God designed parenthood. It was His plan for children to be brought into the world as infants and proceed into adulthood. He is the One who designed a period of time where a child is in a place of intensive training before he or she must face the world “alone.”
However, as parents, many of us are long past the “honeymoon phase” of raising children. If we’re honest, we might admit that we are just looking to survive the task of parenthood, without causing too much damage to our children. But I want to encourage and implore you to change your mindset about the very things that discourage you as a parent; specifically, your child’s behavior or lack thereof.
With a shift in perspective, we can learn to view our child’s misbehavior as an opportunity from a loving God to feed our kids spiritually.
“…It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4)
I believe that God, in His divine mercy, allows us to see where our children are at in their hearts through their outward behavior. Typically speaking, a child is worse at lying, controlling their temper, and hiding their dislike of someone than your average adult is. This is a blessing, not a curse.
We are not out to merely change our child’s behavior, although we want this to happen too. We are more intent on changing their heart. Every time our child “acts out” so to speak, it gives us an inside look at how they are doing on the inside. This puts us in a good position to effectively feed our children the Word of God and correct their behavior the way God intended us to. Child training is just another way to sow the Word of God deep into our children’s hearts.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV)
Our logic, reasoning, and mere words don’t carry the necessary weight to convict the hearts of our children. The Word of God and the Holy Spirit do. We must not try to train our children with our human wisdom or what our culture defines as acceptable parenting. We must use God’s Word liberally to train our children.
We would never neglect to feed our children lunch or dinner. In fact, if we serve our child lunch even just 30 minutes late, we immediately attribute their behavior to their being hungry or their lack of physical nourishment. Likewise, our children’s bad behavior can be attributed to their lack of spiritual nourishment. How many Christian parents are guilty of neglecting to feed their children the spiritual food only God’s Word can provide?
Let’s resolve to feed our children spiritually with the same drive and sheer need we see in physical nourishment. And the next time your child displays inappropriate behavior, thank God for showing you your child’s heart and ask Him to help you feed your child appropriately with the Word of God. Trust God that His Word will give life to your child. Your child does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God!
Resources to help parent’s correct behavior with the Word of God: