According to a survey of more than 5000 parents in 16 countries by the investment bank HSBC, the main thing parents want for their children is happiness. Parents also want their children to become successful, be safe, embrace a healthy lifestyle, be responsible, and have a great career.
What do you want for your child or children?
Do you want what God wants? Are you parenting with the end in mind?
God wants children to come to Him (cf. Matthew 19:14). If God wants children to come to Him, then the main thing Christian parents should want for their children is a vibrant relationship with Jesus.
Consider this verse: “Jesus Christ … gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” Titus 2:13-14.
Note the phrase, “that are his very own.” Jesus wants children who are exclusively His – children who will give Him their entire allegiance and wholeheartedly follow Him. In other words, Jesus wants children to be completely loyal to Him (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:35), and for that to happen they have to be unattached to the things of the world (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:30-31).
Can children give themselves fully and unreservedly to Jesus? Yes and no. While God isn’t limited in empowering children to live for Him, it usually takes a lifetime to learn how to do it.
So how do you parent children with the end in mind?
- Remember that your primary parenting task is to help children be exclusively devoted to Jesus and fully committed citizens in His kingdom.
- Don’t profess to your children what you don’t possess. Turn your back on godless, self-indulgent routines, and pursue a lifestyle that’s Jesus-filled and Jesus-honouring.
- Recognize that you and your children can’t be dedicated to Jesus in your own strength. You must ask God to fill you with His Spirit (cf. Ephesians 5:18).
- Rely totally on Jesus’ grace and mercy. Being exclusively devoted to Jesus is an inside job that only Jesus can do.
- Regularly and actively, engage with the Bible and pray. Bible engagement and prayer don’t happen ad hoc. You must teach, model and encourage these disciplines (cf. Deuteronomy 6:6-7).
- Be patient. It’s unlikely that your children will be exclusively devoted to Jesus in a week, a month, or a year. It’s a process.
- Stay focused on the end goal. If there’s no struggle, there’s no progress. As your children grow in their devotion to Jesus, they may encounter setbacks.
- Be intentional. You have 936 weeks to do what needs to be done! Don’t squander the time. What are you doing this week to connect your children with Jesus and His Story?
- Don’t give up. Jesus wants your children to live for Him more than you want them to live for Him. Therefore, fix your “eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” Hebrews 12:2.
© Scripture Union, 2020