Sunday, August 17, 2014

Raising Godly Teenagers

Raising Godly Teenagers

Ecclesiastes 11:9-10: “Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; Walk in the ways of your heart, And in the sight of your eyes; But know that for all these God will bring you into judgment.  Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, And put away evil from your flesh, for childhood and youth are vanity.”

It is the desire of every parent that the children grow up to become God-fearing and respectable members of the society. We would all like our children to grow up in Christ. God also wishes that all children grow up to love Him and know Him; for the Kingdom of Heaven is for them too. God also wants them to grow up in our present society and ‘enjoy’ their lives. But there is this condition attached to the freedom to ‘enjoy’ life- “remember that for all these things, God will bring you to judgment”

Our today’s society is painfully full of negatives which scare parents stiff. How can children grow up in such societies and be good and God-fearing? How can they grow in such societies and still meet with God’s standards and escape condemnation in the judgment? Did God foresee and foreknow this type of society before He enjoined the youth to enjoy himself and yet be prepared for judgment?

The answers to these questions lie in the injunction Paul gave in Ephesians 6:4: And you fathers (parents) do not make your children angry or discouraged, but rear them in the environment of God’s correction and instruction (Paraphrased). Our homes should  have an atmosphere that is conducive to God having personal dealings with our children. When we do this, it will be God Himself dealing with the children and not the parents. I am not saying that parents are not to instruct, train, correct, and discipline their children. In fact, the Bible makes it clear that God holds parents responsible for all that are involved in rearing, training, and disciplining their children. On our own strength and wisdom we cannot cope with the task of rearing the children to be men and women of God we dream of.

The only stabilizing, preserving dynamic that is adequate for the Christian in a fallen world is a personal knowledge of God Himself. This knowledge can be communicated to the individual only by the Holy Spirit. We can teach our children the word of God, how to pray but not how to know God in a personal relationship. We are commanded to nurture our children in God’s dealings with them. We can play our part in the bringing of the child to God by doing at least five things:

1. Be active, aggressive, persistent and believing in prayer. 

Keep reminding God, humbly but boldly, that your children belong to Him and that you agree with God that they should grow up to glorify His name. You must labour in prayer, and faith until God responds. “Be not sluggish but imitate them who through faith and steadfastness inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:12)

2. Live so that the presence of God is real in your home. 

Do not settle for correct Christian actions only. Believe God for the awareness at your house that God lives there too. The children will sense this. Do not ask them to do what you say and not what you do. You will be setting a strain in their relationship with what is real and what is ideal.

Read More : How to Raise a Pagan Kid in a Christian Home

3. Do not be content with a “decision for Christ”, or even a commitment to Christian service. 

Keep before God the necessity for true spiritual hunger to develop in your children. Some “decisions and commitments” are made to satisfy parents. They may not be real.

4. Naturally and spontaneously bring God into your conversation and activities. 

A father once prayed to thank God for the meal they were about to eat and asked God to bless it. After the prayer he went into very serious complaints about the quality and preparation of the food. The young daughter turned to the father and asked; “Did God hear the grace you said at the beginning of the meal?” The father answered; Yes. “Did God hear the complaints about the food?” The father again answered; Yes. Then the daughter asked; “which do you want God to believe?”

5. Encourage your children to spend time with God. 

Instead of just correcting a child, you can have the children spend some more time talking to God about it and together expect God to show them practical steps for improvement. When God answers, take time with them to thank God.

The foundation of the knowledge of God needs to be established in the lives of our children during their formative years. Of course God can do it later, and many times He does, but this was not His plan. It is better when “the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom”

Let us ask ourselves a few questions: Do our children know God lives in our homes? Do they know we fear Him, love Him, trust and obey Him? When did we last demonstrate to our children that we really are reverent, trusting, loving children of God?

The teenage age is a period of confusion for all children. They are between going along with their peer group and the problems of growing up and remaining with what home has infused into them. They may be confused by the evolution professor who argues that God did not create man; they may be confused by the philosopher who does not believe in morality. But more dangerous is the fact that the exciting drives of youthful appetite may be inflamed in the free permissive society of that world outside your home. But there is one lasting enduring reality your children would not likely forget; the memory of God’s reality to you and His personal dealings with them! 

Your home must be godly so that the foundations of a vital child-God relationship can be built in your children by the Holy Spirit Himself. It is in the home that qualities of godly character, a personal knowledge of Him and reverence for God are to be developed. Then in future years your children as teenage men and women, who know their God,R can then take their place in an ungodly world and stand true to Him in the deepening darkness.

It is not the wish of God that any child should perish or be condemned at His judgment. It is His wish that they live their lives more abundantly. The key to the teenage relationship to Christ lies in the home and in the hands of parents. “Train up your child in the way he should go and when he grows up he will not depart from it.” You may regard them as children and teenagers. You may excuse whatever they do as “youthful exuberances”; God does not. He regards them as adults and will bring them to judgment and make them answerable. The only way therefore to save your teenage children from condemnation is to make your home a godly home where the children themselves are intimately aware that God is here and grow up to love, reverence and fear Him.

May the Lord help us!

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