Someone will disciple your children. They will be influenced by others. The question is: Who are they watching? Who are they listening to? There are influences all around them. Parents, you are the primary influencer in your children’s lives.
Looking at Jesus as the ultimate example, how did Jesus influence His disciples? Luke 6:12-16 gives the account of the call on 12 lives. These are the ones who Jesus is going to put His mark on. Jesus ministers to the multitudes; He heals many…..but His 12 are His FOCUS. He does life with these 12. Just like Jesus, we are doing life with the family. In essence, like Jesus we are running a discipleship program. Think of your parenting as Disicipleship 101, 201, 301, and 401.
What did Jesus do? What can we learn from Him?
1) Jesus knew His disciples. He got into their hearts to know what they were thinking. Ask the Lord to give you the hearts of your children, so you can turn them to JESUS! To really know your kids takes time; it’s an investment in the future by spending time with them now. Quantity time always trumps quality time! You can operate in different levels of authority with your kids, but that doesn’t mean you will gain access to their hearts:
Greg & I invested time with our kids when they were young so that as they grew, we had developed relationships with them that gave us access to know what they were thinking; to know their hearts…and we still invest time in them. We desire to stay connected to them as young adults. No longer is it about authority, but those relationships have become friendships and mentoring relationships.
2) Pray for your kids—You will not know the full impact of your prayers until eternity.
3) Guard their hearts. In order to protect your children’s hearts, be intolerant of the culture creeping into your home. Parents, we need to be proactive on what we allow in our homes—and I am talking about what parents (not the kids) bring into the home. Check the content of the movies/music/television shows/etc that you are watching and listening to. What is the influence on your children? Will those guard your children’s hearts or open them to the immoral culture in which we live? We need to set an example in all things. It is not enough to guard what our kids are watching/playing/listening to—we need to guard our hearts as well. King David said, “I will lead a life of integrity in my own home,” Psalm 101:2 and verse 3 continues, “I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar”. Let that be the high standard that you raise in your home.
4) Family Mission—Jesus had a mission and He lived it before His disciples. Let your kids see you on mission. Mission is something bigger to live for than the American Dream. Maybe for your family it is serving or missions or evangelism or hospitality or caring for orphans.
Choose to bend your lives around the Word of God--
Deuteronomy 6:5- “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them on your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”