FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT CHRISTIAN PARENTING
Culled from ‘BRIDGING THE ADULT-YOUTH GAP’ by Deji and Jadesola Adepeju
GOD DESIRES GODLY CHILDREN:
“Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his? And what does he want? Godly offspring from your union”.
(MALACHI 2:15a NLT)
The Almighty God is interested in children being godly. That is one of the reasons why marriage was instituted, it is not only for the enjoyment of having a spouse, but is also meant to be a platform to train children into godliness. This is reflected further in Gods’ statement about why Abraham was favoured.
For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
(GENESIS 18:19 KJV)
When God sees a man who is ready to train his children in His way, God becomes eager to send him every necessary help to achieve his dreams. But, the challenge is that not everyone is willing to train his or her children in the ways of the Lord, or more clearly put, not everyone is interested in Christian parenting.
- WHAT CHRISTIAN PARENTING IS:
Christian parenting is a parenting style that says “I want to train my children in such a way that they will fulfill God’s purpose for their lives”. That is, when they grow up; their priority will be to do God’s bidding. This can only be achieved if we are able to bring up our children to be like Christ in their thoughts and actions. Christian parenting is the realisation that your children are not owned by you, but owned by God to the extent that your desire for them becomes secondary while God’s desire for them becomes the primary one. It is a willingness to let go of your own desires such that God’s desire over them takes priority. But not all parents are willing to pay this price.
WHO CAN DO CHRISTIAN PARENTING?:
Abraham could command his children to follow God’s commandment because he knew God. The basic qualification anyone may need is that he or she has a personal relationship with God. You cannot give what you do not have; you cannot train your children in the way of the Lord if you do not know the Lord yourself. But we will not take knowing the Lord to be a difficult issue because God himself is willing to be known by us. All God needs is for us to desire to know him or to seek him, and he will reveal himself to us. But let us look at the steps to knowing God.
The starting point is to believe that God exists and that He wants the best for you. The Bible makes us to know that God has good plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11). God is not the one that created the suffering and the evil we see all around.
YOUR INPUT IN PARENTING:
No matter how much you desire that your children turn out well through your parenting, your main contribution into their lives will come through the influence your life has on them. The outcomes of your influence on them are limited by two major realities viz the reality of who you are and the reality of the state of your heart.
The first reality that limits the outcome of your influence is the reality of who you are. You can never influence them beyond your strength of character and moral stamina; you cannot influence them beyond who you really are. However, it is difficult to sit as judge over one’s own life and conclude that one is not a good person. Fortunately, the content of the Bible is a mirror that shows who you really are. It possesses quiet divine power that sees through us and gives an honest judgment of our subtle secret intentions that may be obscure to us.
The second reality that limits the outcome of your influence is the state of your heart. Every person’s experiences over the years have planted things into his/her heart that control the temperature, taste and odour of words, attitudes and actions that flow out of our lives. Our moral fibre and character are helplessly at the mercy of the contents of our heart.
“For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”
(MARK 7:21-23. NLT)
We were all born with a soul sickness that gives rise to the moral weakness that is in-born in every man but it is revealed in different measures depending on the circumstances that brings it out in every man. The spiritual name for it is “sin” or sinful (human) nature. The only way out of this soul sickness is transformation through Jesus Christ. He has power over sin and gives new life, vigour and zest to human hearts. Where we are weak, He is strong and where humans sink, He walks on top of the situation triumphantly.
The beginning of transformation is to own up to God that we have moral weakness because of the nature of sin in our lives; we must accept and tell the Lord that we have sinned.
“If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.
(JOHN 9:41 NLT)
In order to experience transformation we must not only acknowledge our need for God’s help, we must accept God’s own solution through the death of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has paid the price for our sin through His death because the payment for sin is death (Romans 6:23). The fact that Jesus Christ rose again is a proof that He fully paid the debt of sin, otherwise, death would have held Him in the grave, but it is written;
But God released Him from the horrors of death and raised Him back to life, for death could not keep Him in its grip.
(ACTS 2:24 NLT)
All you need to do for the transforming power of Christ to enter your heart and change your life is talk to God and ask for it. You can pray the prayer below sincerely as a guide to help you as you make your request
“Almighty God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ, I realise I am a sinner, I have sinned against you in various ways, but now I repent of my sins. Please forgive me. I believe Jesus died on the cross and shed his blood as an offering for my sins and rose again as proof that my debt of sin has been fully paid. Let the blood of Jesus deliver me from my sinful nature. Make me a new person, sinless in your sight. Make me yours. I promise to obey you from now on, come and be my guide. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.”
If you prayed the prayer sincerely from your heart, you have started your life on a new platform; that is the platform of God’s mercy. God does not take that prayer lightly, you will discover that your desire for things that God does not approve of will go down, and you will be interested in things that God delights in. When this happens to you, do not struggle, just do the things that you know God approves of. When you do this, God will be more real to you. Obedience to God’s prompting in your heart brings God closer to You.
Having received the salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, you must be prepared to follow the principles outlined in his word in order for your children to turn out well.