Being a father myself, this seemed like an easy thing for me to preach about. It’s really not.
How hard can it be? Have kids, be a Godly parent. Raise them right, show them how to be an adult. Should be easy right?
You see, most men, in fact, almost all men can father a child and most women can bear children, it seems to be a bit more difficult to be a Godly parent.
Let’s see what Scripture says we need to do:
1: First we have to love your children. It’s easy to love right? Feel good, do what your children want, give them what they need, be nice. If only it was that easy.
Love isn’t a feeling, we’ve had that preached to us so many times. Love is not what I feel, but what I do. When we love our children as God intended, there are things we do that just don’t fit in with what the world views as love.
We must be gentle and nourishing.
1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 (NKJV) 7 But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. 8 So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.
We must be long-suffering, knowing that our children our going to try our patience. Children don’t just “get it” they have to be taught, nurtured, brought up. Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV) 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
We must be kind: 1 Corinthians 13:-8 (NKJV) 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. […]
Our love must be unconditional, we can’t love our children only when they are good, or only when they are obedient. Tempting, but so wrong. Romans 5:8 (NKJV) 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
We must meet the needs of our children: 2 Corinthians 12:14-15 (NIV) 14 Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15 So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less?
2) Second, we have to teach our children:
Train them, teach them, show them: Children need to be taught every day about God. Let God’s word sink into them, inundate them with God’s laws until they’re sick of hearing it…and then speak it some more.
Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV) 6 Train up a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Paul talks about being a parent in quite a few of his letters.
1 Corinthians 4:14-21 (NKJV) 14 I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. 15 For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me. 17 For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church. 18 Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. 20 For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power. 21 What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?
Paul speaks of the church in Corinth as being “begotten through the gospel.” Have we done this for our children? Do our children know the gospel as well as they know math, or spelling or the rules for kickball? Have we done everything we should to teach our children about God?
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NLT) 4 “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Have we committed wholeheartedly to God? Do we repeat God’s laws to our children again and again? Even if we do, children do what we do, not what we say. Which brings us to our third point:
3) We must lead our children by example:
1 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me.
How many of us want our children to be just like us? How many times have we caught ourselves doing something that we would never want our children to do? Do we lose our temper when someone cuts us of in traffic? Do we seek revenge when someone treats us wrong? Do we try to get a discount for “8 and under” at Golden Corral? God tells us about bad examples in scripture:
2 Chronicles 30:7 (NKJV) And do not be like your fathers and your brethren, who trespassed against the Lord God of their fathers, so that He gave them up to desolation, as you see.
Psalm 78:8 (NKJV) And may not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not set its heart aright, and whose spirit was not faithful to God.
Zechariah 1:4 (NKJV) “Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets preached, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deeds.” ’ But they did not hear nor heed Me,” says the Lord.
Don’t be the parent God warns us about, be Paul, exhort your children to imitate you. When we imitate Christ, our children can imitate us and we can be happy about it and not embarrassed or ashamed.
4) Admonish your children:
When we are disciplining our children, how many times have we heard the phrase “because I said so!”? I think as we get older we use that term more freely, but we have to remember that God’s word is the best way to correct our children. When we admonish our children, do it in a Godly manner, not provoking them or berating them or nagging them. If we use scripture to correct our children, they have no room for argument since they aren’t arguing with us, but with God.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV) 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Ephesians 6:4 (NKJV) And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
5) Discipline your children:
I’ve heard so many parents say “I just don’t know what to do with them” or “they don’t listen to me” or “what am I supposed to do?” God covers that:
Proverbs 13:24 (NKJV) He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.
Proverbs 22:15 (NKJV) Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him.
Proverbs 23:13 (NKJV) Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.
Proverbs 29:15 (NKJV)15 The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
God says in Proverbs 1:7 (NKJV) The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Do we fear God? I do, Christ says:
Matthew 10:28 (NKJV) And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
That scares me, I don’t want to spend eternity in hell, and I am absolutely sure that God will do exactly what He says He is going to do.
Do our children know that we will do what we say we are going to do? What happens when we fail to correct our children is that they lose respect for us. Children who have no fear of punishment also have no respect for the person meting out the punishment. I’ve seen a quote on the internet: “Everything in the modern home is controlled by switches, except the children.” Are we ineffective in our discipline? Do our children know and understand the consequences of their actions? Is our discipline fair or do we lash out when we are in a bad mood, or take out our frustrations with others on our children?
In conclusion: when we are raising our children, we must love them, teach them, lead them, admonish them and discipline them. All of this with the word of God, not driving them crazy or berating them or nagging them, bringing them up rooted and grounded in the word of God knowing that the most important thing is to know the gospel.
Ephesians 3:14-21 (NKJV)
14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father [a]of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.