Sermon Summary Since the goal of parenting is for our children become more and more like Christ, Jesus’ growth and development serves as an excellent paradigm for our growth and development. Luke’s gospel (v. 2:52) tells that that the boy Jesus grew and matured in four distinct areas:  wisdom (ie, intellectually),  stature (physically),  favor with God (spiritually), and  favor with men (socially). Using Jesus’ growth and development as our guide, let’s consider how this impacts our parenting. Parents have a responsibility to help their children grow in wisdom. In the Scriptures, wisdom is “the ability to judge correctly and to make choices consistent with Biblical truth.” True wisdom comes from God (Proverbs 2: 6-7). That is why religious instruction is so important in the home. And when it comes to imparting wisdom to your children, the book of Proverbs should be your go-to guide. This book was written to instruct children in the art of wise living.
The book of Proverbs outlines ten vital life lessons you should teach your children:  to revere God (Prov. 1:7),  to guard their minds (Prov. 23:7),  to obey their parents (Prov. 1:8),  to choose their friends carefully (Prov. 13:20),  to watch their words (Prov. 18:21),  to control their lusts (Prov. 7),  to pursue their work (Prov. 6:6-11),  to manage their money (Prov. 3:9-10; 22:7),  to love their neighbors (Prov. 3:27-29), and  to trust God’s sovereignty (Prov. 3:5-6).
Parents also have a responsibility to help their children mature physically. We need to stress basic things like proper nutrition and wise food choices. They need to be good stewards of their bodies. Parents should encourage proper exercise. The cell phone, television, and computer are your greatest enemies. I suggest that you put limits on how much time they spend in front of a screen each day. Send them outside to get some exercise and fresh air. The cell phone stays inside! We must ensure they get plenty of sleep. Mom and dad need to be on the same page here. Your kids will do much better on a good night’s sleep. They are more alert, and a lot less cranky! Parents need to insist on good hygiene. Regular showers, brushing their teeth, combing their hair, washing their hands, using antiperspirant. Basic stuff, but they learn it at home if they learn it at all. Oftentimes when you see adults with poor hygiene, guess what—it wasn’t taught in their home.
Ok, we need to help our children develop intellectually and physically, we also have a responsibility to help them develop spiritually. Your child’s greatest need is for spiritual regeneration. To use Jesus’ words, they need to be born again. And that new birth takes place when your child places his or her trust in Jesus Christ as his sin bearer. They cannot begin to grow spiritually until spiritual life has been implanted into their hearts. Parents, from a very young age we need to begin conveying to our children the basic truths of the gospel. But spiritual conversion is just the beginning. Once our children come to faith in Christ, the process of Christian discipleship begins. An important part of that process involves modeling various spiritual disciplines, such as Bible study, prayer, Scripture memory, fellowship, and Stewardship. If you don’t have these disciplines in place in your life, it is unlikely your children will adopt them. Remember, it is important that we practice what we preach.
That brings us to a fourth area in which we need to help our children develop: Parents have a responsibility to help their children adjust socially. Jesus grew in favor with men. I don’t think it is a stretch to assume that Jesus’ parents taught him social graces appropriate to his culture. We need to do the same. If our children don’t learn these things in the home, where else will they learn them? The idea is to communicate proper respect. One social skill we need to teach involves good manners. This includes social etiquette, social skills, how to make small talk, and how to dress appropriately for the occasion.
As you can see, we have our work cut out for us as parents. We cannot be successful as parents if we are not intentional in our parenting. We must have a plan. What is yours?
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
- Develop an instructional plan for each of your children.
TAKE ONE STEP…
Each week, write down one doable concrete step of obedience, small or large that you will put into practice this week. (James 1:22: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”)