Raising Children to Please God – A Parenting Course in 18 Chapters
Early morning devotion time, before breakfast.
Chapter 1 – Foundations from the Bible
The Bible makes it clear that it is the parents’ responsibility to bring up their children with love and discipline, and to know the Lord. It is important that the heart of a child is trained for Godliness, and not just outward obedience. This will mean that as a child grows into teenage years, its motive for being good will come out of a love for Jesus.
Deuteronomy 6.1-9 v5 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
v6 “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.”
v7 “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
v9 “Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
Raising children is something parents do together with God. Praying for their children should be their first priority as it is only God who can bring souls to Himself. It is only He that can bring rebirth.
The character of God is reflected in His law, and the child should see that in the home the Bible has the place of final authority on all of life.
2 Timothy 3.16-17 “All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Creation was subjected to frustration
God created man in His own image so that man is above the animals, and can communicate with God, by God’s Holy Spirit within man’s spirit.
Genesis 1.26 “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, ..”
Man from birth has a natural tendency to sin. Sin is an attitude of mind and a behaviour that is directly opposed to what God requires.
Romans 3.23 “… ,for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Unless a soul is trained in righteousness, accepts the blood of Christ as the only remedy for sin, and is born again by the Spirit of God, man has no communication with God. The result of man’s sin is death.
“The wages of sin is death” Romans 6.23. However the reward of raising a child on Biblical principles comes when the parents see the child accept those principles as their own and take the Lord Jesus Christ into their own heart as Lord and Saviour. This can take place as early as four or five years of age.
Because the Bible says that man is born sinful —
Psalm 51.5 “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” — training by the parent must begin at birth.
For the first years the parent will be exercising self-control for the child — being the child’s conscience, and by this way, the child is being trained to act in a way that pleases God. For example, when it is time for baby to be sleeping, mother can place a gentle hand on baby’s back and sing to it, letting baby know quite firmly that it is time for baby to be sleeping. There may well be times of resistance at first, but it isn’t long before the baby understands what is required and will fall asleep, secure within the guidelines the mother and the father are laying down for its behaviour.
This soon leads to children thinking in a way that pleases God. A child left to grow up without limitations put on its activity will be insecure and discontent, and only bring that misery into the lives of others.
Parents must make sure that they are drawing upon the wisdom of God that is given as one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and not training their child as a compensation for the way they were brought up.
James 1:5-6. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously without finding fault.”
For example, a parent whose childhood was unhappy because of little or no discipline – permissive parenting – will often bring their child(ren) up very strictly — authoritarian parenting. The reverse is also true. Parents brought up under very restrictive methods will tend to go too far the other way and be permissive. God enables us to be free from the mistakes of the past. He wants us to honour our parents, but bring only from the past that which was Godly.
It is helpful for a couple to make a family tree together, and talk and pray over each branch, giving thanks for that which was Godly, and asking God to cover with the precious blood of Christ, that which was not good.
Also the child needs to see that the Biblical ethics that are used to train him are the same ones the parents apply to themselves. This is sincerity.
As you look over a family tree you will notice that in most cases there will be examples of parenting that was at one or other of two extremes.
Here the parents are more concerned with outward conformity, restraining evil, and often so the child can be fitted into a social or religious pattern, or worse still, getting the children “out of the way”. “A child should be seen and not heard”, was a frequently heard remark. This had no thought of introducing the child to the grace of God that enables us to triumph over our weaknesses, but just used the fear of punishment to obtain obedience. This has often led to a child leaving home, and “going off the rails” — the heart had not been trained.
Titus 2:11-14. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope — the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.” This is one passage of scripture well worth learning off by heart.
The opposite of this is possibly worse and that is —
Here the parents avoid, where possible, all confrontation of bad behaviour, and pride themselves in being very tolerant. The child gets its own way right from an early age, and the result is a spoilt ungrateful teenager, and eventually a very selfish adult.
2 Timothy 3:1-5. “There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ….”
Biblical parenting is not only training a child to God’s standard, but introducing the child to the source of grace that makes such a standard possible. To expect a child to meet God’s standard without this grace will quickly lead to legalism, and in the long term, a bitter teenager. That grace — God’s enabling strength — is found in our Lord Jesus.
Prepare a family tree, pray over it, and explain it to your children.