Children are God's greatest gift to your family, of whom He has placed under your guidance and care for His honor and glory.
Every home seems to come alive wherever there are little ones present. Yes, it can be daunting at times with kids around, but all in all they help each of us to grow as a parent and give unity to the family.
Besides the gift of salvation, I believe the next best gift God has allowed many of us to have and experience, is to become a parent of a precious child to love and nurture, to win for the Lord, and ultimately to disciple that child by raising him/her up to work for God's kingdom!
I am a parent of a beautiful daughter, who is an adult and married now, but I can honestly say that she has been a tremendous gift to me and her father over the years. We can see that through our loving and nurturing her from the Bible, it has made all the difference in the world, from her choices and decision-making to her sweet disposition, and overall attitude about life. Thank the Lord she is saved, loves the Lord, and knows where she will spend her eternity. She is a witness for Christ wherever she goes and for that we are very thankful.
Also I have worked for many years with parents, teachers, and within the childcare industry and, although yes there are many parents who give their young ones lots of love and nurture as much as they are able to give and do; however, there are those kids who have none to very little love and nurture in their lives. And, with further observance, I find that they have a very hard time in giving love back to others. Their young lives are dismal and depressive and they don't seem to get along in life very well from it. It is obvious that when there is love and nurture, one can begin to thrive in all aspects of life.
As parents we demonstrate love and nurture in different ways, many of which may come from our experiences originating from our own parents and friends from the past. This is so important in a child's life and it affects everything in his/her life.
The Bible has a lot to say regarding how we as Christian parents are to love and nurture the precious little ones He has given us. He would not just place them in our lives without giving us instruction on how we are to care for and treat them. Here are a few scripture passages that may help you learn more of what He expects:
As your kids grow from infancy stage on up to their young adult years, they are constantly learning and growing at a fast pace and before you know it, they are out the door and on their own. It's a frightening thought when you find that so much time has past and you've not presented the gospel to them.
Yes, they are indeed a gift from God but we are not to raise them just any kind of way as we see fit. The fact, according to Scripture, is that you and I are all accountable to God for our children and how we train and raise them up. Look at what these verses tell us regarding our accountability to Christ:
At times we feel as though our kids are just an extension of ourselves--"a chip off the ole block", or perhaps you feel as though the reason your child is in your life is to make you look good, or for some other prideful reason. Your job, my job, every Christian parent's job is to raise our children with right Biblical foundation, so that they too may learn the gospel, accept Jesus into their hearts, and live the rest of their lives dedicated to Him and His service.
How do we do this? Certainly it is not so easy, but it does take time-sometimes years to see the fruit of your labor.
You begin right from the day they are born, and continue on a daily basis (as long as they are presently living under your roof) you present them with the gospel message. A beautiful picture of having a daily walk with God is given in the Old Testament where God gave instructions to His people, the Israelites. Here we find it in Deuteronomy 11:18-21 which states, " Therefore shall ye lay up these My words in your heart, and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the doorposts of thine house, and upn thy gates: That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth."
This is how you perform the everyday task of biblical teaching and training of your little ones. You read the Bible to them, helping them understand that God's Word is "a lamp unto their feet, and a light unto their path" (Ps.119:105). You sing and teach them songs in praise to the Lord! Show them how to be thankful to God in everything! You thank God together at every meal, you give Him thanks for your life, for friends, family, schoolmates, and so on. You demonstrate prayer by example when you pray with your kids and allow them to pray as well. This leads to developing trust and obedience to God as a disciple and follower of Christ. Furthermore, it is vital to teach them how to thank God for the good and the bad in life, knowing that He works everything out to their good and for His glory in the end.
Further down the road you continue to show them God's love, mercy, and grace as you take them to church to pray, worship and praise the Lord with other believers through biblical training, and where they will learn more about salvation and baptism. Also, your children will learn of how to live the Christian life through the hearing in preaching and teaching of His Word.
Lastly, you teach your child to tell others of the gospel of Christ, and not to keep the Good News to himself/herself, but to always share it with others. Be the example you want for your children. Go with them if you must, as a support for spreading the true message to those who are lost in sin. Your child's witness can propel him/her into a full time ministry where the gospel can be preached/taught on a continual basis and become part of his/her work for Jesus. He/she can also learn about the spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit gives freely to share in the body of Christ.
Perhaps you can correlate a little bit of how much our Heavenly Father loved us in that He gave us this wonderful and truly unique gift, His only begotten Son, and relate that somewhat to your own children as the precious gifts God gave to you as well.
He gave you and me our children so that we might raise them first and foremost in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, so that the Good News of His Son is spread abroad to those who have yet to believe and place their faith, trust, and obedience in Him also. Let us continually be reminded and encouraged to treat and help grow our kids into the helpers that God will one day need for the growth and expansion of His kingdom.