Do you dream of raising kids who are on fire for God? Kids who can stand their ground when it comes to their faith. And who are fearless in the face of the animosity the world has towards Christians?
Raising godly kids is both an exciting and terrifying responsibility. Because there feels like there’s so. much. pressure. to get everything just right.
But the good news is that God has told us in Acts 17:11 that it is Him (the Holy Spirit) that moves in our hearts (including our children’s hearts). We are simply the vessels to transport the message. But God will mold and shape our children. So knowing that should take some of the pressure off.
However…that’s not to say that we shouldn’t do anything. Because our kids do need exposure to God and guidance in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). And that is where our job is. To do the best job we possibly can on our end that will give God good solid material to work with in the hearts of our children.
How do we do that? Well, let’s explore that a bit as we learn about how to raise godly children.
Arm yourself with the Word of God
Before going to battle for your children’s hearts, it’s important to arm yourself with the weapon that God has equipped you with. And that is the Sword of the Spirit (which is the Word of God) (Ephesians 6:17).
Knowing God’s Word is important in everyday life so that you can use it against temptations, while witnessing, etc. But it’s especially helpful to know God’s Word intimately as a parent because you can use it to teach your children as moment’s arise.
Say, for example, your child has stolen something from the checkout lane at the store. Telling them that’s wrong is all well and good. But using it as an opportunity to teach them why we don’t do that is even better. Being equipped with God’s Word allows you to quickly and readily point to scripture and how it applies to whatever situation is going on. What an example that is to your children!
Memorizing scripture can be a challenge, but it is extremely rewarding. However, even if you can’t memorize scripture word for word, at least knowing where to find what you’re looking for is necessary for teaching your children right and wrong directly from the Word of God.
Expose them to God’s Word
In the same way that you share God’s Word with your children during moments that arise for teaching, exposing them to God’s Word in general is so important. Because those special words that God has spoken to us in the Bible are what’s going to sink into their little hearts and bear fruit one day.
There are many different ways that you can go about exposing your children to God’s Word. From having daily family devotionals to helping them memorize scripture to just allowing them to see you read from your own Bible. One of my favorite things to do with our kids before bed is to read a few verses over them when we say goodnight.
We have scripture art (specifically, these ones) hanging in each of our kids’ rooms and it makes a big impact on them to have that kind of exposure every night. Our son (who’s 3 at the moment) already has Revelation 4:8 (Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty) memorized. And it’s so special to see that!
Cover their lives in prayer
Prayer is a powerful thing. God has given us such a special gift by allowing us to come before him in humility and thankfulness and to ask of Him what we have need of. And teaching our kids the impact that prayer can have on our lives is vital.
So pray with them, pray for them, every day. There are countless opportunities that you can pray with your children. And praying over them is just as important too. Pray for them to come to know Christ. Pray for them to find a future spouse who loves God. Pray for them to grow as people and disciples in powerful ways.
However you do it, praying with and for your children is important to raising godly kids. Because prayer should be apart of every Christian’s life. And teaching your kids that important truth is irreplaceable.
Make God part of their every day
God shouldn’t remain on the sidelines all week until you head into church. No, God should be a big part of your conversations and every day lives all week long. But maybe you’re wondering how this actually looks?
Well, the last few steps in this process make a big impact on this already. By exposing them to God’s Word and teaching them about prayer every day you are already doing a great job of making God part of their lives every day.
But there are certainly other things you can do too. Like reminding them about how God made everything around us. By instilling how important it is that we extend the love we receive from God to others through hospitality and service. And basically by teaching them that there is no separation between God and the rest of our lives because God is our life. He is the giver and sustainer.
Be involved and intentional about what they see and do
Kids are impressionable, especially at young ages. Who and what they are exposed to on a regular basis will inevitably have a huge impact on how they act, what they like, what they do, and who they follow. So as parents we need to act as a filter for them, at least until they are old enough to filter for themselves.
So think carefully about their education, what they watch, the games they play, the music they listen to, the books they read, and the other kids that they play with. These are all things that will have a big impact on your kids’ personalities and characters. These are the type of things that will shape them each and every day.
Make sure you are involved, that you know what’s going on with them, and that you are intentional about what they are exposed to. Once they get to a certain age you will have to allow them to learn discernment for themselves, but until that day comes it’s your job to be that filter on their behalf.
Have a good relationship with them
I know there are multiple schools of thought regarding whether you should be friends with your kids or not. But no matter where you stand in that camp, having a good relationship with your kids is vital to raising them to be godly kids. And here’s why…
When you have a good relationship with them they will come to respect you and your opinions. They will listen to you and hear you out when you give them advice. When you are spending time with them regularly then there will be a lot of opportunities to talk, to get to know them and what’s going on with them, etc.
One of the big tactics of the enemy when it comes to breaking people down is to make them feel isolated and alone. If your kids know that they can turn to you and you will help them and be there for them, then the risk for feeling that way is lower.
So start while they’re young. When they are telling you all about something for the 15-millionth time, listen to them. Get on the floor and play with them (you know, the same game they always want to play and you’re so bored of lol). Let them see that you are always there to hear them, to be with them, to help them, and to guide them. That truth will take root in them and will be there with them when they get to be older and really need to talk to you about more serious things.
Set a good example
I once heard someone say in regards to disciplining children that “you can’t share what you don’t have“, and this really hit home with me. Because how often do we step back and examine what our children are seeing in us every day?
Do your children see you reading your Bible? Do they see you praying? Are you displaying the Fruits of the Spirit in your everyday walk? Are you showing generosity towards others? Basically, are you practicing what you’re preaching? Because if not, you might have problems down the road. Kids can tell when you’re faking it, or when you’re telling them to do one thing but you’re doing another.
So even though your ideal Bible reading time might be when the kids are asleep, also pick up your Bible for a bit during the day and teach them how to have their own quiet time. And keep your attitude in check, always praying for God to grow the Fruits of the Spirit in you so that you can pass those on to your children.
Be a good example to your kids. One they can look up to and model themselves after.
You can raise godly kids…and this is what it takes
Raising the next generation of disciples for Christ is an exciting, albeit intimidating prospect. I know the pressure to make sure you’re doing everything right can be tough. But God has equipped you (and continues to equip you every day) with what you need to raise godly kids and kids who are in love with him.
In the end, our children will make up their own minds to follow God or not. But we can do everything in our power to share the love of Christ with them (John 13:34-35) and to train them up in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). With intentional planning and an over-abundant love and fear of God in your own life (Matthew 22:36-37), the spring of living waters will well up and pour out into them (John 7:38).
So don’t give up and don’t give in to raising them like the world would have you do (Romans 12:2). Work hard to mold and shape a life centered around Christ and loving God with your whole heart as an individual and a family, and this love will work it’s way into the hearts of your precious children.