You just had a baby and you realized you had no idea what you were getting into! Perhaps you’ve been doing this parenting thing for a few years, but you’re just realizing how important what you’re doing is, and you’re feeling overwhelmed by the impossible task and responsibility of raising godly children.
Sometimes people say that children don’t come with an instruction manual, but as Christians, we do have one. It’s the Bible. There are many great godly principles in the Word of God about raising godly children, so I’d love to share some of these with you.
- How do You Raise a Godly Child?
- Characteristics of a Godly Child
- Tips for Raising Godly Children
- Raising Godly Children in an Ungodly World
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How do You Raise a Godly Child?
Raising a godly child is hard work and certainly can’t happen in your own strength. You will need God’s help every step of the way. In fact, you may do everything right and still have a child who walks away from God. However, hang in there. I’m not trying to be discouraging, but I want you to realize that your child becoming godly is ultimately between him and God.
That said, we are commanded to teach our children about God and His Word. Deuteronomy 6:6-8 is a classic passage that reminds us as Christian parents that we are to talk about God’s commands all the time. We are investing in the next generation. Our children need to know who God is, what He did, and what He requires of us. They need to fully understand the gospel of salvation.
Characteristics of a Godly Child
How will you know if you have a godly child? The Bible gives us a picture of the character development of a godly child. Know that your child will never be truly godly if he or she hasn’t placed her faith and trust in Jesus for salvation. Yes, they may do some of the right things, but it’s not good works that get us into heaven. I also do have to remind you that praying a prayer is not true salvation. True salvation comes from repentance of sinful behavior, trusting in Jesus for paying our penalty, and then following Christ. There will be a heart change.
I’d like to share a few indicators that are characteristics of a godly child . . . or anyone who is following Christ for that matter. In fact, you should see these character traits in your own life as well.
- They are growing in the fruit of the Spirit as mentioned in Galatians 5: 22-23. Teaching your kids the fruit of the Spirit would be beneficial.
- They are seeking to live in obedience both to you and to God.
- They have a heart for the things of God.
- They are sensitive to the work of the Holy Spirit in their life.
- They are becoming a new creation in Christ.
Tips for Raising Godly Children
As mentioned above, there are no guarantees when it comes to the salvation of your children. Ultimately, the Holy Spirit will do the work in their heart and draw them to Christ. However, there are many things you can do to help draw them toward Christ.
You will never be a perfect parent, but you are responsible for obeying and following Christ in your own life. As a Christian mom, that includes doing all that God has called you to do in regard to raising godly children. By doing your part, you are living in obedience to Christ as you seek to raise the next godly generation
Make the Bible a priority
Since the Bible is God’s Word to us, doesn’t it make sense that not only do we need to know it but our children need to know it as well? The Bible is the authority for absolute truth. In it, we will learn who God truly is, how He works, and how He wants us to live.
This world is full of lies that sound like maybe they make sense, but as our children learn God’s Word, they are better able to recognize those lies. Try using a family devotional at dinner time, or just spend time reading the Bible together as a family each evening. In my own experience, prioritizing family devotions gives you a great opportunity to teach your children the most important things and invest in their spiritual development.
Model true Christianity
Parents who actually walk the walk and don’t just talk the talk have a great influence on their children. I’ve heard this over and over in many different places. Our children need to see that we truly believe in what we’re teaching them by providing a good example. They need to see what it looks like in everyday life.
One big part of this is having your faith make a difference in your actions. Have your children help you as you serve in your church or community, bring a meal to a friend in need, or put together bags to give to the homeless. By helping, they can see how your faith is actually lived out.
Pray for your children
I think we often underestimate the power of prayer. Your children need your prayers. You can pray for their salvation, their protection, and their choices. You can pray scripture over your children, and pray for their future. There are many different ways we can keep our children in prayer. Your prayer life is so important.
Relationship over rules
It’s so easy as parents to “make” our children obey the rules. This makes us feel like we know what we’re doing and helps us look like good parents. However, we’ve all heard of the families who seem to have perfect children only to hear about the scandalous things those same children do as adults. Maybe you’ve heard the quote by Andy Stanley that says, “Rules without relationship leads to rebellion.”
If you don’t build a good relationship with each of your children, they will have no interest in listening to what you have to say when they no longer have to. Even if your adult children do choose to walk away from God, if you have built a solid relationship with them, they will be more likely to keep investing in their relationship with you. The good news is that this will allow you to continue to share your Christian values with them.
Train and discipline your children
Raising godly children takes an amazing amount of training and discipline. Christian children need to learn what’s right and wrong, how to interact with kindness and respect, and why they need to live with godly character and integrity. Teaching and training your children takes consistency and prioritization. By pointing them back to the Bible, your children will learn why you are teaching the things you are.
What does the Bible say about the role of a mother? To learn more about being a godly mother, check out these 10 characteristics of a good mother according to the Bible.
Teach your children spiritual disciplines
Spiritual disciplines are activities meant to help us grow in our relationship with God. Spiritual disciplines are things like prayer, Bible reading, Scripture memorization, fasting, etc. Teach your children that these activities will not make them a Christ follower, but are simply tools to help them grow spiritually. You will want to model these to your children as well.
Beware of ungodly influences
The “birds of a feather flock together” quote has a lot of truth to it. If your children are spending a lot of time with ungodly peers, they are more likely to start listening to them and doing the same things as them. Yes, your children do need to learn to live in and not of this world, but they need to be strong enough to do so. Their faith needs to be firmly their own before that happens.
You will also want to be watchful of influences such as movies, tv shows, music, video games, and books. Current cultural agendas sneak their way into all these things and begin to normalize things that the Bible calls sinful. Teach your children to make these choices on their own as well as they grow older. Help them to see that they need to honor God and not self.
Have a community
Do you know the quote about it taking a village to raise a child? Well, God truly designed us to live in community and there’s nothing quite like Christian families living in community. By being in a local church with other believers, you will have godly support and encouragement in the parenting journey. You can glean wisdom from older parents. You can provide friends for your children who will encourage them to do right instead of wrong. Your children will have other godly authority figures speaking God’s truth into them so they’re not just hearing it from you.
Teach your children apologetics
The Bible doesn’t tell you to teach your children apologetics, but 1 Peter 3:15 reminds us that we need to be able to give an answer for the hope that is in us. In our current culture with a high percentage of children walking away from the faith, it’s more important than ever for our children to know why they believe what they believe before they become an adult. In fact, the middle school years are when many kids start questioning their faith.
The book Mama Bear Apologetics is a great book to get you started. My children have really enjoyed Jonathan Park audio adventures, which solidify creation and the reliability of the Bible. Natasha Crain’s Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side is another book I highly recommend, along with So the Next Generation Will Know: Preparing Young Christians for a Challenging World by Sean McDowell.
If you have a high schooler, I highly recommend I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Frank Turek and Norman L. Geisler. My daughter read this last year and tells everyone they should read it. Frank Turek also has a podcast of the same name that is amazing!
Raising Godly Children in an Ungodly World
It’s certainly challenging to raise godly children in an ungodly world, but with God, you can do your part. No, you can’t guarantee your child’s salvation, but you can teach and train them in what true Christianity is. You can do your part in teaching them what God wants you to teach and pray that God works in their heart to draw them to Himself.
Which of these tips do you plan to implement? What is some advice you have for raising godly children? Please comment below.
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