I will open with a quote from Charles Barkley from 1993. It speaks to parents relinquishing to others their position as the first role models to their children.
“I am not a role model” “I’m not paid to be a role model. I’m paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court. Parents should be role models. Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.” End quote Selah
If their role model is someone they haven’t met, you’re not doing your job well. Especially if the model doesn’t represent Jesus. Pretending to be a super hero is childish and admired in toddlers. But toddlers grow up. WT
Today I would like to speak to those in my audience who are “Christian “ parents. How important is it to you that you leave a legacy of faith in God to your children? Have you faithfully invested time in your children’s spiritual development? Can they imitate your walk with God in a way that demonstrates a genuine love for the Lord? In this cancel culture and mayhem we’re witnessing today, are your children among them or standing up for righteousness? Except for adoption where you choose the age of the child you adopt, every parent receives their children as infants. God designed this on purpose. You have the ability to teach, shape and mold these little sponges, who are eager to be like mommy and daddy, into the image bearers of the God you serve.
Joshua made famous this statement as he challenged Israel to make a decision to follow Jehovah. If you read the entire chapter you’ll find that he was speaking to a people who gave God lip service. He had raised up his house and he wanted all Israel to do the same.
“So fear the Lord and serve Him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone. But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15
Leaving a legacy of faith is more valuable than any other earthly possessions or monetary comfort we can leave to our children. As believers in Christ Jesus it is imperative that we train our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4.
They’re with you for the length of time necessary for this transfer to take place. We’re their best example of godly living. The home is their training ground. Now of a certain age, we cannot make the decision to live for Christ for them, but we can live and share it in such a way that it will be harder to depart from it. A lukewarm approach to the things of God produces apathy in our children. Make Jesus the attraction. The world is waiting to undo everything you’ve done, but it’s harder to do if you’ve done your job well.
I’m speaking from experience here. And I’m not unique in any way. I was just consistent. Consistency is key to faith transference. You have to do more than talk, you have to walk it out. If you’re a two parent household you MUST walk in unity in every area of your lives. They’re learning from you what godly parenting and marriage looks like. If you’re single like myself, the same applies even more so. You’re modeling for them what living a life dependent on your Heavenly Father looks like. Walking in integrity and godly character. Demonstrating to them from birth to their personal decision, that Jesus is the only way to eternal life. Modeling a love for Jesus, as well as how we handle the challenges of life while keeping our faith and confidence in God. Praying with and for them from a young age. Children will, more often than not, live what they’ve seen more than what they’ve heard. We cannot pass on what we do not possess.
Joshua was confident that his household would serve the Lord. Why? He had been consistent, and he had unlike some leaders before him, commanded his house towards faith in the one true God. You cannot be a lazy Christian and raise godly children. Except for a supernatural intervention of God, your children will end up like Phinehas and Hophni. Their father Eli was priest in Israel, but his children were a mess, 1 Samuel 2. David’s children were a mess. Samuel’s children did not walk in his ways, this led Israel to ask for a king. 1 Samuel 8. Living for Jesus or the transference of our faith isn’t by osmosis. Faith in Jesus is a learned, personal encounter. Children live what they see. And a shared value of your walk with Jesus that eventually leads to a successful transference will protect and guide them to stay faithful to Christ.
The mistake most Christian parents make is the false notion that church attendance alone is the answer. It is not! And the enemy of our souls knows this. He doesn’t mind if we go to church or send our children to Sunday school. A discerning parent will follow through after Sunday school. Quality time spent with your children teaching them the Word, and teaching them how to pray and trust Jesus is key to them not departing. A home shaped by love for Jesus will be a home to which the prodigals can return. It’s a home built without compromising God’s truth and a reverence for Christ. This is what Joshua’s house was built upon, which led him to boldly announce,”As for Me and My House, We WILL serve the Lord!” My daughter knew that from a toddler to today. My house would be a home dedicated to the Living God. If she didn’t like it, she knew where the exit was, and it didn’t matter her age.
Compromising for the sake of not losing your children’s love is foolish and devilish. You don’t earn your children’s respect through compromising. You gain it through setting boundaries, living what you teach and trusting Jesus with what is out of your control. You’re not short on love. Their love for you is secondary but their love for Jesus is front and center. Not giving in to the world’s normal may create conflict for a season, but by being clear and consistent you will save their souls and your home.
The book of Proverbs offers some solid godly wisdom infused advice for parents and children alike. God has established a clear set of rules and guidelines, and nowhere in scripture do you find Him making adjustments for the culture. What we have done, and are doing is adjusting our Christian values, that’s a sign of weakness that breeds rebellion in our children. If you want to keep the devil from destroying your family, build the foundation of your home on the Rock and don’t back up or back down no matter the cost. Your family is worth the fight. This war isn’t against flesh and blood. We have been warned.
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
Wage a war against hell for the souls of your children. Erect a barrier of faith around them. Let them wake up to your intercession over them in prayer, especially if you have teenagers. Fight for their souls. The enemy has an army arrayed against them, but he cannot win if you’re consistent. This same chapter of Ephesians that I mentioned, has some advice for parents and children and especially to fathers. I raised a successful woman of God as a single parent, so there’s no excuse for parenting poorly with the forces of heaven at your disposal. The Godhead was and remains my help and go-to. He will be yours if you let Him in at the onset. The problem parents have or I should say the misconception they have is that their children actually belong to them. They are on loan to us, they belong to the One who entrusted them to your care. If you believe that, then the pressure is on Him to teach you how to parent. But do you want or seek His help?
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! Join me in this declaration. If your children are grown up and have moved on, pray continually for them anyway,and for their spouses if they’re married, fight the good fight of faith for your grandchildren. If no grandchildren, fight for the nation’s children. We are living in desperately dangerous times, but God is still on His Throne. Cry out! Don’t be silent, our Helper lives within us. We will win this battle for our families if we reuse to quit.
Heavenly Father in the Name of Jesus
The challenge of parenting today is great, greater than its ever been. We need your help and we’re not ashamed to ask. We desire as parents to raise children of the Kingdom for the King of kings. Thank You for the Holy Spirit who guides us. Make us sensitive to His leading, guide us to places in Your Word where we can glean from You how to serve you in our parenting. In Jesus Name. Amen
For those of you reading this who are not yet parents but desires to be, preparation is key. Read God’s Word the true source of parenting His way. Also there are great books available on the topic. If you’re single pray and wait for a godly partner with shared values. Parenting isn’t for cowards, it’s hard work as a couple but harder as a single. Trust me. But doing it God’s way has its rewards.
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit