To win the war for your child’s heart, you’ll fight three forces. But first, you must recognize you’re in a war!
2. Recognize you’re in a war.
3. Assume your role as a godly parent.
4. Yield to God.
This post calls you to fight once you recognize you are in a war, a war you must win, God willing. . .and he is willing.
3 Battle Forces!
In this battle, you face three strong forces:
First, your child’s natural, selfish nature.
Second, a spiritual undertow.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12
And third, our increasingly wacked-out, confusing, chaotic culture.
Our culture says the best kids are happy and successful kids. This is a lie. The best kids are not the ones who seem happy and successful, who look good on the outside. Rather, the best kids are GOD-honoring KIDS.
The Child’s Heart
Proverbs 4:23 puts it this way:
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Indeed, from the heart flows your behavior. And what you say and do and think expresses your heart. That goes for your child, too.
So when your child misbehaves, he is revealing his selfish nature, his battle-weary soul, or his bent toward a sin-city culture.
OR ALL THREE!
You may be thinking, “No, not my little Ethan, not my little Emma.” But the truth is, every child is selfish and foolish.
The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9
Even kids who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ miss the mark, as do their parents.
Yes, we all mess up. Our intentions may be good at times, but, well, our own desire to please our little darlings can get the best of us. Here’s one of my many “what-were-we-thinking?” stories.
What Were We Thinking?
Laura was about 2.
She knew my weak spot.
At bedtime after I laid her in her crib with five — yes, five — pacifiers (aka, pluggies) — I said a sweet good night, gave her an equally sweet kiss on her chubby cheek, and tip-toed out the door.
By the time I made it down the stairs, I heard:
CLUNK. . .CLUNK. . .and CLUNK!
Three pluggies down. Two to go.
CLUNK. . .CLUNK!
Yes, my sweet, sweet Laura had a good arm. She had whipped her pluggies at the door, knowing I’d come back. She was barely 2 and she was telling us who was in charge. And what was I thinking? Doesn’t scripture say kids must obey their parents? Yes, it’s right there in black and white.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Ephesians 6:1
Winning Your Child’s Heart
The way to win your child’s heart is to focus on their heart, not their behavior only. God gives parents the role of fostering attitudes, behavior, and character. Will you submit to his plan for your child’s heart?
- What behavior problems do you see in your child?
- How have you handled them?
- How does focusing on the heart help your child glorify God?