Being a parent is hard. In addition, as a Christian, you may also feel increased pressure to raise your kids to be good Christians. Check out these 7 godly parenting principles to help you raise your children in a God honoring home.
If you want to be a part of raising a godly generation, start with learning what the Bible says about raising a godly child. The following biblical parenting principles are firmly grounded in scripture and centered around the gospel.
What Godly Parenting Is
What is godly parenting? And what do I mean by “godly”? As Christians, if we want to know what God says about parenting and to parent God’s way, we need to look to the Bible. Here’s what scripture says about godliness.
In 1 Timothy 3:16 (WEB), Paul says,
”Without controversy, the mystery of godliness is great:
God was revealed in the flesh,
justified in the spirit,
seen by angels,
preached among the nations,
believed on in the world,
and received up in glory.”
It’s Jesus! Being Christ-like is the definition of godliness according to the Bible! Jesus showed us how to be pleasing to the Father, conformed to His will, and molded to His character.
Godly parenting is engaging your kids in a way that most accurately reflects the life and words of Jesus. To parent in a way that pleases God, you must seek, depend on, and pursue Christ. By living like Jesus in front of your kids you model godliness.
It is this pattern of Christ that informs the godly parenting principles that follow. We’ll also examine scriptures directed at parents specifically.
First: Put God First
The first principle of godly or Christ-like parenting is inspired by one of the 10 commandments. The most important commandment according to Jesus is, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37, HCSB). Or as God said it in Exodus 20:2-3, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. Do not have other gods besides Me.”
As narcissism has crept its way into the church, so has narcissistic parenting advice. The doctrine that parents are like God or that parents are God on earth is dangerous. It is the original appeal of Satan, “you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5).
Rather, as parents we should have the mind of Christ, “who did not consider equality with God as something to be used for his own advantage” (Philippians 2:6, HCSB).
God is doing just fine in His position, no need for you to step in His place.
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Second: Love One Another As Jesus Loves You
In John 13:34 Jesus called his followers to a very high standard “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” We are called to love others, all others, our children included, in the way Jesus showed us to love.
The command to love presupposes there is a choice, an action that you can take. How did Jesus love? Jesus gave us the example of how to love well. We can love our children like Jesus by choosing to treat them like Jesus treated the disciples.
Third: Be a Faithful Steward
Do you own your child? Depending on where you live, your government or culture may say yes. In constrast, we who are loyal to the kingdom of God believe “The earth and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants, belong to the LORD;” (Psalm 24:1).
Just as a manager or steward doesn’t own what they are put in charge of, we don’t own our children. Our children belong to God and we are entrusted with their care for a period of time. And we will be held accountable for the care we give them.
Fourth: Do Not Provoke Your Children
One of the few verses to directly address parents is Ephesians 6:4. In the HCSB version it begins “Don’t stir up anger in your children” The phrase “stir up anger” in sometimes translated “provoke to wrath.” Similarly, Colossian parents are told, “Don’t provoke your children so they won’t be discouraged” (Col 3:20).
This doesn’t mean we have to avoid making our kids mad at all costs. Kids get angry. What makes your child angry in the moment might be what’s best for him. For instance, today my baby became very upset when I took away some AA batteries she found. She got over it. I think what these Bible verses are telling us is not to provoke our children in a way that results in angry, discouraged, or solemn people.
Fifth: Teach God’s Word
Let’s look at the rest of Ephesians 6:4, as we explore biblical teaching on parenting. Paul instructs parents, “but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” or other translations say “nourish them in the instruction and admonition of the Lord.” Any way you look at it, we are to teach them God’s instructions! This means teaching the Bible to your child in age appropriate ways.
You can also connect your children with different ministries to help them grow in knowledge about God’s word. Awana is a great ministry that helps children memorize scripture. Additionally, bringing your kids to church and Sunday school as well as other Jesus-loving ministries can help nourish them in the instruction of the Lord.
I’ve created a devotional just for kids going over the parables and how they apply to living a Christian life. It’s called Growing In Christ and parents have reported back seeing character transformation in their kids. They have also used it as a family devotional. It has a parent version as well, Parenting in Christ: Lessons from the Parables to encourage you as you model and teach your kids these lessons.
Sixth: Train Up a Child in the Way
The other part of the instructions in Ephesians 6:4 are to raise kids in the “discipline” of the Lord. The word for discipline (paideia) indicates a training of the whole person – molding them into the likeness and holiness of Christ. In other words, we are to raise children in a way helps them take their head knowledge and bring it into their lives.
Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go.” What is the way? Jesus answers in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.”
Parenting God’s way means parenting with Jesus. He is literally called the way in scripture. There is no other way that pleases God.
Seventh: Be Humble
In all that we do, we honor Christ if we do it “with all lowliness and humility, with patience, bearing with one another in love; being eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3). Jesus our model for living and leading was the most humble person to have ever lived.
He, being the perfect holy God, humbled himself, taking on human form while retaining his Godly nature. And through all this he did not lord his position over us, he didn’t “let us know who’s boss.” He washed feet, went without a home, and submitted to a humiliating death. There is no walking in the way of Christ, without walking in humility."There is no walking in the way of Christ, without walking in humility." #humility #faith #parenting Click To Tweet
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Some Final Thoughts on Being a Godly Parent
These godly parenting principles are not intended to be a formula. They can apply across more than one parenting style. In fact, I’d recommend testing any “biblical parenting styles” against these principles. Do they reflect Jesus life – what he said, did, and how he did it?
One of the benefits of raising a godly family, is that making Christ the model, takes the pressure off of you to be a perfect parent. Instead, you can show them that you too need to rely on his perfection rather than our own.
This is how I modeled my parenting Bible studies – after Christ. Again there, it’s not about formulas, but about following in the patterns of Jesus."If we teach our children that Christ is the model, rather than ourselves, it takes the pressure off of us to be perfect parents." #ChristianParenting Click To Tweet
I am not the way. Honestly, I don’t always know exactly what’s right for each of my children, but Jesus does. And he knows what we parents need, too.
“He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.”
– Isaiah 40:11
Thank you Jesus for caring for the care givers!
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