It’s a new year and with every new year we set goals with plans to be better people and accomplish more in our lives. As Christians, we plan to be better servants of Christ. This may mean studying more, putting more focus on our prayer lives, being more hospitable, attending worship more often… the list goes on. As Christian parents, we may set goals to help our children become more spiritual, to love God more deeply and to learn more so they are prepared for the struggles in life that lie ahead. We want them to be more involved with their Christian friends. As children’s ministry leaders, we set goals to more effectively reach the children in our church and community with the word of God, praying we will make a big enough impact that it becomes ingrained in their hearts. We want to prepare them for life as well. This means intentional parenting and teaching. I would like to take a moment to reflect on what God says about our children.
Matthew 18:1-6 (NASB): 1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
Probably was not the answer the disciples were looking for as they wondered which of them was greatest. A child is humble and innocent. In the first few verses, we see that Christ expects his servants to be humble like children. Look at how he sees children, as valuable and having the right nature of a Christian, humility.
In the second set of verses we see that Christ understands a child to be innocent and believing. They will continue to learn more and more about God, developing a deeper love for God… unless someone gets in the way. Anyone causing an innocent child to doubt and take the wrong path should be concerned. It is obvious from these verses that God seriously frowns upon this. Think about it. This is the time when our children are most open to God. This is the time when we need to consistently teach and reinforce our mighty, loving God to our children. In fact, studies show that by the time a child is 13, he or she has already decided who they believe in and what their values are. So, those of us who believe it’s not that important to attend bible class and talk about God daily at home while our kids are young may want to reprioritize.
Matthew 18:10-11 (NASB): 10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven. 11 [For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.]
I love these verses. God really believes children are valuable, after all, they are the next generation of His church. He has angels watching over them, over their souls. But remember, God gave us free choice so as parents and ministry leaders, we choose whether or not to lead a child to God and we know too well what happens in most instances where parents did not choose to make it a priority to lead their children to God. Often times it’s not even that parents don’t believe in God, it is that they did not show their children that God is the most important part of life and nothing comes between us and God. Actions don’t line up with God being most important.
It takes raising children with intention. We can’t sit back and go with the flow. No! Our children’s spiritual welfare, their souls, are important. Think about how much effort is put into making our kids believe in Santa Claus. Now think about how much effort is put into making sure our kids believe in God and know who He is. This can be very convicting. It is a new year, a new start. Begin this year with your number one goal to be raising kids for Christ. Do it with intention and see how much it impacts your family.
Need a suggestion? Here’s a simple, 365-day devotional book you can read with your kids. They are short, but powerful devotionals and remind your kids daily that God is an important part of your lives.
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