I came across this article and actually this is kind of what my column will be about this week. I hope you are blessed by it as I was:
Raising a Christian Child
As my wife and I lay here in a Hospital room, we wait patiently as the Lord creates His miracle within the womb of my wife. At night, I keep thinking to myself, "what makes a good father?". As a first time father, I go through all the butterflies and jitters that we all go through. My nightly prayer includes a prayer asking the Lord to make me a great parent. But what exactly makes a good parent?As parents, we all have set goals for ourselves. What goals do you have in parenting? Is your goal to ensure your kids' happiness? What about your kids safety; is it your goal to ensure that your child remains safe? Is it your goal that your child becomes intelligent?
All these goals are good goals, but they are not the right goals to have. Our main purpose as a parent is not to make our kids happy. Our main purpose as a parent is to make our children Godly. If we make our children a child of God, happiness will come with that dedication of faith. Safety will come with our children's acceptance of Christ. God will make our children successful if we believe in His word.
Now, before I get into how we can raise a child who is obedient to the Lord, it's first important to know that a child is just as much of a blessing to us as we are to that child. A child is a work of God himself.
The Bible tells us in Psalm 127:3 that "Children are a reward from the Lord".
Now when the Lord rewards you, isn't it our duty to give all the thanks to the Lord for that reward? So if the Lord rewards us with a child of our own, it is our duty to reward the Lord by raising our Children for Him.
In the world we live in today, it seems to get harder and harder to raise a child the Christian way. Many people aren't even sure how to go about raising a child for the Lord. However, when it comes to raising our child in a Christian home, we need to follow the Bibles Word. What ways can we bring Christ into our children's lives?
First and foremost, we need to teach our kids to love God.
Jesus tells us in Mark 12:30 that the greatest commandment of them all is to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength".
Our children need to see how much WE love the Lord! But it doesn't just stop with our visual love and praise we provide before our kids. Along with seeing our love for the Lord, our children need to hear us speak our Love to the Lord. Whether it be through family prayer, or through daily praises, our children need to hear us speaking our love and our praise to the Lord.
The Bible says in Deuteronomy 6:5-7 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up".
If we constantly showcase our joy to the Lord in front of our children; if we impress our love to the Lord on our children, they will begin loving the Lord themselves. Soon our children will begin praising the Lord with us, followed thereafter by our children praising the Lord on their own will. Our children need to see us praising the Lord regularly, and they need to hear us vocalizing our love for the Lord on a regular basis.
An important part of what I just stated lies in the last sentence... We need to vocalize our love for the Lord regularly. One big mistake I see parents doing is loving and praising the Lord on Sundays between 9am and 11am, but after church has let out, it's as if the Lord isn't there anymore. We need to live everyday for the Lord, not just Sundays.
Parents need not forget what Proverbs 15:3 states. It states that "the eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch over the wicked and the good".
We need to be good examples to our children, letting them know that we live everyday as if the Lord is watching us - because our Lord is all knowing, and He is always keeping watch over His children. The fire that burns for the Lord in church needs to be burning 7 days a week, not just Sundays. Shouldn't we worship our Lord with every breath He provides us? If we live everyday for the Lord, our children will follow in His steps as well. If we are teaching our kids to walk the walk, we too need to be following in those footsteps. We are planting a seed for our children, and it is our duty as a parent to sow the seed in order for it to grow into good fruit! If we show our children that the Holy Spirit lives within us, then our children will open their hearts so that the Holy Spirit can live inside of them! Our children will want to experience that same joy the Holy Spirit is placing within our lives.
Now when we are raising our children, it is important for us not to anger our children. Angering our children will just drive them away. Now let me make it clear, angering your children is not saying no to discipline - we will get into discipline in a second. When I say don't anger your children, what I mean is this... Don't make promises to your children if you don't intend to keep them. Children hold on to our promises with their lives it seems. When we make promises to our kids, we need to keep those promises, just as the Lord has kept His promises with His children. Never go against your word, or else your kids may begin piling up grudges - and once grudges come into a parent/child relationship, it opens the door for Satan to come in a rip apart that relationship.
The single most important thing that we as parents need to do, however, in order to keep a child Godly is to incorporate discipline into their lives. Now I don't mean beat your children to where it leaves marks. Disciplining our children and abusing our children are two very different things. Discipline is backed by love, and it is very Biblical. Disciplining your child should not leave physical marks on their bodies.
Before we get into what the Bible tells us about disciplining our children, let's look at the word Discipline. The heart of the word discipline is disciple. Discipline simply means "instructions given to a disciple". Disciple means "one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another". If we are wanting our children to be a Disciple of Christ, we must incorporate discipline - because through discipline comes obedience and a respect of authority.
The Bible tells us in many places that disciplining our children is key in developing them into God Loving children.
In Proverbs 3:11-12 the Bible says "My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father a son he delights in". You see, disciplining your children is not about showing them that you are the boss - its about showing them that you love them. If you delight in your children, you will discipline them when it calls for it.
Lets look at a few more verses. Proverbs 22:15 tells us that "folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him".
Growing up, the rod of discipline my father used on me was a belt (and to be honest, after getting the few belt spankings I have received in my life, I learned the difference between what was right and what was wrong). One key thing my father always did after giving me a good understanding of what a belt felt like was telling me that he loved me. You see, my father hated disciplining me, but it was done because he loved me. Whenever I received a spanking, it was followed by a hug. Disciplining your children is not something parents enjoy doing, but it helps develop our children into Godly human beings. Discipline teaches us to respect authority. One thing I know is that through the discipline I received grew a respect for my father, and through that discipline grew a love for the Lord. I knew after receiving a belt that I didn't want to receive a spanking again, and I learned that in order to avoid getting disciplined, I would need to live a Godly life.
The Bible says in Hebrews 12:8-11 that "If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.
Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it". This verse is so true. Discipline isn't supposed to be pleasant, and in fact could be occasionally painful. But later on, that discipline that we received will produce a harvest of righteousness.
Having a child is a blessing that is given to us by the Lord most High! What better way to give thanks to the Lord than by raising our children to love the Lord, and to live for Him. As parents, we must live in a way that makes our kids Godly. We much teach our kids to Love the Lord. We must make our homes feel like a church environment 7 days a week, not limit our teachings of the Lord to just the times we physically go to church. We must never anger our children with broken promises and lies. We must also discipline our children when it calls for it. Lastly, we must always read the Word to our children. Through these steps, we will raise our children to be disciples and followers of our Lord.
Written by Chad Cartledge, founder of the World-4-Christ Ministry