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Raising Christlike Children

 

pastor michael

 

 

 

 

By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London 

 

 

 

Foundation Scriptures: Genesis 1:26-28, Malachi 2:15-16, Ephesians 6:1-4

Sunday 28th May 2017

 

As we bring this family Convention series, ‘Build A Successful Family’, to a close this weekend, here is the message titled: ‘Raising Christlike Children’.


Let me start by reading a few foundational scriptures: Here is Genesis 1:26-28; ‘Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Malachi 2:15-16 reads: ‘Didn't God make you one body and spirit with her? What was his purpose in this? It was that you should have children who are truly God's people. So make sure that none of you breaks his promise to his wife. “I hate divorce,” says the Lord God of Israel’ (GNT). Finally, here is Ephesians 6:1-4: ‘Children, obey your parents in the Lord [as His representatives], for this is just and right. Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother—this is the first commandment with a promise—That all may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.  Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord.’


Genesis 1:27-28 confirms that God created man in His own image. Mankind was empowered to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth with God-alike children. When man fell, mankind lost the ability to do this (See Genesis 5:1-4). In Christ Jesus, what was lost has now been restored, through the finished work of Christ. Through the help of the Holy Spirit, we can today mould and fashion our children to be Christ-like, who is the perfect image of God. Hence, the goal of parenting is to fill the earth with Christlikeness.


Malachi 2:15-16 makes it clear that children are ordained to be raised within a marriage union between a man and a woman. This is God’s divine order. He knows what is best for mankind and when we violate His order, we invite pain. Raising Christ-like children is the ultimate solution to the problem of our society. The quality of our parenting will determine the quality of our society and that of the next generation. Our children represent the future of our world. Sadly, the world we live in today is a very hostile world – It is a world where anything goes and marriage is being given another interpretation to God’s original purpose. Parent-children relationships are being distorted by various rules and regulations. We must never forget that the hope of the next generation is hidden in the present.


St. Paul exhorts in Ephesians 6:4 on God’s idea for parenting. ‘Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord’ (NLT). Here are two distinct points that we must bear in mind when raising our children. (a) Do not provoke your children to anger. (b) Raise them in the training and discipline (counsel and admonition) of the Lord. Colossians 3:21 also speaks about this.


To provoke is to make angry; creating irritation and exasperation. There is a delicate balance to be noted here, as there should be room to discipline and correct them; yet we must not cross the line to frustrate them and provoke them to anger. Provocation ultimately leads to a breakdown in relationship between parents and children.

 

Here are 7 ways to provoke your children, which as parents we should avoid:


(a) Overprotection: To overprotect our children is to fence them in, suggesting that they cannot be trusted. It is some kind of stifling, such that they are never given the opportunity to develop their independence. Taking some calculated risks is the right thing to do, if we do not want to deprive our children of all freedom. Allowing them to express themselves gradually, encouraging them to think and make decisions for themselves. Overprotection is not right – such could be interpreted as abusive. Don’t become God in their lives.


(b) Favouritism: If a child is not treated equally to others, it breeds bitterness and anger in the child. A child should never be told that he is not as good as the others. Every child should be treated equally. No child should be made to feel less important. Express love, attention, affection to each of your children.

 

(c)  Pressure to excel unrealistically: When your children are not  performing as expected, academically, athletically or socially, our response to them matters more to them than when they are excelling. Our children should enjoy unconditional love, even when they are not measuring up. Extend grace to them. Encourage them but do not drive them excessively. We must never live vicariously through our children.


(d) Discouragement: We could also provoke our children by discouragement. Avoid nagging and discouraging them. They want your approval, and to hear from you when they are doing well. Instead of tearing them down, build them up. When they made mistakes, encourage them without putting unrealistic expectations before them. The basic identity of a child is formed around the self-image you’ve created with your words. Look for genuine ways to reward and appreciate them.


(e) Neglect: A neglected child will develop into an angry child. Never use withdrawal of love, affection and fellowship as a form of discipline. Keep sacrificing for them.  Be present in their lives. You must be close enough to know your children well. Absenteeism of parents creates a major void in the lives of children, which the devil can easily explore. If you are absent, someone else is present.


(f)  Excessive Discipline: Discipline ought to be used to bring out the best in your children. Psychological or physical abuse should never happen. Each child must feel secure with their parents are around them.


(g) Hypocrisy: Children are exasperated when they are told to do what their parents will not do. Each child must see their parents leading by example. Model Christlikeness to them. Expecting more from them that you have modelled to them is hypocritical – avoid it.


So here is a quote to keep in mind: ‘If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn. If children live with hostility, they learn to fight. If children live with ridicule, they learn to be shy.  If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty. If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence. If children live with tolerance, they learn to be patient. If children live with praise, they learn to appreciate. If children live with acceptance, they learn to love. If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves. If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness. If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and others. If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.’


Here is the second part of Ephesians 6:4: ‘Raise them in the training and discipline (counsel and admonition) of the Lord’. In raising them up, they would need your guidance as a parent towards the desired destination, as they would not get there on their own. We cannot fold our hands as parents and expect them to turn out to be excellent children. ‘To train’ is a Greek word: ‘Paideia’ and it means tutorage. It means education or training, nurture, discipline. In raising your children, they must be conscious of what Christ has done for them, irrespective of their personal performances.


In Christ, your children are successful, victorious, God’s beloved, already accepted and significant!

 

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