What does raising a child mean?
Parenting or child rearing is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, spiritually, emotional, social, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood. In many cases, orphaned or abandoned children receive parental care from non-parent or non-blood relations.
Proverbs 22:6 ‘Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it’.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:.And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
This 21st century is definitely a changing world and parenting has to be intentional and spiritual for one to raise Godly children. Spiritual Parenting is about how to view your role as a spiritually-minded parent; the God-given role that is yours alone. The primary responsibility lies with us as parents to raise our children in the ways of God Almighty, please let’s not delegate this role to other people, yes they say it takes a village (a community to raise a child) may be from Africa where some of us come from, but certainly not in Europe. Brethren raising children requires a lot of sacrifices, endurance, patience and long-suffering, and my prayer is that they will reward our labour of care in Jesus Mighty Name.
Develop and demonstrate your own relationship with God:
Deuteronomy 6:5-6 ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise’.
If they see you putting God first as the Bible instructs and reading your Bible regularly, they will, in kind, be more likely to model that behaviour. If they see you missing church, with no good reason, using the Lord’s name in vain and or other behaviour’s which do not honour God, they likely will not honour God.
Model what you want them to learn: Don’t be different from what you are trying to teach them. Because children tend to mirror what they see than listen to what they are told to do. Walk your talk. Our children are our reflection in a mirror.
Demonstrate a Strong, God-First Marriage
Proverbs 20:6-7. Many claim to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find? The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them.
Let’s be honest here. If children see and hear constant arguing and disrespect between their parents, no matter what you tell them or they hear in Sunday school, they will think that this behaviour is acceptable. If, however, they see loving parents who calmly discuss any issue, they will understand that this behaviour is the right behaviour according to God. The Bible teaches us that our priorities should be: God, our spouse, our children and then everything else. It goes back to modelling godly behaviour, but a strong marriage, with God first, is what God intended for us and one of the best ways to increase the odds of your child’s continued walk with God.
Read the Bible with Your Children
2 Timothy 3:16-17 ‘All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work’.
2 Timothy 2:15 ‘Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman who needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth’.
‘Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth’. (NIV)
God’s word is full of instruction on not just parenting, but nearly every issue we face as humans during our time on earth, yet according to studies, less than 20% of churchgoers read the Bible daily and less than 3% of teens read their Bible. These statistics are shocking.
When you read the Bible with your children, you are teaching them that it is God’s infallible Word. When you teach them to go to the Bible in times of stress and trouble, you are reminding them that God has a plan for us.
Expose Your Child to Christian Music, Books, Movies and Other Entertainment
Unless we lock our children in the house 24/7, they will be exposed to secular music, books and television. We simply can’t help that, especially, if they are in public school and are involved in sports or other activities. Of course, we’ll want to use that exposure as a conversation starter as described above, but there are plenty of things you can do to expose them to quality Christian content. Here are a few quick ideas:
Turn your radio to a local or national Christian radio while you are driving, cooking or cleaning or just when the kids are playing in the house
- b) Buy or rent quality Christian videos and movies to watch as a family
- c) Buy them Christian books for holidays
- d) Take vacations to places that enrich their faith, or go to Christian camps and retreats
- e) Do your homework on the television shows and movies your children want to watch and, if you have to, block certain channels from your family’s television
Children should be taught to be confident in themselves:
Every child is unique and should be taught so. They are all different with inherent values, talents and skills. Avoid comparisons between children and harsh criticism. Encourage and support them in all their endeavours, be there cheer leader. Help and assist them to discover & recognise their purpose in life. The Bible says they are for signs and wonders, the sky will not be their limit but a stepping stone. Encourage them to be their very best at whatever their hands find doing.
Teach them to value others:
As they come to realize that they are unique, they should also learn to respect and value others irrespective of their status in life. Tell them they are privileged and with those privileges come responsibility and the need to be respectful. Teach them to be respectful to elders, let them see you practice it and they will emulate you.
Teach them that they are called to follow first (as a disciple) and then to leader (as teachers, having been taught by other leaders):
Teach them that it is okay to say NO and to be different. They should be trained to be confident in leadership. They should stand for what they believe in. As parents, we should ensure that what they believe in mirrors the principles of HONESTY and INTEGRITY.
1 Peter 2:2 ‘Like new-born babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment.’ (NLT)
Hebrews 5:12 ‘You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food’. (NLT)
Set boundaries very early in their lives:
Liberty should be increased based on their sense of responsibility. Appropriate rewards for exemplary responsibility will also encourage a child.
Discipline (Punitive and Non-Punitive):
Proverbs 3:12 For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child whom he delights.
Proverbs 19:18 ‘Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying’.
Try not to discipline in anger. Instead, explain why they are being disciplined and, if possible, share appropriate Bible verses which shed light on their sin and your discipline. In addition, the discipline should match the sin.
Proverbs 1:10 ‘My child, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them.’ (NLT)
1 Corinthians 15:33 ‘Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (KJV)
Psalm 1:1-6 ‘Happy are those who reject the advice of evil people, who do not follow the example of sinners or join those who have no use for God.
2 Instead, they find joy in obeying the Law of the Lord, and they study it day and night.
3 They are like trees that grow beside a stream, that bear fruit at the right time, and whose leaves do not dry up. They succeed in everything they do.
4 But evil people are not like this at all; they are like straw that the wind blows away.
5 Sinners will be condemned by God and kept apart from God’s own people.
6 The righteous are guided and protected by the Lord, but the evil ones are on the way to their doom. (GNT)
Also, do not make empty threats, for example if you do not behave yourself, you will be sent to Africa, and it never happens, they will think you are not serious. There should be a balanced approach to discipline. For instance, as a child grows older, parents should learn to communicate/reason more and punish less.
The punishment should be proportionate to the wrong. Discipline should be consistent, and parents should not send conflicting signals. Discipline should create intimacy and not distance, such that the child knows to come back and apologize. Please never correct your spouse regarding the way they disciplined your children in the presence of your children.
Lines of Communication should be kept open:
When talking to your children, don’t be alarmed at whatever you hear. Don’t be judgmental, keep an open mind. Stay calm and give practical answers as much as possible. Also, know their friends and families of their friends.
In addition to allowing your children to ask you questions, remember to ask them questions. If you are out and about and see something that is in conflict with the Bible or your faith, ask the children how they felt about it. Use the conversation as an opportunity to train up your child and reference what the Bible says about what you saw or heard. The old adage (and in my opinion, misguided, adage) – children should be seen not heard should not apply when raising godly children!
Each day, you have a wonderful opportunity for talking with your child or children, for example during family mealtimes.
Build a safe village around them:
It takes a village to raise a child. Teach them how to avoid inappropriate touches from anyone and to speak up if it ever happens. Please be mindful and careful with the places and who you drop off your children with, very important.
Pray for Your Children
When striving to be raising godly children, this should go without saying, but pray for your children each day. Pray that they make the right decisions. Pray that they will seek God first. Pray, pray, pray and then pray some more. I highly recommend the book The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. Each day, you are guided to pray for a different aspect of your child’s life from friendships and faith to school and talents. For those of you with grown children, The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children is a great read, as well. Pray over your child’s future spouse (yes, even as babies and children!) and thanking God for something before it has even happened (think: your child’s walk with God). There is no such thing as too much prayer, they say pray, so you don’t pray.
The Bible makes us to understand in Proverbs 18:21, that the power of life and death lies in our tongue, at every opportunity bless your children, pray for them always. Our Father in the Lord (Daddy GO) told us that when he was growing up, anytime he ran an errand for his Mother, she would bless him in return by saying, “You will call on one and a thousand will answer you”. He said he never knew what that meant until he became the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. If he calls out and say “Pastor” today; more than a thousand pastors will answer “Sir”.
Examples of some prayers you can pray for your children:
Numbers 6:24-26- “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
Deuteronomy 13:4- “May you walk after him, and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice. May you serve him and hold fast to him.”
References: Pastor Nkoyo Rapu and Pastor Kenneth Copeland.
The sermon was delivered at the Special Family Session on March 8, 2020.