As frightening as the following sounds, albeit it is true, because we absolutely live in a fallen world. A world where people are murdered, robbed of their life through drug addiction, and fed lies through television, movies, and media. This short list of reasons is a tiny fragment of the utmost importance of why we must raise our children to love God. As parents it is for us to teach and disciple them to learn the Word, lean into the Lord at all times, not just times of trouble, and truly love God.
If you want children who love God, you can’t just hope that by chance it will happen, you have to really work at teaching them what love is and how to love their heavenly father.
Here are 7 tips for raising children who love God:
- Pray for your children: Even before your children are born, pray for them. Pray for their future spouses, pray that God prepares their heart, and pray that God would guard them against the temptations of this world. Pray, every day that your children will be children of God one day. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
- Show Christ’s Love: Through obedience in your actions, thoughts, and disciplines, always show Christ’s love. As your children grow, they will see your faith and your love, and they will want what you have. John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
- Share your Failures: As parents, we can be so quick to tell our kids what they should be doing, but we forget to explain it. All humans fail; through failure, we learn life lessons and sometimes those lessons are hard. Don’t just tell your kids what God wants; explain to them why through your lessons and failures. James 5:16 “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
- Pray for one Another: Spend time in prayer with each other. Families that pray together stay together! When you pray for your child out loud, your child feels loved, valued, and learns how to better love God and others. When your child comes to you with a problem and you take it to the Lord in prayer, you show your child that you are there for them and so is God. Galatians 6:2 “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
- Stay in the Word: Even if you don’t have family devotions, staying in the word is important. God shows his love in every word of the bible. The love God has teaches us to love and makes us love him more. If you want your children to love God, you have to teach them God’s love through his word. John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
- Discipline in Love: God only disciplines us to teach us. He cares for our well-being and that we have a good life. As God disciplines in love, we, also, must discipline in love. Before consequences, explain what your child did wrong, why they must have a consequence and that you love them. Disciplining in love teaches your children that love is unconditional just as God’s love is. Revelation 3:19 “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.”
- Look for Teachable Moments: God doesn’t always teach us through consequences and discipline; he looks for teachable moments to teach us more about him. When your children are playing, talking, or even just having a rough day, look for those moments to share God’s word and his love. Take time to talk to your children individually and build their confidence and trust in you and the Lord. Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
We are all children of God, undeserving of his grace and love. Through Christ’s love for us, we can teach our children to love others and love the heavenly father.
As a reminder, children learn by example so we cannot expect any of the truths above to actually stick if we ourselves are not living a life that reflects Christ. I encourage you to be diligent in your sharing of the love of Jesus with your children in everyday moments. As Deuteronomy 6:7 tells us, “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind, seek Him in all things, including the raising of the precious gifts He has given you; your children.
In His Grace,