The purpose of this article is not about me, or my children, but in some sense it is about me and my children. The whole summation of this begins with a question. What is the purpose of children? Why do we have them? How many times have you heard it said, “why would I want to bring children into this world?” The inference is that the world is so incredibly evil that I wouldn’t want to have my children suffer the consequences.
But the reality is a focus on self. Those of us that steward children realize that it’s hard work. There is rarely a time for a “break”. Even in the middle of the night there are bad dreams, or illness and countless other issues. So why bother? I guess it depends on the camp you reside, and if that camp is Christianity, then the way you raise your children speaks volumes about your life. Quick disclaimer: my children are as bad as yours, and I have the same problems raising them that you do, so this is not an article that claims I’m the model of parenthood. Lord knows my daily failures. This article hopes to encourage, and to spur the believer on to love and good works.
I’ve written on Psalm 127 before, and it always bears repeating… Children are a blessing, children are a heritage from the Lord, and children are to be raised to perpetuate the gospel. They are to be trained and they are to be sharpened that they might be sent out into the world to be arrows, to pierce through the hearts of sinful man with the sword of the gospel. That is obvious, and notice that this Psalm begins with this little phrase, “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it…” – Psalm 127:1
If you are not raising your children for the glory of God, if you are not allowing the Lord to build the house, you are laboring in vain, and I suppose you have not considered this verse, and possibly your eternal standing before God. I hope you will give that consideration today if that is your situation.
For those that desire to raise children to the glory of God it’s important to think about those children as a testimony to our lives. The children you nurture in your home are speaking loudly to the world around you. I have several examples from my own life, and I only desire to talk about those to point people to Christ, not to say what a great parent I am. Jesus said that wisdom is justified by her children, and this means that our salvation becomes evident to all by the fruit that is produced through our lives. Our children bear witness to our lives.
The biggest question that a Christian can and should ask themselves is do your children look different than the rest of the world, or do they blend quite nicely? I’m not necessarily a proponent of our girls wearing matching calico print dresses with little napkins on their heads to be different, but how they act and the message they give out when they are around other people speaks about the training they receive in the home. We certainly don’t have to go very far to see how the world justifies her children. It’s pretty obvious that a kid will have their head stuck in their cell phone, and they can’t engage an adult in much more than a one word answer. They are a rebellious sort, with a sarcastic look on their face. Of course not all of them, because we also get the outwardly compliant child.
This also is a danger, that we raise them to be well behaved. We train them to be counter-cultural only in their external actions. We can train them for our own benefit. To be different, for sure, but it is training in self-righteousness. They can justify themselves through their “good” actions, when inside they are dead men’s bones. It’s a virtual mine-field of parenting to know which side to land on. The bible makes no absolute promises that the children of believing parents will become believers, although I know some groups that try and claim that. I don’t fall into that camp, and I realize from conception my children are hostile to God. They come out of the womb sinners, and I must present the law and the gospel to them and trust in God’s mercy for their souls.
However, when I disciple my children to the glory of God, they will look different. There is just no other way around it. They will be a testimony to the change in my heart, wrought by God. Are we different because we are home-schoolers, or because we attend a certain church? Yes, but that is not the point. The point is to raise your children to see their need for Christ. It always comes back to man’s greatest need is for salvation in His name. He came to seek and save the lost, and for those that have no understanding of their “lostness” then He is not worthy of their pursuits. He must be the greatest treasure, the pearl of great value.
That is the point. That is why we, that call ourselves Christians, must train and disciple our children. We must do so with great effort. All day, every day.
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. – Deuteronomy 6:7