The key to raising godly children is to first be a godly parent.
Don’t hear me saying you have to be perfect. Don’t hear me saying you have to make no mistakes.
DO hear me saying,
- your relationship with Jesus had better be authentic, not just something that you do on Sundays.
- It had better be something more than religious actions.
- It had better be more than moralistic teaching and corresponding rules.
- It must be an ongoing, vibrant, up-and-down-but-always-headed-upward RELATIONSHIP with Jesus.
Anything less will smell of hypocrisy, and it will absolutely stink in the nostrils of your children. You can’t fool them. They will know if you are a fake, and they will know if you really mean and live what you say.
The LORD has shown me this personally. I’ve seen the teachable, eager hearts of my children in response to my own honest struggles to know the LORD. And I’ve seen disinterested, doubtful responses when the churchy words coming out of my mouth don’t match the attitude of my heart.
What does it look like?
- Your children need to hear you talk about Jesus as if He is real to you… in the day to day circumstances of life.
- Your children need to hear you pray in a way that shows that you truly KNOW the Person you are talking with.
- Your children need to see your love for Jesus carried out in obvious ways – commitment to a local church, genuine worship, and a desire to honor Him in all you do.
- Your children need to know by your own devotion that prayer and Bible reading are not just “things you do,” but the lifeblood of your existence.
- Your children need to see you so absorbed by Jesus that they want to take part in something that is so obviously wonderful.
How to raise godly children
Begin with the last half of this post title. Start by considering the spiritual health of the pare nt(s) who raise your children. Here are some questions to help you begin…
- Do YOU love Jesus (the LORD your God) with all YOUR heart, all YOUR soul, all YOUR mind, and all YOUR strength? (Mark 12:30) Or is there something else (spouse, work, hobbies, money, etc.) that you love more?
- Do YOU love your neighbor (irritating co-worker, demanding boss, pesky neighbor, weird relative) as you love yourself? (Mark 12:31)
- Do YOU seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness? (Matthew 6:33) Or are you more concerned with bank accounts, life-insurance, retirement funds, and upward mobility?
- Do YOU set apart Christ as LORD in YOUR own heart? (1 Peter 3:15)
Start there. Go on by asking the Spirit of God to help you begin moving more diligently toward Him. Ask Him to GIVE you a heart that seeks Him first and foremost. He delights to answer those types of prayers.
Don’t even think about raising godly children if you are not first and genuinely seeking to be a godly parent.
Q: What do YOU need to do in order to move closer to Christ as a parent?