Shepherding the Minds & Hearts of our Children

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

The weightiest task that the Lord has placed in my life is also one of His best gifts: my children.  Many a Christian parent will affirm to you that parenting isn’t just about rearing young people but refining the parents.  Specifically through showing us our own sin and areas that need growth, as well as teaching us to rely on the Lord and spend time in prayer, interceding for our kids.  It’s a wonderful and heavy responsibility.

I believe the best description for Christian parenting is shepherding.  We are entrusted with guiding, protecting, teaching, and shaping our kids.  And as a believer, this is done with a biblical perspective and with an objective to honor the Lord.  He is the one that we answer to.

Because our hearts are deeply invested in our kids, it can be easy to become anxious about them. I found myself beginning to slide into worry, fear and anxiety over my kids today when a friend shared an article on Facebook about the prevalence of pornography addiction among teens, and how that is affecting their sexual behavior.  Being the mom of two high school students, this is naturally something that concerns me.   Living in an age of instant internet access and constant connectivity, combined with a culture that is saturated with immorality is a recipe for parental anxiety.  And I am not immune.  Thoughts began to swim in my head, “our present age is FAR worse than anything my parents or grandparents had to deal with.  They didn’t have to worry about their kids carrying more sophisticated technology in their back pocket than we used to launch a man to the moon!  The world is bombarding my kids with garbage 24/7, I can’t get ahead of it!”  And on, and on and on.

If I am not careful to keep my eyes on the Lord, I can be easily overwhelmed with worry. But the Holy Spirit was gracious to me and brought scripture to mind.  Scripture, that at first might seem strange to deem comforting.  Genesis chapter 19.  The account of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”  Two angels arrive at Sodom and Lot hosts them in his house.  The people of the city were so immoral and wicked that they turned out in a mob and pounded on the door demanding to have sex with the visitors!  People, this was thousands of years ago.    And before this example of iniquity, the world population was so evil and depraved, God KILLED THEM in a world wide flood, sparing only eight people.  Eight.  How is this comforting, you wonder?  Because, the sin-drenched culture in which we exist in 2016 is nothing new.  Since the fall in the garden, people have been sinners.  And sinners, sin.  Surprise.  The story of man has seen enormous sin and rebellion at varying levels since the fall, and it will continue to do so until the Lord returns and puts a stop to it.  My point is, none of this surprises God.

That doesn’t mean we don’t take steps to guard our kids hearts and minds.  Of course we do.  I occasionally have someone say to me, in respect to how protective my husband and I are with our kids, “you can’t control everything”.  They’re right.  I can’t.  But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t control and set boundaries and limits for the things that I am able to.  That is our job.  That is one way in which we protect and guide our children.  We take steps to do everything we can to protect, guide and shape our kids so as to honor the Lord.  And then we rest in His sovereignty.  He is still on the throne and sovereign over every human heart that has, and will exist.  He is mighty to save!

“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.” (Psalm 127:3)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Soli Deo Gloria!

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