Solomon wrote, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). James Dobson observes, “By the time your child turns ten, you will have spent half the time with them that you ever will.” We all want great kids. But how does this happen? Biblical principles offer ten keys to raising Christian children.
1. Be a good example.
The old statement, “Do as I say and not as I do” is wrong, it doesn’t work, and it isn’t biblical. Jesus trained his children by example. You cannot lead anyone – especially your children – somewhere you have never been.
2. Teach them the fruit of the Spirit.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). Kids who exemplify the fruit of the Spirit will do well.
3. Attend church with them.
Don’t send them to church; take them. Teach them how important it is to be in the house of God, to worship and to fellowship with other believers. Jesus died for the church – the least you can do is take your kids there once a week.
4. Pray together.
Pray in front of your children and pray with your children. Teach them the model prayer early on. This acronym for prayer works well – A.C.T.S. This stands for adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.
5. Read the Bible together.
Ask your kids for their opinion after you read a passage out of the Bible and focus on application. Teach them the principles of God’s word and watch them grow in their faith.
6. Teach them how to be saved.
My greatest joy in life was praying with my son when he came to Christ at the age of six. It is not your pastor’s job to lead your kids to Christ; it is your job, mom and dad. Start early. Share the basic Bible verses that show the way of salvation.
7. Teach them about spiritual authority.
Help your kids memorize parts of Ephesians, about the full armor of God. Teach them James 4:7 – “Submit yourself to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” In order to get over what should be under them, your children must get under what should be over them – God.
8. Teach them to obey God.
This is old-fashioned. But it works. The Bible says the first commandment with promise is to obey our parents. It is impossible for your children to live the abundant life apart from living for God.
9. Teach them a positive outlook.
Philippians 2:14-15 teaches us to do all things without complaining and disputing, in order to become blameless and harmless children of God. A negative outlook creates negative people.
10. Teach them righteousness.
Proverbs 28:1 says, “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” James tells us that God honors the prayers of the righteous. Teach your children that true righteousness comes only from a daily walk with Jesus Christ as Lord.