–Lots of love. But remember that love without rules is just indulgence and will spoil and ruin.
–Lots of training and discipline. But remember that discipline without loving care will breed a cold resentment. Fathers, you must take the lead on this. You may not sit back on the couch with controller in hand and let the wife do the training. It’s your job, so do it.
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).
This means you will teach by word and deed. You will be watching the manners and the habits of your children always being ready for every opportunity to teach.
“9Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to
them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:9-11).
–Lots of honesty. Remember that parents are never perfect and they shouldn’t ever defend being wrong. Children will grow to reject a hypocritical message.
Matthew 7:3-5 says, “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Parents must be honest and sincere in their own lives or else the children will turn away.
RAISING CHILDREN TO BE CHRISTIAN ADULTS TAKES A PARTICULAR ATTITUDE
I want to suggest that parents must have the mental mindset that the gates of hell will not prevail against me in my effort to bring my children to walk with Jesus Christ. I mean that parents have to have a war-like attitude that the devil and his workers will not be allowed a foot in the door. Parents will control the environment their children grow up in. This means you will monitor movies. You will monitor friends. You will monitor music and you will monitor games. Any weakness in resolve will be the opening that the devil and the world takes to get to your children’s souls.
It’s true, children have free will. They in the end will answer for their choices. But it’s also true that parents play a part in that. When children are already moving away from God by the time they reach their early teens, that’s not free will. That’s a lack of guidance by the parents. Children should not be living in rebellion against their parents, not in actions and not in spirit, when they are teens.
“6but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).
“Over my dead body.” We have heard the term and we understand the resolve someone has when they say it. I don’t mean that mere words are going to do anything. But moms and dads, when they put their mind to something, exercise the will to make their children move forward in the right direction. It’s what the parents will talk about. It’s what all of their dreams are wrapped up in. It’s what is a perennial topic and goal. The children see the rightness of it. The children adopt it as their own. I believe it takes this kind of mental and spiritual fortitude to bring all of the children to the place of walking in God’s grace.
The failure to train and discipline and protect our children’s souls will have a huge impact on the direction the children go. We can choose to think about the possibility that our children may go astray, but why do it? A runner only wins the race when he pushes aside all thoughts of losing. A boxer must box so as not to beat the air. We must run the Christian parenting race so as to win and this means no excuses. It’s on me as the parent. And so I accept no excuses. So let’s focus on that instead of focusing on a justification for when they reject God.