You may want to stop reading this blog when you discover:
- my kids fought – one actually pulled a knife on another one time.
- I got called to the school to discipline them.
- I accidentally abandoned a 6 year old on a dangerous street in Central America.
- much of the time Jana and I were at a loss for what to do – other than pray a lot.
- we made lots of mistakes, some of which still hurt to think about.
- we were definitely “no perfect parents”.
But, hallelujah! Our kids survived and are all thriving.
All 3 love God and love His people.
All 3 actively serve in the local church.
All 3 married spouses as passionate about the Lord as them.
How in the world did that happen?
If we’re to raise godly children we need a picture of what we’re shooting for.
What does a godly child look like?
If we think godly children never talk back, never get upset, never make messes, never disobey, never embarrass their parents, never argue or hit their sister – we are going to always be disappointed.
The only child that meets that description is a dead child.
Godly kids still behave like kids.
And behavior is important but behavior is not a good measure of godliness.
Godliness is more about inward attitudes than outward actions.
The outward behavior needs to spring from an inward desire to please God.
Jesus put it this way, First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Matthew 23:26
The Pharisees looked good outside but inside were full of “greed, self-indulgence and everything unclean”.
If behavior is our primary focus we are training a new generation of Pharisees.
If developing a heart that loves God and loves others is our focus we are training godly children.
First clean the inside then the outside will be clean, also.
That doesn’t mean the outside will be clean overnight.
I’ve been at this Christian walk over 40 years and still have grime on the outside – because I’m still working on grime on the inside.
Likewise, with our kids, it’s a lifelong path we set them on. Teaching them that “people look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1Samuel 16:7) And it’s God’s approval we seek. It’s His approval that matters.
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children – Deuteronomy 6:5-7