Prioritize your parenting.

Points Covered: How to be a godly parent? How to bring children up in the fear of the Lord? Roles of children and parents within a godly family. Prioritize your parenting.

Complete series on Prioritizing your life. 

Illustration: The story of two paddleboats. They left Memphis about the same time, traveling down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. As they traveled side by side, sailors from one vessel made a few remarks about the snail’s pace of the other.

Words were exchanged. Challenges were made. And the race began. Competition became vicious as the two boats roared through the Deep South.

One boat began falling behind. Not enough fuel. There had been plenty of coal for the trip, but not enough for a race. As the boat dropped back, an enterprising young sailor took some of the ship’s cargo and tossed it into the ovens. When the sailors saw that the supplies burned as well as the coal, they fueled their boat with the material they had been assigned to transport. They ended up winning the race, but burned their cargo.

God has entrusted cargo to us, too: children, spouses, friends. Our job is to do our part in seeing that this cargo reaches its destination. Yet when the program takes priority over people, people often suffer. How much cargo do we sacrifice in order to achieve the number one slot? How many people never reach the destination because of the aggressiveness of a competitive captain?

Most people are living a compromised life just because they have misplaced matters of great importance in life. Instead of concentrating on things that are really vital and what takes them forward, they are messed up in the petty things of life that pull them down.

We have been studying on the subject of priority for a believer and we began by looking at the top three priorities of a believer. Last week we covered the area of spiritual life. Today I would speak on the next priority of a believer. Prioritize your family, starting with parenting; roles of the parents and children within a family.

Prioritize your family.

God’s second priority for us is our relationship within the family. Proverbs 14:26 Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge. The Bible portrays the family as a fortress. The only way Christian families can be safe in the fortress of family is when the family members live in the fear of the Lord.

A fortress has a boundary and it is the responsibility of the people living inside of it to safeguard its boundary. To guard the borders of our country, it takes the gatekeepers, the soldiers, the army, navy, intelligence all to work together to keep intruders out. As a family you are building a wall, you are protecting your marriage, your kids, and all what God has given you. Remember Satan is an intruder waiting to attack Christian families and it takes the husband, wife, and children to work together in the fear of the Lord to safeguard your family. So everyone has a responsibility and a role in the family. Only when we fulfill our God given roles in the family can our family be safe and protected.

A godly family fulfils its God-given roles.

See what God spoke to Abraham regarding his family. Genesis 18:18-19 18Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. 19For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

Listen God is speaking about Abraham that God himself has chosen him and given him promises. But in order for God’s promises to be fulfilled Abraham will have to direct his children and his household (those who dwell under the same roof; i.e. wife, children, in-laws etc) in fulfilling what God has asked them to do. Abraham has a role as a father to lead his family and the family has to obey him.

Therefore it takes complete obedience of the family under the leadership of the father or husband to fulfill God’s promises for the family. A family constitutes of husband, wife, father, mother, children, grandparents, in-laws etc. God has specific roles laid out for every member in a family.

Role of parents and children in a family.

1. What Bible says about children.

Webster’s dictionary defines the word “father” as “a man who has begotten a child.”

Websters dictionary defines the word “mother” as “a woman who has begotten a child.”

Therefore, the father and mother have equal responsibility in raising their child.

Parents, here are some things we need to know about our children.

 a. Children are God’s possession. Psalm 127:3 Children are a heritage from the Lord.

The term heritage means property or possession. It refers to the ancestral property that we inherit. It is not our own but inherited from our father. Children are the Lord’s possession, the Lord’s property. God assigns them to be grown under the parents’ care. So your child belongs to God, you are just a caretaker.

b. Children are a reward. Psalm 127:3b Offspring a reward from him.

Reward means – of appreciation, of pleasure, of joy.

Children are never to be viewed as a sign of God’s displeasure or His punishment for sin. The fruit of the womb is the trophy of God’s love. Wise parents and grandparents take pleasure in children. That is why children bring joy into our lives. A world without children would be a dull world. Their zest, their laughter, their excitement, their unique way of viewing things adds to the fullness of life to the parents.

Since children are God’s possession and reward given by God, parents do not have the right to do whatever you want to do with your children. God has a plan and you need to bring up your child in God’s plan.

From God’s point-of-view there is no such thing as an “accidental birth” or a “surprise pregnancy” or an “unwanted child.” Each one belongs to Him and is assigned rightly by Him to the parents.

c. Children require direction. Psalm 127:4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Imagine a warrior in the battlefield. He has bow and arrow supplied to him by the king but it is up to the soldier to direct the arrow toward the target.

Children are like arrows. A child, like an arrow, is incapable of directing himself. It is the basic responsibility of parents to direct the lives of their children.

2. Parental Responsibilities.

The Bible holds both the father and mother responsible for raising your children.

a. Nurture your children.

Provide for your children, save for your children. Protect them, love them. Make your house a safe environment for your children. Do not make your house a war zone.

Illustration: We know in Egypt Pharaoh issued an edit that all Israelite baby boys should be killed or thrown into river Nile. The law was against boy children. There was no hope for the Israelites. Moses’ family hid him for 3 months and finally the child survived.

Parents, the world maybe corrupt, the devil maybe after our child but if you are godly you can safeguard your children from any schemes of the devil because God is with you.

b. Do not embitter your children.

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Colossians 3:21 Fathers do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

 Exasperate – to make your children very angry or to annoy greatly.

Embitter – to continue to make your children angry over an extended period of time.

Illustration: Tom was just 12 when the Scouts troop planned a family campout. Tom was thrilled and could hardly wait to rush home to invite his parents. Tom wanted so much to show them all he had learned in scouting, and he was so proud when they said they would go with him.

When the Friday of the camp finally came, Tom was ready, put everything in his bag, kept it out on the porch, ready to stuff it in dad’s car the moment he arrived from work. When he looked back mom was still not ready and he shouted, “Mummy we are getting late, get ready. We need to go as soon as daddy arrives.” They were supposed to meet at the school at 5 pm to go to the campsite with other friends.

Dad did not turn up on time and Tom was pacing up and down the gate of his house. When dad finally came it was 7 pm, Tom knew it was too late and kept quiet. Dad explained how things had gone wrong at work and told Tom not to worry and said, “Tom, I am tired and we will get up first thing in the morning and join the others.” Tom was disappointed but hoped for the next morning.

First thing in the morning, Tom was up and had everything in the car while it was still dark. Not finding dad he knocked dad’s room. Dad said they would leave around 7 am but dad never came out of his room until 9 am.

When finally dad came out saw he said, “Tom I am tired. I hope you understand me now that you are a ‘big boy,’ let’s go for the next camp.” Tom was heartbroken, but kept quiet. Soon dad went inside put his golf clothes in, took his golf clubs and stuffed it in the car and went golfing to keep his commitment with his friends.

That is when Tom realized that dad and mom never wanted to go with him to the campsite but for dad golf was more important and for mom off on Saturday was more important than Tom.

Parents do not embitter your children. Do not rebuke your children publicly. When you promise them something and deny them, you are making them bitter. Your words are like God’s words for them. Do not promise if you cannot keep up to the promise.

c. Discipline your children.

Hebrews 12:9-10 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.

Proverbs 23:13-14 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die. Punish them with the rod and save them from death.

Proverbs 13:24 Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.

Proverbs 19:18 Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death.

Proverbs 29:17 Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.

Discipline your children in the Lord. Discipline your children in moral values. Now the method you use to discipline is left to you but we need to discipline our children.

d. Pray for your children.

Pray that your children receive Jesus Christ. Pray that they grow in love, honesty, integrity, purity, mercy etc.

David prayed for Solomon. 1 Chronicles 29:18-19 18Lord, the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep these desires and thoughts in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you. 19And give my son Solomon the wholehearted devotion to keep your commands, statutes and decrees and to do everything to build the palatial structure for which I have provided.

e. Teach children the Word of God.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 6And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

2 Timothy 1:5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.

Teach your children about Jesus, teach them faith, and the Word of God.

f. Parents be a good role model.

We as children are just the examples of our parents. They way you react to your circumstances are just the way your parents reacted to their circumstances. Always know your children are watching you and you need be good role models to your kids.

2 Chronicles 26:3-4 3Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother’s name was Jekoliah; she was from Jerusalem. 4He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done.

You provide your child an example, an identity, moral and social values. Spend time with your children, let them see godly example in you.

Survey: Dads spend 8 minutes a day talking to their children. Working mothers spend 11 minutes a day. Stay-at home moms spend less than 30 minutes a day on average.

Spend time with them, coach them, play with them, have fun with them. Mold them up in the values of God. If you do not spend time with your children, they will they will get on what family values are and morality is from their friends outside.

3. Responsibilities of children.

a. Children are under the parent’s authority.

Genesis 18:19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.

God has placed this authority. You have to respect that authority. Since God has put you under your parents it is a sin against God when you rebel against your parents.

b. Children obey and honour your parents.

Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

Proverbs 3:11-12 11My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, 12because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

Ephesians 6:2-3 2“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise. 3“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

 Joke: A father had won a toy at an office game. He called his three kids together to ask which one should have the present. “Who is the most obedient?” he asked. The children all stared back at him in silence. Then he asked, “Who never talks back to mother?” Again the kids appeared to be mystified by the question. Then the father asked, “Who does everything she says?” With that question, the kids were finally able to come to a conclusion. The three small voices answered in unison, “Okay, dad, you get the toy.”

As children you are to obey your parents, this is the command of God. When you obey your parents you are fulfilling the command of honouring your parents.

Example: When your parents tell you do not go with that friend, do not go out after it is dark, do not wear that dress. Just obey them, it is for your good.

As Adults children don’t stop being children just because they are grown up. Parents still have a responsibility to love and support them. Children still have the responsibility to obey their parents. Remember when you disobey your parents or fool your parents you are in turn disobeying God.

Children can you fool your parents? Yes very much.

Boys, you can tell them that you are talking to your boy classmate whereas you would have talked to a girl. You can save your boyfriends/girlfriends name in some other name and when your parents check your phone they can be fooled. You can bunk you class and tell you went to college. You can tell you are coming to church but go elsewhere.

Remember, When you fool your parents you are fooling God. You must obey your parents in all things. Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Children are to obey your parents even when you do not like it. When you obey/honour your parents. You will be well or happy in your life. You will have long life.

c. Children are to provide for your parents.

Proverbs 23:22 Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.

1 Timothy 5:4 But if any widow has children or grandchildren, they should learn to practice their religion toward their own family first and to repay their parents, for this pleases God.

Children you have a responsibility to take care of your parents especially when they are old, when they are hospitalized it is your responsibility

Let’s commit our parents and children into God’s hands and pray.

Complete series on Prioritizing your life.