Pastor's Corner

Kingdom parenting: Don’t let children lead self-centered lives

by Daniel Ausbun

School starts on Tuesday.

What’s even more exciting than school beginning next week is that God has a plan for your child’s life. The great temptation today for parents is to allow children to live “self-centered” lives. Social media, phones, computers, video games and the attitude, “anything I want or need is in the palm of my hand” establishes an upbringing for a child that neglects the purpose of God.

Children shouldn’t decide where a family attends church, where they’ll eat, where they’ll go on summer vacation, and what Santa Claus will bring every Christmas.

Parents, don’t mislead your children into thinking all activities and decisions revolve around the child’s wishes. The best parenting is Kingdom-focused parenting. Proverbs 13:24 states, “The one who will not use the rod hates his son, but the one who loves him disciplines him diligently.”

Discipline and grace are foundations of Kingdom parenting. Here are five steps to help your child live a Christ-centered life.

First, you never want to cut off communication with your child. Looking your child in the eye, putting your hand on their shoulder and telling them you love them and are praying for them is a powerful form of communication.

If you want your child to become more Christ-like, then you set the example. Provide them with a culture of grace. If parents bring beer and cigarettes into the house, your children will find them. Likewise, if your Bible and monthly devotional are lying around the house, your children will inquire about them.

Second, apply what the Bible has to say regarding parenting. Too many parents are busy living in “survival mode” — just trying to keep their lives together and provide for their families. Faith is often just a “Sunday thing.”

Psalm 127:4 describe children as arrows in the hands of a warrior. This means children will be sent where the parents who them to go. More than anyone else, parents are able to shape their child’s spiritual life. You spend the most time with them; you’ll have the most influence.

Third, parents must model a Kingdom priority. If you’re sitting in church with your child and the preacher proclaims, “Christians need to tell others about Jesus” — does your child see you doing it? Your priorities will become your child’s priorities. If you bring your Bible to church, your child will likely follow suit.

Fourth, parents must involve missions and service in their child’s activities. Family mission trips, volunteering at church and helping meet others people’s needs reveals to your child you’re Kingdom-focused rather than self-focused. Provide your child with a big vision of their lives. When they go to bed at night, say, “I believe God has big plans for your life.”

Fifth, parents must teach their children about salvation. The greatest thing you could ever tell your child is they need Jesus. Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ninety percent of all people who get saved will do so between 4- and 14-years-old. This is a spiritual window in your child’s life.

Don’t be the regretful parent with an undisciplined 21 year-old. School is important, but salvation and obedience to God is extremely important.

You do not own your children. They have a destiny beyond your role. A parent’s role is to help prepare them for that destiny.

The ultimate goal of all parenting is to raise children who know their purpose in life is to advance God’s Kingdom by His power and for His glory.

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