Children, God’s Home Improvement Loan

Psalm 127:3 says, “Children are an heritage from the Lord.” Children are a blessing, not a burden. The psalm goes on to say, “The fruit of the womb is His reward. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full.” Not only are children a blessing, they are also a loan. We get them for about 20 years and then we have to release them. They are God’s home improvement loan.

My wife and I are blessed with four children. They are all teenagers now. Our goal is that when they leave our family, they are part of God’s family. We want them to know God personally and to do His will with their lives.

If we are going to raise children with a heart for the Lord, there are some practical things we should do.
1. We should prioritize God in our family.

God is the master builder of the home. Our kids must know that God is first in our lives. Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and then all these things will be added unto you. As parents, we are to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind. Do your children seeing you love God with all your heart?

2. We should protect our children from evil influences

Parents and especially dads are to be watchmen. We are to watch out for the enemy who wants to destroy our kids. That is Satan. God has put two things in the heart of every man: to provide and to protect his family. Not only do we protect them from physical danger, we protect them from spiritual and emotional danger. We must protect them from bad friends.

We must protect them from growing up faster than they should. Kids who are 6, 7, 8 today are learning what they should not be learning until they are 16, 17, 18. If you go on a long trip, you don’t ask a five year old to carry luggage. It’s too heavy for him. Much of what kids are experiencing today is too heavy for them.

It is possible to over protect as well. When they are 16, 17, 18, we need to start getting them ready to go out on their own. That requires trust and freedom. But especially when they are young, we should protect them from the things that would hurt them spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

3. We should pray for our children.

The best way to avoid worrying about your kids is to pray. Philippians 4:6 says, “Be careful for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Pray for their salvation. Pray that they would hate evil and love good. Pray that they would not get away with doing wrong. Pray that they will respect authority. Pray that God would surround them with good influences. You need help as a parent, so pray for good teachers, coaches, pastors and friends to be brought into the lives of your children. Pray that they would remain morally pure. Pray that they would marry the one that God has for them, or if it is not God’s will for them to marry, they would accept that. Pray that they would know and do God’s will for their lives. Even when they leave home, you can influence them by praying for them.

4. Point them in the right direction.

Psalm 127:4 says, “As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man so are children of the youth.” Children are like arrows, and arrows need to be shaped. Arrows begin as bent twigs that need to be sharpened. Our kids come to us with a sin nature. We sharpen them by discipline. Proverbs 13:24 says, “He that spareth the rod hates his son.” This verse does not advocate child abuse. We should never discipline our children while we are angry. We should do it in a way in which we don’t harm them but rather teach them the consequences of disobedience. Proverbs 19:18 says, “Chasten thy son while there is hope.” Each child is different and has to be disciplined differently, so we need wisdom to know how to administer the discipline. Learn to correct without condemning. Don’t yell and scream. Don’t lose your temper. Demonstrate a broken heart as you discipline your child.

Arrows not only need to be shaped, they need to be shot. No, don’t shoot your kids with a gun, but shoot them like an arrow. Release them. Some parents hold on too long. We only get our kids for 20 or so years. Remember, they are on loan. We have to turn them loose.

Remember when they started riding a bike. You held on to the bike for as long as you could but then you had to let go. The same is true when they become an adult. Don’t try to parent your kids after they are adults. Pray for them, but don’t parent them.

Parenting is an emotional roller coaster. One minute you are so proud you want to wrap your arms around them and hug them. The next minute you are so angry with them you want to wrap your hands around their necks and choke them. No matter how frustrating it gets, keep pointing them in the right direction.

Every parent needs a local church so they can network with other believers who are going through parenting and some who have already been there and done that. Most of all, every parent needs to be saved and have a relationship with God, so God can impart you wisdom to be a good parent.

If you have made mistakes in the past, don’t be riddled by guilt. Confess those to the Lord and even to your children. Though you can’t undo the past, you can do something about the future. Commit to make God a priority in your family. Protect your kids from evil influences. Pray for them daily. Discipline them in love and prepare them to leave your family to make a difference for God in the world. With God’s help, you can succeed.

If you are not saved, you can be. Admit to God that you have sinned and broken His laws. Tell God you are sorry for the sins you have committed. Believe that Jesus died and rose again to pay the debt for your sin. Call upon him to save you. He will forgive you and cleanse you. He will impart His Spirit into you to change you from the inside out. Your life will be brand new.

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