Day 29 — One Reason Children Rebel Against Their Parents
31-Day Parenting Devotion
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. — (1 John 4:18)
Parents have the responsibility and privilege to guide their children into a practical experience of knowing and loving God. Though all children are born with a limited God-awareness, you can cooperate with the Lord in the process of connecting that immature, innate awareness of God in practical ways that could lead to their salvation and progressive sanctification.
The primary ways you do this are by your attitudes, words, and actions. These three characteristics become the most significant shaping influences that will motivate your kids to either imitate or reject you, which will affect how they respond to Jesus.
Though you cannot make your children righteous or unrighteous, you are called by God to cooperate with Him in their salvation. You do this by modeling the life of Christ before them (Ephesians 5:1) and teaching them all the things He taught you (Matthew 28:19–20).
If you are not modeling and teaching the life of Christ to your children, the chances of them rejecting your Christianity by the time they are teenagers is exponentially higher than if you humbly present Christ to them while they are young.
The biggest culprit that hinders their thoughts about Christ is fear, which is one of the first sin patterns you’ll see in their lives. You want to be proactive in helping your child overcome fear, which is why I’ve listed seven negative patterns for your consideration. If any of these represent you, it would be wise to remove it from your life.
- A distant parent
- An angry parent
- An abusive parent
- A critical parent
- A preoccupied parent
- An impatient parent
- A divorced parent
Some of these traits may be unavoidable, but you must know that they can become mental strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:3–6) that will negative shape your child.
Being born in Adam is to be born with fear, which makes fearfulness part of everyone’s Adamic wiring. Younger children are highly susceptible to fear; they need the security of a family community. If they do not find it, when they become older, the temptation will be to hunt for a “safer” community outside of their family.
Running from fear and toward acceptance is one of the primary reasons a teen will distance himself from non-Christlike parents. He is looking for a more approving and loving community. Knowing this tendency, along with the accompanying temptations should motivate you to build a friendly and safe environment for your child.
A simple biblical template to build this kind of home is the fruit of the Spirit constellation in Galatians 5:22–23. These nine elements give you a snapshot of what Christ was like, and what you should be like to your children.
Examine Paul’s “template of Christlikeness” to see how well you are doing and how you may need to change. You can preface each Christ-trait with this question: “Are my children experiencing (the fruit of the Spirit) through me?”
- The love of Christ
- The joy of Christ
- The peace of Christ
- The patience of Christ
- The kindness of Christ
- The goodness of Christ
- The faithfulness of Christ
- The gentleness of Christ
- The self-control of Christ
You cannot save your children or make them holy. You also cannot live perfectly. But you can choose not to complicate their lives, which you can do if you give them the clearest possible picture of Jesus.
Time to Parent
Talk to a friend, preferably your spouse, about how the fruit of the Spirit is manifesting in your life. If there are areas that you need to change, detail a specific and practical plan to begin changing.
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Originally published at Rick Thomas.