This is a crazy world we’re living in, no doubt about it. Whether you lean left, right or anywhere in between, if you are a Christian like me, you know how difficult it is to raise kids to fear and honor God, and even harder to teach them to serve the Lord in this day and age. While we are trying to do our best to keep them on the right track, with the world quite literally at their fingertips it can be very easy to lose sight of their walk with Christ, or worse to not even realize when they’ve fallen away.
This is at the forefront of my mind A LOT. In the book of Phillipians 4:6-7, Paul tells us:
‘be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’
These are quite possibly the most ardous verses for me because although I believe them wholeheartedly, they can be easier said than done to put into practice! In all things in life, I trust in the Lord, but I fall short. In the moments when I falter, I have to make it a point to remind myself that I am to be anxious for nothing, even when the world around us seems to want to devour our children’s minds. In such troubling times, how do we raise godly kids?
How To Raise Godly Children
In no particular order, these 5 practical steps to raising godly children are those that my husband and I try to implement onto our boys. It’s not always easy, in fact it can be very, very hard to keep focused. We fail all the time. Proverbs 3:5 says to ‘trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not lean on your own understanding’. So even when we fall on our faces because we get distracted in the mundane parts of life, I know that God will remind us to trust on Him to keep our family, our kids, on the right path.
Make them go to church
Yes, make them go to church. This may not be the most ‘politically correct’ way to raise kids, but in our house they are treated like well, the children that they are. Our rule is that they attend church with us weekly and even more if there is a bible study or other event. Because we started this practice when they were babies (even my stepson went with us as a toddler when he was with us, and at almost 14, still does), this is a part of life for them. They have developed friendships throughout the years, and a strong sense of community at church. They are comfortable there, it’s a home away home. Find a good bible based church with programs for children to learn at their respective levels. Make this a part of your lives as a family as early as possible, and this will become a habit that will be very hard to break later in life.
Lead By Example
This is by far my crutch! I want to be the perfect Proverbs 31 woman, wife, mom, etc. Yeah, so it doesn’t always happen. In fact it usually doesn’t, because I am way flawed! My husband and I really do try to be godly role models, but we know that we aren’t always, and that’s ok. If this is where you struggle as well, don’t fret, remember that we are forgiven in Christ, remind the kids that they are too. Still, God did place us in their lives to guide them, so our goal should always be to lead them to the cross.
Putting God first in your own lives has the biggest impact in how your children live theirs. If we count God first in all things, they will follow. If they know that we count on Him for every decision both big and small, they will too. My little one knowing how much I love our family has innocently asked me what is more important to me, them, or God. That’s a tough one to explain to an 8 year old, but in the end I lovingly said that while my family is the biggest thing to me on this earth, God is bigger to me in another way, and He should be for him too.
It is also important that we are careful with our language. Not just avoiding foul language, but hurtful words towards each other and others. This means gossip (hard to give up), and outbursts (even when you’re right). Negative slurs of any kind should also be removed from our vocabularies. Not always easy (never easy actually)–but necessary.
Equally crucial is to be aware of the tv and music we allow in our homes. Ephesians 5:4-5 says:
Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes–these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.
Ouch! That is harsh, but even a not-so-dirty joke can make you lose your testimony, especially to your kids who look up to you. We can’t be surprised when we hear them using obscenities or other coarse language if that is what they hear at home.
Share Your Faith
Read the bible to them, and teach them to study it on their own as well. One of my favorite memories will always be listening to my husband read the book of Proverbs to the boys on Saturday mornings while I make breakfast. He reads a chapter, has each read one, and then explains the scriptures to them. We’ve started them with reading one chapter of Proverbs per day, to complete all 31 by the end of each month.
Teach them to pray for anything and everything. Pray before a big test, pray when pulling out of the driveway, pray before meals, pray out of gratitude, you get the idea. The bible says to ‘pray without ceasing’, and that is what we aim for. As they grow they will develop their own prayer habits, but we know we have laid the foundation.
Monitor Their Friends
I can’t say this enough! Whether they are in kindergarten or they are seniors in high school. Keep track of who they are hanging out with. Again, start this as early as possible–get to know their buddies and their families. Weed out those that can potentially pull them away from the Lord. I don’t agree with having only Christian friends though, in my opinion that is just not reality. Without getting too deep into this subject, in the real world, they will have to learn to deal with all kinds of people. However, if their friends are leaning towards anything ungodly, you will need to make some changes. Be reasonable–discern what is innocent mischief from what is inappropriate behavior. As with everything else, give them biblical examples. There are several stories of godly friendships in the bible such as Abraham and Lot, Ruth and Naomi, Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and many more. When they are old enough they will choose wisely.
Pray For Them!
This should go without saying, but don’t forget to pray for your kiddies! They depend on you for everything, even when they are older and don’t want to admit it 🙂 The best gift you can give your children is simply to pray over them. Pray for their comings and goings, for the present and future. Pray for their church life, studies and relationships at school, their friends, looking ahead to their careers. Pray even for their future mates!
Prayer is powerful—pray intentionally for your kids and watch the Lord pour his blessings on them and your family as a whole. Will life be easy? No, we are not promised to coast through life, but in John 10:10 we are told:
‘The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.’
How much better can it get?
These steps will not guarantee that you end up with perfect children, because frankly there is no such thing! Your kids will stray from time to time, be ready for it. Remember they are human, and it’s your job to steer them back into the right direction. Stay the course though, with God all things are possible!