Updated: Mar 9
The Bible indicates that we all play an important role in raising godly children. While it is absolutely the job and priority of parents, every Christ-Follower is called to make disciples of Jesus. Whether you are a grandma, aunt, cousin, teacher, or neighbor, if there are any children in your life, you can use this information.
While our teen boys are resourceful, respectful, and responsible, I readily admit that we have done some things right and others wrong in raising them. Ultimately, we are just doing the best we can to follow what the Bible tells to do to make disciples of our children. But, our boys are who they are ALL because of the grace of God! While, I do not have all the answers in raising Godly children, here are some clear biblical principles that are crucial in doing so.
Who are you? Or, better phrased, WHOSE are you? Do you see yourself as first and foremost a child of God. Or as a Mother? How about a wife? Or a friend? Are you working for approval and recognition from someone? I wonder Who that is?
I moved to Las Vegas, NV in 1996 from Pittsburgh, PA to teach kindergarten. I didn’t yet know and love Jesus, so I threw myself 1000% into loving and teaching my students and their families for almost 10 years…when I started to burn out. My identity was all wrapped up in being a teacher, but THAT couldn’t sustain me.
Once I got pregnant with Gabe and had health issues that caused me to leave teaching, my identity quickly got caught up in being a Mama, but THAT couldn’t sustain me. When Gabe’s dad and I divorced and I had to go back to work, there was a time I didn’t really know WHO I was….and then I met Jesus!
It wasn’t an overnight transformation for me - God definitely used my husband to help once we got married when Gabe was three! However, having been a parent with and without Jesus, I can say that it’s much less exhausting now - because I am not relying on MY strength but that of the One who gives me strength!
SO, before we address Godly Parenting, we need to take a look into ourselves. If you are not ROOTED in these truths, you can’t possibly pass them on to your children - and isn’t that the goal?
Of course, everyone wants well-behaved children…but why do you?
To look good to others? To make your life easier? To make God proud of you? Or because God has called us to make disciples? So very often, who we are in Jesus becomes background noise! Like, yeah yeah yeah I know that, sure, sure. But, if we are not rooted in the truth of who our Creator says we are, then we are in grave danger of being easily swayed by what the world says we are not WHO WE ACTUALLY ARE!
“Oh look at her kids - SO well-behaved!” (PRIDEFULLY BEAMING) …
Or, “Ugh! Here come her boys!” (SHAMEFULLY SLUMPING)
SISTERS don’t you SEE: We are holy, beloved, blameless, justified, and redeemed
whether our kids “act right” or not!
If we allow our CHILDREN’s behavior to dictate WHO we are, we going to be tossed to and fro all the live long day! It’s our Father God Who gets to say who we are! And He Made us, and He Loves us and, In Christ, we are JUSTIFIED!
SO! Since, we know the truth of who we are! Remind yourselves of who you are in Jesus! Remind each other of who we are in Jesus so that we can stand firm and raise up our children in the teaching and discipline of the Lord! Don’t let this become background noise!
WE need to rest in this to be effective in helping our CHILDREN rest in this!
What is our responsibility as parents, then? If I asked you to rate your success as a mom by asking, “What do you think makes a successful mom?” We’d hear things like “Kids who are respectful…love Jesus…serve others, are kind, hard-working, etc.” But, did you know that our “success” as parents is NOT based on how well the CHILDREN behave...or do in school...or even what college/job they have? Our success is based on OUR faithfulness to what God has called US to do!
“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.” Deuteronomy 6:5-7
Do you know that our God is sovereign? To say He is Sovereign means there are NO limits to His rule over the whole world, and everything that happens in it. He is never helpless, never frustrated, never at a loss. You see, some of us were brought up in homes that never knew the Lord and yet here we are: God got ahold of us, we repented and turned to Him. Or some are brought up in homes that truly loved the Lord but they ended up turning away.
LISTEN: Our responsibility is to be faithful to what God has called us to even when it doesn’t make sense. Even when it seems like it’s not working. Even when our next-door neighbor who is not a Christ-follower has extremely obedient children who get straight A’s! Our success is not based on how good or bad our children act, our success as parents is based on following God‘s word.
God has given PARENTS the duty of raising our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We don’t get to delegate that duty to others. Although grandparents, aunts, teachers, friends, and neighbors can and should assist and walk alongside us, it is not THEIR ultimate responsibility– it’s ours!
We must involve ourselves in our children’s lives enough to ensure that no other influence takes precedence over US! We can’t blame the culture, social media, television, peers, or even teachers since WE are the ones who allowed any of those others to have more input into our children’s lives than us!
Now, we have this KNOWLEDGE, but is this knowledge leading to OBEDIENCE? WISDOM is knowing the right thing to do and then DOING THAT!
Are we showing our children with our CHOICES in media (movies, TV, computer/ phone sites where we spend our time) that we love GOD or the WORLD? Your kids are watching you!
Are we showing our children with our ACTIONS toward others that we love them and care about their needs or really only care about what others can do for us? (Saying nice things to their face, then going home and talking about them) Your kids are listening to you!
Are we showing our children that our WALK actually matches our TALK or do we only "talk the talk" but not walk that talk? Your kids are going to act like you.
Part of “Talking the Talk and Walking the Walk” comes in the form of DISCIPLINE! I know this can be a scary-sounding word, but remember that discipline actually means “to teach” and not “to punish.” Jesus took our punishment on the Cross! That is FINISHED. Our responsibility is to teach our children the Godly Way.
Hebrews 12:11 reads, "For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."
How our kids act does not define who we are - Good or Bad. However, WE DO HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY to train them up in nurture and teaching of the Lord…. In shorthand, this means if our kids are acting a fool - we need to let them know about it!
Look, no one ENJOYS disciplining their child! We LOVE these babies God has given us! It breaks our hearts when they can’t have what they want or they cry or they feel sad. And.…maybe, if we’re REALLY honest with ourselves, it’s simply EASIER for us at times to just give in to them then to deal with all the whining and fighting,
Don’t we WANT the peaceful fruit of righteousness for our kids?
I totally GET it! Before Jesus - and Tim - came along, I was a single mom and struggled with GUILT because I had to spend so much time away from Gabe. And I was TIRED. And angry. I didn’t WANT to be a single mom! I didn’t WANT to raise this kid alone - while working outside the home. It was a hard time. But, the more I learned about God, from His Word and from His Church, I learned that yeah, this is hard but suck it up, buttercup - and do the right thing!
I could’ve done things MY way - give in to Gabe when he was being a typical toddler (which was the easy way out and a way I took more than I wish I did) or - GET MY STRENGTH FROM THE LORD and set and maintain healthy limits and boundaries.
When Gabe was about seven, we were watching some videos together that I had taken when he was just two. It was really eye-opening for both of us because we both realized the trajectory he was on would have allowed him to develop into a self-centered, demanding, unloving human being! He watched those videos with me and said, “Mom, I-I’m so sorry! I didn’t know better!” We both repented to each other that day - for I was just as culpable for NOT teaching him in the way he should go!
God created men and women with specific roles AND created children to be obedient to their parents to respect and honor them. The fifth commandment tells us to “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” Paul tells us in Ephesians that this is the first Commandment with a promise.
PLEASE, I am telling you this out of love: WE ARE GETTING THIS ALL WRONG!
There are too many households in the church that revolve around the children!
Too many that are not teaching God’s absolute truth OR disciplining when their children disobey OR are dishonest or disrespectful.
Too many that allow children to have free reign to their hearts desire because you don’t wanna squash their precious self-esteem
How many of our homes don’t look much different from the homes of those who don’t know Christ?
There is something wrong with this! Please, hear my heart in this, I love you and if this is the situation you are in, you need help!
Whether we have allowed our homes to be child-centered rather than God-focused because we feel guilty that we’re spending time outside of the home or because we want to give our children more than we ever had or because it’s simply easier to give in then to take the time to actually discipline…it is OUR GOD-GIVEN RESPONSIBILITY as parents to discipline our children!
We were created to protect our children, and that means setting and maintaining limits on behaviors and actions. This is may be a hard pill to swallow for some of us who KNOW that we are letting our children be in charge or run over us and now we don’t know what to do! But it's not too late!!!
Your first step is to repent, knowing that IN CHRIST you are holy, beloved, blameless, justified, and redeemed! God is gracious and loving and will forgive you - He’s already forgiven you!
Your second step is to reach out for help! I can help you if you want assistance and how to re-organize your home according to God‘s design. We are the church and we are here to come alongside you!
What do our children ACTUALLY need? Well, Jesus, of course!
They need to know Who Jesus is and how Holy our God is and how they are sinners in need of a Savior. And just like how our responsibility to discipline them gets muddled by the influences of this world - “Oh they’re just kids! Let them be or else they’ll feel bad about themselves and that could damage their self esteem” 😳 We need to be more concerned with where our children stand in relationship with God and others rather than in their own self-esteem!
As a matter of fact, I will be so bold to say that I care very little about how my children view themselves and very much about how they view God & others!
In Romans 8:7-8 we read “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Our children need regeneration!
So what do we need to do to help them see this need? While only God can turn someone’s heart toward Him, it is no accident that the very children who have been put into our lives are there because God wants to work in and through us.
"Our children don’t need more activities or more friends or more things. They need YOU."
I am not saying that activities and things are BAD, but I am going to challenge you here: If your children are involved in activities, take a moment to actually add up all the hours in one week that you spend driving to and from the activity; being at the activity; practicing, shopping, or otherwise preparing for the activity…..Do you have a number? Now compare that number to the hours each week you spend in uninterrupted time with your family.
One-on-one time or family time, face-to-face talking time, eating at the table, playing games together, riding bikes or walking the dog together. Does it happen? Or are you in one room on your phone or doing laundry or cooking and they’re in another on the computer, watching TV, or on their phone?
I am not here to condemn you and your parenting, but to help you consider that if you want to raise Godly Kids, you need to follow a Godly plan! In John 3:17 - 18, it says that God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned.
Let us pray for our kids, for our obedience and theirs, and for strength to follow His Word in raising our children to love and seek the Lord!
#ConnectPointMoms helps you create stronger relational connections with the children in your life. This starts with being aware of your own stuff so you can BE PRESENT with your children in the moment you're in, and then knowing and using the best ways to communicate with them!
Three books that have helped along the way: