Parenting: Culture’s Experiment or God’s Directions?
The one command given by God that Mankind has consistently followed through the ages is “to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” Yes, today there are those who say, “Enough already! Stop having babies or kill all the unplanned ones.” Yet Earth’s population continues to grow, especially in certain people groups. God has never taken back His command to have children. So how do we as Bible-believing Christians look at parenting? Do we have the option to parent or not to parent? And if we are to parent, has God given specific instructions for how to parent?
You may have heard the poem, “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes _____ with a baby carriage.” That’s the way it was with Adam and Eve and that’s the ideal way with most couples having children.
But there are some couples who desperately want children, yet find themselves unable to “multiply and fill the earth.” Infertility is a problem in Christian marriages as well as in our culture at large. These couples have some options, and every couple must sort through their options to make a wise decision. Some will choose a fertilization process, while others may have objections to that option. Some may choose to remain childless while others object to that option! And then there is the wonderful opportunity of adopting a child. God tells us to care for the orphans (Jas 1:27). The concept of adoption is a beautiful model of God adopting into HIS family those who receive Jesus as their personal Savior (Jn 1:12; Eph 1:5).
Children arrive with Instructions!
Many young parents rush out to buy an “Instruction Manual” on how to physically care for their new baby. While that is good, God has already given us His guidebook for parenting in those areas that make an eternal difference. Whether children are biological or adopted, marriage of one man to one woman for life is the Biblical foundation for the family. Psalm 127:3 makes it clear that children are a reward from the Lord to the parents and are to be treated as little blessings. As gifts from God, parents have responsibility to train them (Pro 22:6) using God's "Instruction Manual."
Parents are to make disciples of their children. It is the parents’ primary role to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Dt 6:1-9; Eph 6:4), with the ultimate goal to introduce children to Jesus through the gospel. Parents are to repeatedly point the children to God until they run to Him on their own accord, having a vital and personal relationship with their Lord. Those children then grow up to train the next generation!
Children learn in the family everything they need to know to live fruitful and God-honoring lives. As they learn to respond obediently to parental authority (Eph 6:1-3), they are learning to respond correctly to every other authority God will put in their life (teachers, husband, boss, law enforcement, etc. -Rom 13). As they learn to get along with siblings, they are learning to get along with friends, neighbors, and co-workers. As they learn to do household chores, they are learning a work ethic that is honorable. As they develop character at home, they will learn to be good and productive citizens in their communities and churches. God established families to bless the whole world (Gen 12:1-3)!
Children also find love, acceptance and security in healthy families. Fathers are to model God’s unconditional love to his family and are responsible for training them in the Lord. Mothers are to assist in making home a place for spiritual, emotional, social, physical, and intellectual development of every child. Home should be a peaceful haven of rest for all.
When cultures go against God’s ideal and experiment with other ways to train children, the result is often chaos and anarchy! It leads to abortion, anger, rebellion, alternate lifestyles, and all the horrors listed in the perilous end times (2Tim 3:1-5). Marriage and family are God’s idea, not that of some ancient society. He established families and left us with ample instructions in His word to have happy and godly families. My prayer is that each person reading this article would experience the blessings of family as God intends, whether you are the parent or the child.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
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