Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Steps To Being A Good Parent Part 3

In our last two articles we noted that a parent must cultivate their own spiritual life and a parent must understand that their children are a gift from God. God owns them and simply lent them to us to raise for His glory. In this article I want us to concentrate on a third important element in becoming godly parents. A Parent must fulfil his/her responsibilities. This will not be an exhaustive list but simply some important responsibilities that a parent must not ignore.

First of all we must love them. If we are going to love as God loves (imperfect of course as sinful people) we must purpose their good. This will take spending a lot of time with our Lord in prayer seeking what is best for our children. We must gaurd against our selfish desires and realize that everything we do for them needs to be for the purpose of leading them in the direction of a knowledge and love for God. This will include discipline. Sometimes our love must be tough love. But we must never forget that discipline is for the purpose of training. Consider a few verses from the Bible. (Proverbs 22:15) Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. (Proverbs 13:24) He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

Secondly, we must be committed to the task of raising our children. If you are not willing to spend quality time with your children, they will struggle to mature both mentally and spiritually. If you are not spending time with your children, someone or something else will influence them for good or for bad. Some parents are totally consumed with their jobs, but your children are more important. We have to work, but we cannot afford to neglect our children. Good parenting takes commitment!!

Thirdly, we must be parents of prayer. Our real power comes from a committed prayer life. God works through prayer! We must be praying for God's strength to parent wisely and to make right decisions for our children. We must be praying for their salvation. Once they are saved we must pray for their spiritual maturity, decision making, usefulness for God, and to follow God's leading for their lives. Parents, we have a lot to pray about, please don't neglect your prayer life!

Fourthly, we must protect them. Protect them from both physical and spiritual harm. We must protect them from what they watch, read, listen to, from any influence that would lead them away from God. It is our duty to teach them how to make right decisions based on God's Word and principles.

Fithly, we must be an example for them to watch. Parents this is very humbling, but we must "practice what we preach." If we don't set the example someone else will!! Exhibit to them how to love and serve the Lord. We do a terrible injustice to our children when we tell them one thing and we do another. We must follow Paul's pattern; (Philippians 3:17) Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
Sixthly, we must be the primary instructers in our children's lives. It is the job of the parent first to teach our children especially in the things of the Lord. Don't expect this to be the job of the Sunday School teachers alone. Some parents feel that is the job of the church or later the Christian college. No parents, they are to help but the primary job belongs to you. Our children need instruction from the word of God. Douglas Wilson exhorts; "children of Christian parents are to be brought up in an enviroment dominated by the Word of God." Take your bilbe and read deuteronomy chapter six and Psalm 78. Parents teach your children to have disciplined lives, how to love God, how to pray, how to cultivate a relationship to God, how to follow God's will, and etc. We have a lot to teach them, but it is a true privilege to raise our children.
These are only a few responsibilities that parents must practice. Their are many more that could be listed, but for sure we cannot ignore these. Parents, we have a big responsibility before us, but it is well worth it. Take your job as a parent seriously. Go to God for strength and wisdom because we cannot do a good job in our own strength.

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