“Stop it.” “Get down from there.” “Donʼt make me stop this car.” These are a few phrases that parents will find themselves repeating over and over during those fundamental years of child-raising. Naturally, parents would love to have children who sit quietly reading their Bible, never scream “Nooooo!!” after being given an instruction, and whose only goal is to honor and obey their parents. Unfortunately, thanks to humanityʼs innate sinful nature, there is no such thing as a “perfect” child or a “perfect” parent.”
As a Christian, parenting becomes more than just teaching kids to respond correctly to commands. Christian parenting goes beyond, “because I told you to.” Ultimately it becomes “because God told you to.” In the last blog post, we emphasized the fifth commandment, “Honor your father and mother...” (Deuteronomy 5:16). While parents may like to think of that command as the best one, God gave another command that He emphasizes as being the most important of all commands.
Mark 12:28-29 says, “One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing He had answered them well, asked Him, ʻWhat commandment is the foremost of all?ʼ Jesus answered, ʻThe foremost is, Hear, O Israel! The Lord Our God is One Lord; And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind, and with all your strength.ʼ
God thinks obedience towards Himself and the act of expressing that obedience through every outlet (i.e. the heart, soul, mind, strength) is the most important thing a Christian can do. Of course with a heart of obedience towards God comes a heart of obedience towards parents since they are Godʼs appointed authority over children.
One way to teach obedience towards God to children is to ask them why they think they should obey. Their reasons shouldnʼt be just to please their parents or to not get in trouble. It should be to give glory to God through their actions. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether, then you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
When obedience becomes more than just “punishment avoidance,” children become more reciprocal to their parentʼs instructions. Children who are obedient because they are trying honor God are the ones who will most likely remain strong-fast in their faith throughout their life. Even when the parents arenʼt there to “monitor” them, children will continue to make correct choices because their faith is now their own and not their parents.