We all want our much-loved children to grow up into a life of godliness and morality. But our children won’t drift into a life of godliness and morality by accident. Because of the morally bankrupt world we live in, it takes a great deal of intentional parenting to provide some structure and spiritual handrails to guide our children toward lives submitted to God.
According to Chip Ingram’s book Culture Shock, the Barna Group surveyed evangelical Christians—not the unchurched—and discovered that 54 percent do not believe in absolute truth. In other words, that’s more than half the professing evangelicals unconvinced of the absolute authority of God’s Word! Chip also writes that in the next twenty-four hours in America, a thousand unwed teens will become pregnant, five hundred adolescents will begin using drugs, and six youths will commit suicide. In 2013, the government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the abortion rate was two hundred abortions for one thousand live births. Of the babies born, four out of ten will be born to a single mom.
“Our independence from the bondage of sin comes from our absolute dependence on almighty God.”
We can get numb to statistics, but there’s a story and brokenness behind every one of these statistics. In order for us to rise as parents in this generation, we must begin on our knees. Our independence from the bondage of sin comes from our absolute dependence on almighty God. Jerusalem lay in ruin when these words were written in Lamentations 2:19: “Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children.”
You won’t gain the hearts of your children by blowing commands with a whistle like Captain von Trapp did in The Sound of Music. You won’t win them over by acting as a harsh tyrant or treating parenting as a spectator sport. You’ll gain their hearts by praying for them faithfully and fervently. The kingdom of God works differently from the way the world works. Becoming a leader in your home is about becoming a servant. If Jesus Himself came to serve, humble service is for us too.
Servant leadership may sound like an oxymoron, like “jumbo shrimp.” How are you supposed to lead and serve at the same time? My husband, James, likes to call it being a “benevolent dictator.” You are softhearted toward your children, putting their needs above your own, while providing strong guidance. You acknowledge you don’t possess the answers, but you know the One who does. Psalm 127:1 guides your life: “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.” Our efforts prove fruitless without God’s oversight and guidance in all of them.
Scripture promises that the Lord exalts the humble and puts down the proud (1 Peter 5:5). Which kind of parent do you hope to be, humble or proud? When we choose to humble ourselves in prayer and dependence on God, He will lift us up. Going back to some of the many dictionary definitions of rise, we will “get up from lying, kneeling, or sitting” and “become heartened or elated.” Like the meaning of rise carried in the phrase the sun rises, help will appear above the horizon! We’ve just got to look in the right place for help—not down to our phones for life’s answers or backward to past mistakes, but up to God, the Source of wisdom.
by Arlene Pellicane
How to raise godly children in a godless world Do you feel like you’re fighting a losing battle? Against the culture, against the...
Sign up for learning delivered to your inbox weekly