The Lord gives mothers and fathers unique opportunities to teach their children about godly living. Through their parents’ lifestyle and instruction, kids can discover personal accountability to God.
A. Role Models
As parents, we’re always teaching our kids something. Whether we respond correctly or incorrectly to situations, they are watching and learning. If you ever doubt the influence you have on your children, observe the ways in which they imitate you.
- What kind of actions, attitudes, and beliefs do you see your children imitating?
Read Deuteronomy 6:1-9.
- What command does Moses relay from God to the Israelites (Deut. 6:4-5)?
- What does it mean to love the Lord in this way?
- In your own words, when were Israelite parents to instruct their children about God (Deut. 6:6-9)? Describe the times such instruction should take place today.
The Lord makes fathers and mothers responsible for teaching their children spiritual principles. Oftentimes, young people rebel against authority because their parents have failed to learn His Word and instruct their children in it.
- Did your parents ever teach you the Bible or share something that God had taught them?
- What difference did that instruction make in your life?
B. The Proper Attitude
Teaching children about the Lord demands great patience, understanding, love, forgiveness, and wisdom. You and your kids must maintain good communication. Then, when your children make poor decisions, remember the grace that God has granted you, and give the same to your sons and daughters.
Read the account of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32.
- How does the father in this story symbolize God’s response toward us?
- How can you reflect this same attitude toward your children?
There are many biblical principles that your children should know before they leave your home. Here are a few:
- The reliability of Scripture
- The gospel message and the process of evangelism
- The principles of forgiveness
- Their identity in Christ
- The ministry of the Holy Spirit in their lives
- The basics of effective prayer
- God’s faithfulness in all of life’s challenges
- The principle of sowing and reaping
- Godly stewardship of their time, skills, money and other resources
- Their responsibility and accountability to God
The best way to know how to communicate these principles to your children is to learn and apply them in your own life.
C. Children are responsible and accountable to God
For the purpose of this study, let’s focus on one particular concept. We need to guide our children to recognize and respect God as the ultimate authority in their lives.
As parents, we are our children’s God-given instructors and authority figures only for a season. Ultimately, they are responsible to the Lord for their actions and attitudes.
- Why is it important to begin teaching your children to transfer their feelings of responsibility from you to God while they are young?
- How might this principle impact your children’s behavior when they are teenagers?
D. Three Steps to Help Kids Be Accountable to God
- Allow your children to set some of the standards and parameters for their responsibilities. If they are old enough, ask them to prayerfully consider how they should help around the house, or what time their curfew should be. Encourage them to consult the Lord and make decisions based on His leading. Of course, you will still need to enforce the rules when they disobey.
- What are some of the benefits to this suggestion? What are some drawbacks?
- Is this a suggestion you feel comfortable implementing? Why or why not?
- In what small area could you give your children more say in deciding rules and responsibilities?
- Allow them to follow through with the standards and parameters they have set. Sometimes you need to let children make an unwise decision. Of course, if they suggest something ridiculous, you will have to intervene. But you should let your kids experience some consequences in order to mature.
- Did your parents let you make mistakes, or did they rescue you? What effect do you think that has had on your confidence and willingness to take risks as an adult?
- Most importantly, you must live in a way that reflects your own responsibility and accountability to God. Your children notice when you gossip about a family member or brag about avoiding a speeding ticket. As parents, we must demonstrate lifestyles of accountability to God even in small things, or this principle will be meaningless to our children.
- Evaluate your life. Are you setting a good example for your children by acknowledging your accountability to God? What areas could use some improvement?
Closing: We are all accountable and responsible to the Lord. Determine to model and teach these truths to your kids. If you will actively instruct your sons and daughters, you will be taking powerful steps to safeguard them from rebellion and disillusionment later in life.
Prayer: Father, please give parents the strength and wisdom to model a godly lifestyle. Empower them to fulfill their responsibilities of learning Your Word and teaching it to their children. May hurting families become healthy and happy for Your glory. I ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.