As a Christian parent and now a grandparent, I’ve gleaned wisdom from God’s Word and years of experience allowing me to share a few things about parenting. My goal is for children to know, love and glorify the Lord as they follow the example of their parents. Let me say, that Cheri and I made our fair share of mistakes and I don’t want any of you to repeat them. If I had to pick something that we did right, with God’s help of course, we loved the Lord and we loved one another and we were closely knitted in the fabric of our local church.
Let’s review Matthew 19:13-15 as we examine what it means to “let the little children come to me.” In these few words we can learn a lot about parenting. MT 19:13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, 14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.
So now, let’s talk about putting this verse into practice by discussing two questions.
First, how do you help your children and youth to “come to Jesus?”
- Introduce them to Jesus, teach them about Jesus, model how to have a relationship with Jesus and generally do whatever you can to assist them in growing in their faith.
- Live your faith in front of your children and teach them the Word as you go about your day (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).
- Instruct them about their identity—God created us in His image, male and female. (Genesis 1:27)
- Involve your children in fellowship in the church, in corporate worship, in serving and in learning about Jesus along with other children (Hebrews 10:25). In essence, teach them from a young age to “be the church” in their devotion (Acts 2:42) and carrying out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8) instead of just attending.
- Consider children and youth ministry as critically important. You need a strong community of believers involved in the discipleship of your children.
Second, what “hinders” children and youth from coming to Jesus?
- Harsh and angry parenting (Colossians 3:21, Ephesians 6:4). Instead, learn how to walk in the Spirit as you parent your children (Galatians 5:25).
- Treating your child like they’re the center of the universe. Instead, teach and show them that Jesus is the center of the universe (Revelation 17:14, 22:13; Matthew 28:18).
- Displaying poor behavior, attitudes. Instead, you have to learn to follow Jesus so your kids know how to follow Jesus (2 Timothy 2:1-2). Teach them by telling them what, telling them why, show them, do it with them, let them do it, trust them to do it.
- Teaching them the wrong priorities. Instead, teach them that God comes first (Exodus 20:3).
- Sacrificing your children on the altar of sports, arts and entertainment (Matthew 22:36-40). This is growing problem and its growing like a plague. Granted, these things can offer a wonderful experience if they are given their proper place. Make sure you put sports, arts and entertainment secondary to worship, fellowship, discipleship, evangelism, prayer and serving.
Again, Cheri and I made our share of mistakes as parents and a few as grandparents, but if I had to choose something that we did right, with God’s help of course, we loved the Lord and we loved one another and we were closely knitted in the fabric of local church. I hope my experience and wisdom gleaned from scripture will guide you and encourage you. Remember this, first and foremost, love and obey Jesus and bring glory to His name in everything, including parenting.
A Work in Progress,