Christian parenting is hard. It’s complex. It’s also crucial if you want your children to grow up to be faithful, productive Christians. What if there were a way to simplify it a bit and know what you needed to focus on the most? It’s possible, but first, we need to define the type of Christian we want our children to be.
Is your goal to have children who identify themselves as Christian, believe in God, are nice and attend worship service a few times a year? Is your goal for them to attend church most of the time as adults, give money to their church and help with one of the ministry chores in their congregation? Or is your goal to raise a child who passionately lives his or her faith as an adult – obeying God’s commands and principles, worshipping God at church and in life, fellowshipping with Christians, serving others and sharing their faith daily? I believe God wants your children to grow up to not just believe in Him and be nice people, but truly model their lives to be like the life of Jesus – daily worshipping, studying, praying, obeying, serving others and sharing their faith.
Sounds great, but how do we get there? Our minister’s message this week wasn’t about parenting, but I think his points also work well as we Christian parent our children. Your kids are going to be involved in spiritual warfare. In order to get to Heaven and take as many with them as possible (making the world a better place in the process), they will need you to help them in three basic areas.
- Preparation. They can’t live the life God wants them to live if they have no idea what that is. They can’t defeat Satan when tempted by quoting scripture (like Jesus did when tempted) if they don’t know any scripture. They can’t serve others and share their faith effectively if they don’t even know what they believe. Your job in this area is to prepare them as well as you possibly can. If you were sending your child into a dangerous situation and wanted them to return unharmed, you would do anything and everything possible to make sure they were prepared. The battle for their souls has eternal consequences and you should be just as passionate about making sure they are prepared for it.
- Purpose. Do your kids know their purpose on Earth? Many young people struggle because they have no sense of purpose or meaning in their lives. The Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20 is a good place to start. The New Testament is filled with commands and principles God gives Christians that help build an understanding of our meaning and purpose on Earth and how we are to think, speak and behave to be able to most fully reach those goals.
- People. The people with whom we spend the most time impact us in lots of ways. Your kids can’t isolate themselves from people who aren’t Christian or never sin, because they wouldn’t have anyone to spend time with during their lives. Especially when they are young, however, they should spend the majority of their time with people who encourage them to obey God – whether or not they have the same beliefs. They should look for friends who help them be the best that they can be. Your children will be kind to, serve and teach others who are struggling, but their faith isn’t strong enough to weather having those people as their best friends. Even as adults – when they may spend much of their day ministering to others, they still need to have a core group of friends who are strong Christians and will not only encourage them, but also hold them accountable.
That’s it. Christian parenting boils down to three basic areas – preparation, purpose and people. If you help your children well in those three areas, they will very likely be faithful, productive Christians as adults.