebuked the disciples and encouraged the children to come to Him (Mark 10:13-16). To bless your child is to speak a message that attaches high value and pictures a special future for them with an active commitment as a parent to help them fulfill it. Make sure you take time to regularly bless each of your children.
7) Understand Your Child’s Greatest Need
Understanding your child’s greatest need begins with acknowledging their greatest problem. Their chief problem is they are born a sinner (Psalm 51:5). Your children did not enter this world pursuing God and His righteousness. They came as every person does; a self seeking sinner in need of a savior! A proclivity to sin drives their hearts and minds. The most urgent need of every child is regeneration through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Parents must discern whether their children actually have personal relationships with Jesus Christ. Do not just assume or take for granted that your child is a Christian. The new birth is evidenced in your child when you see his or her life, thinking, and behavior begin to revolve around Jesus Christ. New birth is recognized by its fruits, not by a decision. The most important fruit is a hunger for God. This is not to say that your child must exhibit the behavior and maturity of a seasoned Christian, but should show some evidence of genuine salvation.
8) The Father Should Lead in Parenting
One of the most critical needs in our culture is for fathers to take an active role in parenting their children. In Ephesians 6:4 Paul instructs fathers to not provoke their children to wrath, but to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. The Greek word for father used in this verse is “pater”. It literally means father, not parents. God specifically singled out the father to assume the primary active role in the discipline and instruction of his children. Of course, this does not discount or diminish the mother’s participation since she is in a one-flesh relationship with her husband and is to assist him in accomplishing this purpose.
As leaders of their homes, single parents assume the responsibility of following this command. As they face this crucial task, they must remember that they are not alone; the power of God resides within them. Good Christian books are also invaluable in strengthening them for this duty.
9) Train Your Children
Ephesians 6:1-3 commands children to do two things – to obey and honor their parents. The Bible promises a twofold blessing to those children who keep these two commands. The flip side is that parents must realize they are on a rescue mission to train their children to obey and give honor. That is, they must instruct their children so they will remain under God’s umbrella of blessing
Following the commands given to children, God specifically instructs the father in Ephesians 6:4. The father (with his wife’s assistance and cooperation) is commanded:
Let’s look briefly at each of these commands. In a general sense a father provokes his child to wrath or anger when he does not take on the God assigned responsibility to do what is stated in the rest of the verse. More specifically, some of the ways parents provoke a child to anger (means to enrage) include showing favoritism (Genesis 27:3-4), by discouraging them, by neglecting them, by hypocrisy, by continually degrading them, by excessive discipline, by a lack of love, by trying to make their child into what they wanted to be but could never achieve.
It is interesting that the Greek word “bring them up” is found in only one other place in the New Testament. Ephesians 5:29 uses the same word to instruct a husband to nourish his wife as he would his own body. To “bring up” or “nourish” pictures the atmosphere in which the discipline, chastening and instruction is given to the child. This atmosphere of nourishing conveys acceptance and continually offers affirmation of your love to them. It encourages fertile ground in the heart of the child to receive the nurture and admonition that you give to them.
Thirdly, you are to nurture the child. The word nurture is also translated as instruction (2 Timothy 3:16) and as chastening (Hebrews 12:5-11). It infers that you administer discipline to the child. While correcting the behavior of a child is necessary, the ultimate goal is to train the heart behind their behavior.
10) Teach Your Children to Reverence God
Perhaps one of the most overlooked, yet necessary keys to raising God honoring children, is teaching them to walk in the “fear” of God. Simply stated, inspire them to have both a fascination and awe for the majesty of God. The most vital aspect of this teaching is a thorough understanding of God’s attributes. Of course, it will be impossible for parents to train children to reverence God if they are not walking in the “fear” of God themselves.
photo credit: Winners Chapel
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