by Geoffrey Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church
Parenting is just hard. It’s tiring. It’s busy. It’s laborious. It’s unending. It’s continuous. It’s demanding. But with all these realities, we as parents must remember that parenting is supremely rewarding! We won’t see the acorn sprout into a towering oak tree overnight but with earnest prayer, diligent labor, Christ-exalting zeal and loving discipleship, we trust God that He will do a mighty and supernatural work in the souls and lives of the children that He has entrusted to us.
So in this brief essay, I want to present five simple reminders to Christian parents.
1. Be a faithful Christian. (Piety)
Perhaps the simplest and most foundational reminder that I could proffer to Christian parents is simply to be a faithful Christian. Live what you speak. Practice what you preach. Emulate your Bridegroom. Love like He loved you. Forgive just as He forgave you. Pray as a child of God who loves intimacy with your God. Be faithful! In living a faithful Christian life — not perfect, but striving to be faithful! — your children will see this ongoing, continuous way of life in you. In a word: don’t undo by your conduct what you teach your children in your instruction. Conduct yourself with integrity and live as a faithful Christian!
2. Pray with fervent earnestness. (Prayer)
The preeminent weapon that every Christian parent possesses is prayer. Earnest, fervent, daily, constant prayer. No Christian parent should ever minimize the power of prayer nor should a Christian parent ever dismiss prayer as something less important. Prayer moves mountains. Prayer moves God. Prayer changes things. Prayer protects and powerfully effects great results! So dads and moms with your instruction, pray! Before you instruct, pray! After you instruct, pray! As you disciple, pray! Pray with an earnest spirit, a persistent tongue, and a believing heart! Pray with fervency and ask God to save and sanctify and to convert and change the souls that God has entrusted to you for the short years they live under your care. Don’t lose heart! Pray!
3. Impress Scripture on their minds and hearts. (Priority)
Moses spoke to the covenant people and told them to diligently teach God’s words to their children not just at formal teaching times but all throughout the day. Whether one sits in the house, or walks by the way, or lies down, or rises up, parents must impress biblical truths on the children’s hearts and minds. In fact, even Timothy learned the sacred writings from his mother Eunice as young as the infancy days (2 Tim 3:15). Children are never too young to learn nor are they too old to have Scripture impressed upon their hearts and minds. Parents, in all your doings for and with your children, always remember to bring God’s truth to bear in conversations, in hardships, in discouragements, in uncertainties, and in triumphs! This requires you to know your Bible so you can then impart that truth to your children! So then, travail in your own study of Scripture so you can teach your kids the panoply of truths from the Scripture.
4. Urge them to consider eternity. (Perspective)
Life is too short to focus solely on the here and now. Eternity is so long that it behooves us to speak much and speak often of heaven and hell with our children. Urge them to consider their souls. Speak diligently about the glory of heaven and the torments of hell. Instruct your children diligently concerning the sinfulness of their hearts and the punishment that they deserve. Show them regularly the holiness of God and the blessed gospel of God’s love in sending His Son to die for sinners by bearing their curse and punishment. Plead with your children to not live for this world and lose their souls eternally. Urge them lovingly, winsomely, tenderly, and persuasively to consider the world to come and where they will live eternally. Show them Christ! Give them the gospel! Urge them to repent of sin and trust in Christ! Urge them to lose their lives now so as to gain them eternally! O parent, what a blessed privilege you have! Don’t forfeit this joyous work and labor of love!
5. Remember growth takes time. (Patience)
As parents we want immediate results. Why? Because in this fast-paced world, we get everything else, so it seems, immediately and without much delay. But the souls of our children are like well-watered gardens that grow a healthy crop over time. The hearts of our children must be like a field that produces a vast harvest with much tending, care, work, labor, and effort. We pray that as we continue to till the hearts of our children that God would send the rain of the Spirit and produce a plenteous and bountiful harvest! May God use our diligent labors as parents as we pray for and with our children every day, and may He bless our efforts at leading our households in family worship consistently, and may He attend our conversations with our children as we individually speak to them concerning eternal matters with regularity and call them to turn from the things of this world, to flee from sin, to follow Christ, and trust in His righteousness alone to save from coming wrath. A seed in the ground takes time to grow into a large plant and so it is with our children’s hearts. Don’t grow weary in doing good. Growth takes time. Be diligent! Be constant! Be fervent! Be sober-minded! Be encouraged! Trust in God and labor for the souls of your children!