Raising godly children is not for the faint of heart. You no doubt know of children who were raised in the faith—and yet fell away. Sadly, this is not as rare as you would think. Yet for many dads who grieve for their prodigal sons or daughters, let’s agree on one thing: the story isn’t over yet. There is hope. God isn’t finished with you or your children.
We ultimately can’t control what our children will believe or do. But wouldn’t you want to do everything you could to increase the chances that they’ll live godly lives? This list isn’t exhaustive. But, I’ve found these five things go a long way for raising godly children.
We talked most recently about 6 biblical ways to prevent bad communication. Those strategies were your “watch out” list. What follows is your list for how to go on the offensive and be a godly husband and father. Most of my last few posts come from my Breaking Barriers Field Guide meant to help you pull your child closer through better communication.
Here are five (5) things required for raising godly children:
1. Preach the gospel to your children.
My wife and I faithfully presented the plan of salvation to our children when they were young. I was surprised when they grasped the concept. It didn’t always happen right away but eventually it sank in. Preach it! Never assume your children will hear it from church or anywhere else. They need to hear it from you.
Romans 1:16 says:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes….
2. Saturate your children with Scripture.
The Bible is a weapon. It’s a life-changer. The Word is alive and can break through our children’s walls. It cuts to the heart more than any words we’ll say. Why not find a verse or two to pull out at your next talk-time? Biblical parenting lets God’s Word speak through you.
Hebrews 4:12 says:
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Deuteronomy 11:18-19 says:
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
3. Teach (and model) spiritual disciplines.
When we read the Word, pray, have fellowship, worship, and deny ourselves in various ways, not only do we benefit by cultivating a stronger relationship with the Lord, but our children benefit as well. If we seek holiness, we are ultimately showing our kids how to do it. When we get closer to the Lord, it shows them how they can draw nearer, too.
Titus 2:11-12 says:
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age….
4. Fight against the darkness.
Have you ever endured spiritual warfare in your family? I can tell you from experience that the enemy is real, and wants to take you down. Satan wants to keep you from leaning into your relationship with God; he will try to increase your addiction to comfort just as much as he will attack your faith and your children. Be on guard!
1 Peter 5:8 says:
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
2 Corinthians 10:4 says:
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
5. Obsess over your marriage.
If you’re married, there is no greater source of peace and strength for you as a dad. At the same time, we must work on our marriages, or they can become a source of strife and heartache that our children will take into their own marriages. Consider the following verses and then commit to learning how to be a better husband and father.
Proverbs 12:4 says:
A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.
Proverbs 18:22 says:
He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.
Let’s pay attention to every aspect of our lives, because our children are watching us. They are looking for faults, for wisdom, for weakness, for love, and strength. They’re hearing what we say and feeling our love (or lack of it).
2 Corinthians 8:21 says:
For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.
Do you see your children as kingdom-builders, who will go out from your protection someday to face the world? Let’s capture their hearts. Prepare them for the work God has for them, for the new generation he wants to raise through them. Draw them close and then watch them embark on their own God-given adventures.
Let’s rest on Psalm 127:4-5:
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.
Question: Which Scripture from the above section will you commit to memory this week?
Does raising godly children sound impossible?
You can pull your child closer through conversation. Breaking Barriers will help you better connect through asking your child smarter questions. Find out more about the Breaking Barriers Field Guide for dads.
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