Doesn't the Bible say if I teach my kids to follow God, they will?
As Parents we would love to set our kids on a right path. We want them to do well. We want them to succeed. As a Christian parent, you would want them to follow God. But is any of this a guarantee?
In Part 1 of our series, we looked at how as parents, we are not in control of the outcomes of our childrens lives. Yes, we can have great influence over them and we should work at parenting well, but God is the one who controls the outcome. In Part 2 we answered the question: "What is our main responsibility in Parenting?" The answer was to trust God. When we do this, we show our kids what a relationship with God looks like. God wants to use us in that endeavor, but we still need to trust Him with the outcome. Today in Part 3 of our series, we will look at what the Bible says about raising our kids and what outcomes we can expect.
A Christian parent would probably agree with this statement; "God does not owe me anything"
Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me. Job 41:11 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Job%2041:11)
But many times we will use passages from the book of Proverbs as if God owes us something. Proverbs 22:6 is one of the primary proverbs people will quote. It says
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+22%3A6)
Doesn't this mean that If I do the right type of parenting formula, my child will turn out right? Doesn't this mean that God owes me a child that does not turn away from Him?
When we take on this attitude, we deny what Job 41:11 says.
Proverbs are not promises, but statements that are generally true.
If we take a proverb and make it a promise, we have to deny what the Bible says in all areas. If we take proverbs to be a promise, we are saying that we can control all the outcomes and we don't really need to trust God (something the previous two posts argued against).
So if you have a child that has walked away from God, ask God for forgiveness for what you have done wrong and seek to make it right with your child, but don't carry the weight of thinking you caused all of this. That is actually a subtle form of pride, because you are still thinking that you are the one that can control the outcome of your kid's life. You might not have shown them what trusting Jesus was truly like, but that child is still responsible for their own walk with God, and God is still the one who is in control.
If you have a child in your house now, raise them well, trust God in it, show them that He is in control. Let God use your example as a witness of His love and grace. God generally uses this in the child's life to draw them to life with Him. But don't be fooled into thinking this is a guarantee and that you can control how they will turn out. God doesn't owe you anything. It is because of His grace that you are saved and that you can even trust Him (Eph. 2:8-9).
We have to trust God with our kids, because in reality, He is the only one that can change hearts and minds.
For more info on Proverbs and Parenting, check out the two links below.