Regardless of the means by which they enter into a family, children are a gift from God and He cares about how they are raised. God instituted the family, a design of a man and a woman coming together to raise Godly offsprings—This is what the Lord seeks—disciples.
Several places in Scripture gives specific instructions to parents about how to raise their children. Eph 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” God’s discipline is designed to bring us to repentance so that we will not be destroyed. To “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” means that parents should train their children the way God trains us. By looking at how God trains us, we will better learn how to raise our children.
The bedrock of every form of relationship is love and this can not be different in our relationships with our children. Our love for them however can not just be calibrated by feeding them, buying them new clothes or paying their school fees. For if we do all of these things and have not love for them, we are nothing.
Just like we have learnt from the lesson on the truth about love, loving our children must mean that their eternity is our utmost concern as this is what will show that they have been trained up as the scriptures instructs.
When God led the Israelites out of bondage, He commanded them to teach their children all He had done for them Deut 6:6-7, 11:19. He desired that the generations to come would continue to uphold all His commands. When one generation fails to instill God’s laws in the next, a society quickly declines. Parents have not only a responsibility to their children, but an assignment from God to impart His values and truth into their lives.
Ps 94:12 says, “Blessed is the one you discipline, LORD, the one you teach from your law.” The word discipline comes from the root word disciple. To discipline someone means to make a disciple of him. God’s discipline is designed to “conform us to the image of Christ” Rom 8:29. Parents can make disciples of their children by instilling values and life lessons they have learnt into them and this is only possible if parents themselves are first followers of Christ.
As parents practice godly living and make Spirit-controlled decisions Gal 5:16, 25, they can encourage their children to follow their example. Proper, consistent discipline brings a “harvest of righteousness” Heb 12:11. Failure to discipline results in dishonor for both parent and child Prov 10:1. Pro 15:32 says that the one who ignores discipline “despises himself.” The Lord brought judgment upon Eli the priest because he allowed his sons to dishonor the Lord and “failed to restrain them”
Jesus has been called the everlasting Father and He does Father us by making us into His form and likeness. As parents, we must follow in His steps.