Truth in Our Kids' Lives

      It still surprises me that, with how big and verbose the Bible is, it has relatively little to say about how Godly parents are called to raise kids. Sure, there’s a great verse on dealing with rebellious children that’s helpful, (Deut 21:18), if you want to go to jail that is. Seriously though, there are some solid general statements about conduct in the home in Ephesians 6 like “don’t provoke your children to anger” and such. Perhaps one of the best examples of parenting ever is found in Luke 15, the “Parable of the Prodigal Son.”

You really have to dig, though, for a clear “how to” manual on Christian Parenting. Personally, I would prefer to be able to point to a particular passage that gives the top 5 God-approved do’s and don’ts of parenting.  Where is God’s parenting book, 3 Ways to Raise a Messiah! or Christ: The Teenage Years? Can someone please show me the biblical passage that adequately prepares me for having “the talk” with my kids when they are at that age? How do I protect my kids' self-image and trust in their identity in Christ in a world that seems to be growing increasingly antithetical to a Christian Worldview? How do I raise my three sons to be strong, courageous, virtuous men of God when it feels as if there is a never-ending onslaught on the Biblical ideal of masculinity? How do I raise my daughter to be a strong, confident, God-honoring woman whose “worth is far above rubies” as the text puts it, in an oversexualized, over victimized, social media culture that is laying waste to the minds and ambitions of young women everywhere? Yes, I know it will all be ok as long as I keep my trust in Him....but speaking as an earthly parent, it would sure be nice for some examples of Joseph helping Jesus through puberty or Abraham doing something with Isaac besides almost slaughtering him like a fattened calf!

Now granted, being a Bible nerd, I can throw out a pastor flex and just say that the whole Bible teaches us how to raise our kids. The entirety of Scripture is really the story of a Father (God) loving and raising His children (Us), rescuing them when they’re in trouble (Jesus/Cross), guiding them as they grow (Holy Spirit/Sanctification), and providing for their inheritance (Heaven). Every passage informs our mind, feeds our souls, nourishes our spirit, and helps us to grow more like God, the Perfect Parent!

If I really had to boil it down though, there is one main passage that I feel sets our mandate as Christian parents, uncles/aunts, mentors, teachers and leaders:
“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deuteronomy 11:18-19)

The first part is straightforward enough, basically telling us to know God’s Word, His Commands, His Ways. We’re called to put them in our hearts and souls. Sometimes easier said than done, but I think we can all agree we could do a better job of really knowing and memorizing the truth of God’s Word.

The second part is trickier...we’re called to teach all of these things to our children every chance we get. Not just as a lecture but as a way of life. Letting every moment become an opportunity for showing, not just telling, our kids how to live as a Christian in this world. You’d be shocked how many Christian kids, youth and adults I’ve talked to over the years who can’t tell me about their parents’ faith, even though they know they were Christians! They saw them read the Bible, but they never saw how they applied it to their everyday life. They saw them go to Church and morning prayer, but they didn’t know their parent’s testimonies. They saw them serve in various ministries, but they didn’t know how, when or even if God spoke to their parents, unless of course it came in the form of a parental rebuke or lecture against their behavior as children.

The good news is that you can change that! Let the Holy Spirit guide and direct you as you seek to be an embodiment of His truth in the midst of your kids’ lives. I know that can seem daunting, but it’s the greatest gift we can give our kids. Be honest and transparent with them about what faith means to you. Share your struggles with them (with discretion). Live out forgiveness both in giving and receiving it! Let your kids see what a Godly marriage looks like! Let them see struggle and reconciliation! No amount of worldly influence can compete with the power of God’s Word lived out through your life as an example to them!

Lastly, don’t forget, God is always there to lovingly parent you, His dear child, as you faithfully parent your loved ones.

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