I’m a mom. On most days my kids can be the sweetest, cutest little sinners, and on other days they are just sinners. We skip all the other adjectives. I love my children. There was a time when they came before my husband and God, and they knew it!
Children are blessings, but they are sinners just like you and me. So, how can we raise godly children? What can we do to ensure our children become saved?
My children’s salvation was a huge focus for me when I was a false convert. I prayed the sinner’s prayer over them and used fear tactics to persuade them to believe in Jesus Christ. I wanted them to know that the opposite of spending eternity with Jesus is not a place you want to be. However, all those tactics didn’t work.
The first thing I had to realize was that I CAN NOT ASSURE THAT MY CHILDREN WILL BE SAVED. That was hard for me to hear. I had all sorts of objections for that. But, we’re their parents! We know their hearts, we know they mean well, and that they love God. Doesn’t matter. No one on this earth can assure us that we are saved, and assuring our children's salvation is no different. What we can do is guide them and direct them to the Lord. The Lord must work in the believer’s heart. I know a few brothers and sisters in Christ who raised their children to be believers, and their children are no longer walking with The Lord. Some of those kids live an alternative lifestyle; some have become part of false religions (Mormons, Muslim). Parents can then place the blame on themselves and think about where they went wrong. They may question why their child is not following the path they’ve set out for them.
But I challenge you to think about yourself. Were you raised in a Christ-centered home? Did your parents teach you the gospel? Did you do things that upset your parents? Did you engage in behaviors that they taught against? Behaviors that grieved The Holy Spirit? If you were raised in a Christ-centered home I can almost guarantee that you’ve disobeyed your parents and didn’t follow their biblical teachings. Was that the fault of your parents? No, of course not. While we want to take ownership of our children’s salvation, we simply can’t.
However, children do follow our lead. Their decision-making mainly comes from us. When we make good decisions, when we consult the Lord first in our lives, our children will as well.
All too often our homes are designed to accommodate our kids. And I don’t think there is necessarily anything wrong with that to a degree. But when the home is centered around kids, we have a problem.
I knew a family who had a home like that. The kids (ages 2-8) dictated bedtimes (“We kind of let them pass out when they are ready”), what was for dinner (“They want to eat ice cream for dinner every night!”), weekend plans, and other aspects of life! We live in an age where life is all about freedom. Just look at the news! How many times do you see a celebrity or someone else saying they are going to let their child decide their sexual orientation? That will be a post for a different day. 😊
I saw a cute picture the other day with a famous caption: “She believed she could, so she did.” In the picture there was a sweet little girl with a forlorn face and her parents held a paper that read, “And because she did, she is now in time out.” I love that picture! Discipline is love. Parents should discipline in love.
I call my husband the “Lecture King”. He talks to the kids and tries to help them understand why the decision they made is not okay. Sure, he gets frustrated but when he disciplines it is out of love. Proverbs 19:18 “Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.” Do not use fear to make your children submit. I know adults that grew up in homes like that. They are lost and resentful. Don’t provoke your kids to anger or try to get a rise out of them. It saddens me to see parents embarrassing their kids on social media or seeing fathers provoking their sons to anger in order to make them “hard.” Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Be more concerned with their holiness rather than their happiness. I care more about my kids knowing that I love them and care less about them liking me. We are to exert love over our children. We need to be intentional in how we raise our children. Without discipline we set our kids up for failure.
When we read the Bible at home we have the kids read it out loud. How easy is it for us to go through scripture as their parents and tell them what it means? I challenge you to encourage them to read scripture for themselves. They can’t have a relationship with God solely based on what we tell them. Here son, read this and tell me what God's word says. I teach my kids that when we go to face judgment it won’t be as a group. They will go alone, and I will go alone. My son or daughter will be held accountable as I will be. I can’t be responsible for their salvation.
I am not overly concerned with the accolades my children receive. Sure, I enjoy watching them play the sports they love, or going to see them perform in plays! I enjoy seeing them smile and enjoying what they are doing but it is not more important than their salvation. Their salvation comes before their success. When I pray for my children I pray for their future spouse. I pray that my sweet daughters will honor their bodies unto Christ. I pray they will marry a man who puts God first and will lead their family. When I pray for my wild but tender-hearted boys, I pray that they will be God fearing men who honor their wives. I pray that they won’t be tyrants but will be firm and loving.
Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”
Ephesians 5:22 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word...”
And I pray for their salvation. Nothing is more important to me than where they will go when they depart this earth. I know that I can’t control it, and there is a possibility that my kids will become people of this world but as their parent I will always direct them towards Jesus. They need to hear the word of God so they can know who God is. How can they love and worship God if they do not know Him?