When God gives you a child – as a parent, grandparent or even great grandparent - whether as a tiny infant baby, a foster child, an adopted child, or under some other circumstance, God tells us in Psalm 139:16 that He has plans for your child, even before he/she was born.

We know from scripture that God created us – unique and special – that He knit our body together in our Mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13-14); that we were created in the likeness of God (Genesis 1:27); that He gave us unique gifts and talents (I Cor.12:4-5).  We were even created with different personalities:  for example, Peter was bold and impetuous (John 18:10 or Acts 17:22) while Luke was detailed and meticulous with words (Luke 1:1-4).  We see those differences and uniqueness’s very early in a child’s life.  We discovered, when he was only a few weeks old, that one of my babies was soothed by strains of classical music, while another needed absolute quiet.  As they got a little older one excelled in math while another hated math and loved to sing and dance.

Your child was created by God as a unique and special person.  While each of us is created unique and special, we are all called by God for one purpose.  Luke 10:27 tells us: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.”

If we love God with all our heart, our decisions in life will be based on His principles.  We will glorify Him in all things and strive to bring others to Him.

 If we love Him with all our soul, we will obey Him in all things.

If we love Him with all our strength, we will trust Him in all things and praise and honor Him for His power and majesty.

 If we love Him with all our mind, we will take care not to fill our minds with things which are earthly, sensual, and devilish.  

Because we have different personalities and talents and spiritual gifts, we may accomplish these things in different ways.  Suppose your child is the one who is soothed by classical music, he/she may prefer a quieter more subdued style of worship.  The child who loves to sing and dance will no doubt prefer a more upbeat, more interactive style of worship.  One child may bring glory to God by writing great study books; while another may do it through service to the poor and needy; and yet another will be the one who brings Him glory as a devoted leader in the church or as the person who always encourages others.

As a parent we are quick to recognize that it is our responsibility to feed, clothe, and shelter our child.  As a parent we are usually thinking ahead about education and success in the marketplace.  While these are good things – they pale in comparison to our real responsibility which scripture says is: 

Your responsibility “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to the point of resentment with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; nor by showing favoritism or indifference to any of them], but bring them up [tenderly, with lovingkindness] in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”  Eph. 6:4 (amp).

These words, (laws of God) which I am commanding you today, shall be [written] on your heart and mind. You shall teach them diligently to your children [impressing God’s precepts on their minds and penetrating their hearts with His truths] and shall speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up.” Deut. 6:6-7 (amp)

 If you, yourself, do not have God’s truths in your mind and in your actions, you cannot teach them to your children.

 Don’t ever stop being kind and truthful. Let kindness and truth show in all you do. Write them down in your mind as if on a tablet.  Prov. 3:3 (icb)

 While taking your child to church and involving them in church activities is important – remember this, these verses command that YOU teach them in every aspect of your daily life. Do you take advantage of ‘teachable moments’ to instill God’s precepts?   Do you read to them from the Bible? Do you pray with them? And start as soon as they enter your life to speak and sing to them of God and His love.  Even the infant child is learning.  Researchers tell us that a child is born ready to learn.

 Everything your child hears, everything your child sees, everything your child reads is stored in their mind and the decisions they make for a lifetime will be made based upon what is stored in their minds.  If they play violent video games, their minds have stored violence; if they observe attitudes in the home of disrespect to others, quarreling, impatience, or anger, these traits are likewise stored in their minds.  If they listen to songs with worldly lyrics, they are storing information that can color the truth of God.  If they watch movies or videos that portray characters who have God like attributes, it can diminish their understanding of the omnipotence of Jehovah God.  We could go on, but you get the point.

 While we cannot shield them from all negative and ungodly information, we MUST – in every way possible - make sure that your child sees, hears, and observes that which is in keeping with God’s commands. 

 "Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].” Phil.4:8 (amp)

 Let me encourage you to pray always for your child that God will put a hedge of protection around them to shield them from Satan’s fiery darts.  Pray always for yourself for wisdom and for strength.  If you are the grandparent, pray for the parents.  Teach your child to pray so when their young hearts are broken or hurting, they can go to God instead of depending on this world.

 ... Pat A. Bishop