Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
Children are a blessing from the Lord. He gives them to parents entrusting them to their care. They are not a burden, but a blessing. Indeed, every parent should view children as such with a heart determined to raise them in the fear and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4).
Here are a few basic things to remember as a parent:
The greatest gift you can give to your children is a stable home life. Husbands and wives need to love one another and honor the marriage covenant made before God.
In the book of Malachi we read:
And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.
Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.
And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously. (Malachi 2:13-16)
In this passage the Lord says he hates putting away (divorce). Much could be said about this, but one of the reasons God hates divorce is the effect it has upon children.
The Lord's intention is for parents to raise godly children (v15). Often divorce is a great hindrance to accomplishing this goal. Certainly Scripture counsels couples to avoid adultery and other problems that destroy the home. With a focus on serving Christ and serving one another by love, couples can maintain stable homes that serve as the foundation for children to grow and flourish.
Next, please take seriously your responsibility to diligently teach your children the Word of God.
In Deuteronomy we find this important passage of scripture:
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. (Deut. 6:6-9)
No parent is walking in the fear of the Lord when this responsibility is neglected or simply ignored. Training children to fear and obey the Lord is your top priority as a parent. This responsibility comes before the pursuit of anything else in the child's life.
Failure on this point is the reason so many children are never converted and won to Christ. While I am aware any family can have a Cain who choses rebellion against the Lord, the fact is we are not producing enough Abels.
What I mean is simple enough. Most children can be trained to fear God and their hearts won to Christ. However, faith doesn't come by accident. Children left to themselves will most certainly go the way of the world as they are by nature lost and in spirit already a part of the world!
Enter the godly parent. With focus on raising a child in the Word of God a knowledge of Christ is formed at an early age. Diligence is the key. And here is what diligence looks like:
Parents must maintain a walk with the Lord in the home life. Dad and Mom's walk with the Lord makes the Bible a daily part of home life in two ways. First, their children see them with an open Bible reading it themselves. Next, parents see to it the family reads the Bible together.
This is not hard. DO IT! No excuses please. Parents are either obeying the Lord in this matter or tragically sowing seeds of neglect that will bear an ugly fruit in the lives of their children in time.
Next, talk of the scriptures in the course of your day. Deliberately bring the Lord into your conversations through-out the day. No child should grow up in a home where the Lord is a stranger! Only parents can set the tone regarding this matter. As the passage in Deuteronomy instructs, TALK the word as you go through your day.
Such a home life constantly places the Lord front and center in the heart and mind of a child as they grow and come of age. This kind of diligence bears wonderful fruit.
Next, if you choose a tutor for your children (education outside the home), then you are required by the Lord to choose a godly one. Remember, the education of your children is your God given responsibility. Be very diligent in this matter.
The Lord must remain at the center of a child's education, otherwise the influence of an ungodly world will most certainly lead them astray. Failure to obey the Lord's command to separate from the ungodly (Psalm 1; 2 Cor. 6:14-18) is corrupting the youth from professed Christian homes at an alarming rate in our nation today.
Remember, obedience to the Lord in the matter of raising children to his glory is the pathway to winning them to Christ and training them in the faith. Such obedience flows out of the deep desire to give your children Christ above all else.
May the Lord stir passionate obedience in the life of every professed Christian parent is my prayer.