Parenting is hard. It’s probably the most difficult thing that we’ve ever had to do. Our responsibility isn’t just to feed, clothe, bathe, and repeat for 18 years. Honestly, if it were just that, it would be much easier. But for Christ followers, caregiving is only the beginning.
Kelli and I became parents a little over 3 years ago, so we are still learning. We definitely don’t have it all figured out and we understand that we aren’t nearly as deep into parenting as many of you. However, if you are willing, we’d like to share what we’ve learned in hopes that it helps all of us parent for God’s glory.
Here are 5 ways we glorify God in our parenting:
1) Love your children
Everything we ever do as Christ followers is to be done in love, even parenting. I don’t mean the warm-fuzzy “love” feeling.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
This is where parenting for God’s glory gets extremely difficult. It’s hard being patient at bedtime when the boys won’t listen and do what we say. It’s easy to lose control and yell, bringing up everything they did wrong that day. Loving our kids as Paul describes in 1 Corinthians takes work, but reflects the love our Heavenly Father has for us.
2) Discipline your children
Discipline is so much more than punishment. Discipline, at it’s simplest definition, is teaching. Teach your children that choices, good and bad, have consequences. In baseball, a disciplined hitter is a patient hitter. In writing, a disciplined writer is a consistent and committed writer. Our job as parents is to train up, to direct, to discipline a child in the way he should go (Proverbs 22:6). Teach your kiddos. Don’t leave it up to someone else.
3) Love their mommy or daddy
We all want our kids to have healthy relationships; give them an example to model. Husbands, love your wives. Love the mother of your children. Sacrifice your wants and needs and put her first; serve her like Christ served the church. Wives, respect your husbands. Take every opportunity to lift up and honor the father of your children. If your children are anything like mine, they soak up everything you do… even the way you speak to their mommy or daddy.
4) Pray for your children
Prayer is powerful. God promises us that if we continue to ask, it will be given to us (Matthew 7:7-8). We need to be crying out desperate prayers for our children. Prayers that our boys will become men of nobel character and men of integrity. Prayers that our daughters will become virtuous, capable, and trustworthy women.
5) Forgive your children… and yourself.
Your children are going to disobey. They are going to ignore you. Forgive them. And you’re going to mess up parenting, too. Forgive yourself and ask your children for forgiveness.