Learning From Our Children
God loves children and considers them precious. Their innocence is praised by Jesus and was used to reproof prideful adults who did not appreciate their lowly state.
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” Psalm 127:3 (NKJV)
“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a little child to Him, and placed the child among them. And He said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in My name welcomes Me.” Matthew 18:1-5 (NIV)
Although most parents sincerely love their children, many do not realize how much God uses children to educate their parents in spiritual matters. Our kids are mirrors. They reflect our own behaviors and attitudes.
While maturing from childhood to adulthood we gradually learned lessons in love. We are born selfish creatures greatly in need of transformation. Putting the wants and needs of others before our own is never an easy task, but it is God’s command.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” Ephesians 2:3 (NIV)
Before entrusted with the upbringing and well-being or our own children, we knew little of sacrificial love. Our focus was mostly on self. Self-interests such as hobbies and friendly interactions with friends were our main concern. We had fewer time restraints and obligations that cut into our day-to-day activities. Yes, we do learn sacrificial love through other relationships such as friendship and marriage. But children teach us things other adults cannot.
Infants are totally dependent upon parental provision. They need food, rest, and love. God provides this for all of us. But as adults, we wrestle with trusting God to provide for our needs. A child is happy let his parent lead him through unknown territory. God wants to be our guild throughout life but many of us struggle when He takes us down uncertain paths. Children understand rules and boundaries, although they may not always respect them. God has rules for us too. Do we always respect and obey them? In love, we are called to discipline our children. God disciplines those He loves.
“Because the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in.”
Proverbs 3:12 (NIV)
We do not know if our children will accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We all have free will. However, we are still called to train them up in the way they should go. This means we have to know the Word in order to instruct it. Then, we are to fill our days by talking to them about it.
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NIV)
As parents, we have a responsibility to point our children to Christ in all matters. Hopefully, when they look at us they see the reflection of Christ. In turn, we should also see Christ in their reflection. Their relationship with God should be nurtured and stimulated.
As parents, we are quick to notice God given talents in our children. We happily provide music lessons and opportunities to develop their athletic capabilities. But how much time do we actually spend stirring their spiritual gifts? How equipped are we to educate our children on spiritual matters?
Is God using your children to deepen your own understanding of His commandments?
Is God refining you through the responsibility of being a parent? Do not neglect the reward God gave you. Children are precious in His sight and He has given you a holy trust to cultivate their knowledge of Him.