Purposed Parent/Connected Child Podcast - Episode 002 - Mentor God's Heart
Welcome to the Purposed Parent/Connected Child Podcast
Episode #002 – Mentor God’s Heart
Are you yearning for greater connection with your child and Christ? Would you like to parent beyond the moment with eternal perspective? Do the days seem long, but you know the parenting journey is short? Let’s grow together now with practical tips, scripture, and stories geared to draw your heart to Jesus and guide your child into His arms.
When we brought our youngest home from China at the age of nine, there was nothing I could do to convince her that my intentions for her were good and loving until she spent time with me and learned my heart for her. Some of our earlier days were shared battling hours of tears and meltdowns, language confusion, and misunderstandings. Once she had consistently observed my temperament, action, and reactions, she was able to know what lay within my heart and whether or not she could trust that I had her best interests in mind. True bonding, attachment, and attunement occurred once she had a foundation of trust on which to firmly stand.
Just as she had to learn to understand and trust me, unless we spend time in God’s word, learning His heart and intentions for us, we cannot know Him, show Him, and likely will not see Him grow within our child.
The Bible gives us the way to follow the heart of God. Scripture allows us to be mentored by Jesus, so that we are equipped and empowered to do the same for our children. As we submit to God and allow Him to work within us, our children witness the power of Christ so that they desire Him in their life, as well.
A heart must be prepared to accept God’s word. Just as we can’t expect seeds to flourish when thrust into soil that hasn’t been cultivated, God’s word cannot penetrate our spirit if we are not ready to welcome it. The same is true for our children. If we do not have a loving, trusting relationship established with them, they are less likely to trust a God they cannot see.
You are the first image of Christ your child will see.
James 1:21 says, “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”
Sin not only prevents us from receiving God’s word, but the practice of sin also actually prevents the word of God from penetratingour heart. I find it interesting that the Greek word for receive is translated several times in the New Testament as welcome. When we read or hear God’s word, we must be ready to hear and receive it, to welcome it into our life. We are only changed when the transformative power of God’s words and holy truths penetrate our heart, mind, and soul. It is then that we are filled with His desire to obey and practicewhat He has revealed to us. God’s word must penetrate the heart of your child for true change to occur.
Simply hearing us preach about God has no effect, no power behind the words. True change and relationship blossoms when we have been transformed through the holy power of a saving God. Because of relationship with Jesus, God’s word comes alive in ways a non-believer cannot see. As we spend more time in the word, we begin to crave God more. True heart and life transformation occurs after we read, study, process, and apply His word. Character is changed or created anew when our heart is pierced with the word of God as the Holy Spirit enables us to know and follow His heart. Receipt of God’s word moves us to pattern our life after Jesus, to follow the footsteps of His teachings.
James 1:22-25 says, “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only. Otherwise, you are deceiving yourselves. For anyone who hears the word but does not carry it out is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror, and after observing himself goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom, and continues to do so—not being a forgetful hearer, but an effective doer—he will be blessed in what he does."
If we read the Bible, then simply lay it aside to think and do whatever we please, God’s word brings no permanent value to our life. God calls us to go beyond mere listening to doing. Diligent hearers of the word intentionally dig through God’s word, searching for truths and treasures. They understand and trust that lives do notchange without careful study and application of the material they read. In fact, passages in the Bible are more than words they study; scripture is God-breathedand inspired instruction just for them.
2 Corinthians 3:18, one of my very favorite verses says, “So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”
Every new day offers a choice to believers. Do we follow our fleshly will and desires or do we obediently choose to seek Jesus and draw nearer to Him? Now that we are united with Christ, the veil is gone. We see Christ face to face. His lives within us, transforming us more and more into His glorious image…if we allow Him to do the work He started. God word is truth. A truth that testifies through the holy transformation of God with us. Jesus is the work that moves hearts and changes lives; ours and our children. Christ’s transformative work withinus allows us in turn, to mentor the heart and mind of Jesus to a watching world, and most importantly, the children He has entrusted to us.
Parents are to:
1. Love unconditionally
2. Love sacrificially
3. Love personally
4. Love holy
This type of love is impossible without the saving power of Christ within us. Only Jesus can mentor and fill us with the love He possesses.
1 John 3:1 says, “Behold what manner of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God. And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.”
What amazing, powerful love we have within us! Agape love is not a term we use much in our time. Yet it is the most splendorous love imaginable. This is the type of love God holds for us. This love is extended to us freely with nothing expected in return. A purer, holier love will never be found. None of us are able to fathom this type of love without it abiding within us. Agape love is what we want to carry for our child. It is a love that should be directed to them for the purpose of expressing Christ to them and guiding them to His feet.
John 21:15-17 says, “When they had finished eating, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love Me more than these?
“Yes, Lord,” he answered, “You know I love You.”
Jesus replied, “Feed My lambs.”
Jesus asked a second time, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?”
“Yes, Lord,” he answered, “You know I love You.”
Jesus told him, “Shepherd My sheep.”
Jesus asked a third time, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?”
Peter was deeply hurt that Jesus had asked him a third time, “Do you love Me?”
“Lord, You know all things,” he replied. “You know I love You.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.”
This passage of scripture occurred after the resurrection of Jesus. In it, Jesus asked Peter to tend to His sheep, meaning lead His people to Him. Once Peter realized he had turned from Jesus and followed his own flesh, he repentedand was able to embrace the gentle, yet powerful grace of God and step into the role of the powerful leader God equipped him to become.
God also calls us to feed His sheep, but parents have a special calling, a high responsibility to nurture the children God has entrusted to us. Jesus commanded not to hinder the children from coming to Him. When our lives are intertwined with Jesus and we humbly allow Him to guide and equip us, He will work withinand through us to reach the hearts of our children. When we submit, He crafts us to become the parents He desires, yet graciously allows us the responsibility and privilege of being the first witness of Christ our children will see.
How often do you ponder that you are the first witness of Jesus your child experiences?
Focus on your personal relationship with Christ to bless your life and the life of each of your children.
Once we acknowledge the agape love and power of Christ living within us, how do we begin to mentor the Master to our children? Here are 10 important tips to remember as you parent with the intention of mentoring the Master.
1. Mentors train to teach as they live. Just as an athlete trains, we must purpose to train our heart and mindto pursue Christ. Even when we don’t feel like it. Bible reading and study, exploration of passages to find how they apply to our life, solitude with God, prayer, seeking the plans God has for us and obeying them, and fellowship with other believers will enable us to train our children for their eternal future. As our lives authentically point to Christ, He will genuinely shine Him into them.
2. Know and show Jesus through the agape lovewe receive from Him. As our children witness our life in humble submission and calling to Christ, they begin to pursue Jesus for themselves with dedication and obedience.
3. Give testimony. If you have experienced the changing power of Christ, tell what Jesus has changed in your life. Showthe ways He has transformed you. Share how you and your life are different.
4. Embrace Christ within you. Your words, actions, reactions, and lifestyle reveal all your child needs to know about whether Christ can be trusted. If you profess to be a changed person through the power of Jesus, yet live like every other person, believer or not, your child will not see the difference he or she needs to commit to a relationship with God through Christ. However, if your child sees that you are set-apart and continuing to embody Jesus more each day, they will notice and be drawn toward the love and power of Jesus themselves. Your faithfulness also builds their courage to live a set-apart life.
5. Foster connection with your child through the discernment of Jesus. God created your child for a purpose. He or she was placed with you for this time. Nothing is a mistake or accident. God chose youto parent the child or children entrusted to you. God knows you are notenough. No matter what society tells us, we were not made to be perfect. We do not have all the answers or do all things well. Only God can give you with the discernment , knowledge, understanding, wisdom, guidance, direction, insight, and love that your particular child needs. Pursue God’s best for your child as you prayerfully acknowledge God’s authority and wisdom. Petition His will for your child’s present and future.
6. Make specific prayer request lists. Pray them daily. Pray for God to give you the prayers He desires you to raise for your child. Our Heavenly Father has a good and perfect plan tailor made for your child. Imagine the godly future you desire for your child. Pray for the specifics that come to mind. Ensure that they align with God’s will. For example, don’t pray for your child to become a millionaire. You can pray for God to equip your child with a strong passion for Him. You can pray that God will provide for all of the needs of your child. Pray for a godly spouse if your child is to be married. Prayers like these are surely heard and honored by God.
7. Be mindful of the talents and interests of your child. Knowing that God has created each person uniquely with specific gifts, talents, interests, and desires, we must honor the unique person God made and placed in your care. Our children are not our mini’s. They do not have to carry the same goals and dreams we did. They are not the indicator of our success. Attunement to our child and a strong connection built through Christ will show you many glimpse of the future He may have for them.
8. Offer Biblical encouragement. As you travel a journey toward Christ together, you must remember the individuality of your child. Your faith is not theirs. Your precious child must develop a personal faith and relationship with Jesus on their own. It may be while they are living with you. It may be when they are an adult. Either way, the end goal is to restrain from judging, yet be discerning and observant as to the progress your child is making so that you can continue to parent a wholesome, genuine relationship with Jesus.
9. Pursue Jesus together. Make sure your child sees that you have a desire for Jesus and that you follow through with personal Bible and prayer time. Pray alone in front of your child. Pray with your child. Pray for your child. Ask your child to pray for you. Pray for your parenting in front of your child. Honestly, the list is endless. There are many ways to pray for your child and with your child. Maintain regular Bible study with your child. Discuss the verses you read together, as well as the study points. Allow them to hear study notes from the Bible and teach apologetics and critical thinking so that they understand the basics of Christianity and can defend their faith. The key is to involve your children so that they develop the habits of Bible study and prayer. Then a strong desire is rooted within them and a sturdy foundation is built beneath them.
10. Do not pressure your child to follow Jesus. God Himself does not demand that we follow Him. Our Heavenly Father allows us free will. Our children deserve the same. This doesn’t mean we allow disrespect, rather that we regularly fertilize, cultivate, and water the soil of their heart with the way we live, God’s word and truths, prayer, and connection built daily by wise parenting and attachment.
John 16:13 says, “However, when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak what He hears, and He will declare to you what is to come.”
Never forget or undervalue the powerful Holy Spirit alivewithin you. Submit to Christ, pursue Him moment by moment, obediently follow where He leads, nurture your child in and through Jesus, and experience a relationship with Him and your children that only comes from the gracious, agape love our Heavenly Father can bestow. Life will never be perfect this side of heaven, but it can be glorious when rooted and built on a firm, authentic foundation of Christ.
Gracious, loving Heavenly Father, we come to You in humble submission and adoration. Thank you for the precious gift of Your Son for us so that we can see You, know You, and follow You more clearly. Thank you that through Jesus, we can approach Your throne of grace with confidence and clarity. Enable each of us to embody You in our parenting. Please extend to us Your wisdom, Your knowledge, Your insight, and Your understanding of each of our precious children. For we know they are truly Yours on loan to us for such a time as this. God, we cannot know them, cannot reach them without You. Anything constructed in this world without a foundation purposely built on and through You will not stand. We humble bow to Your guidance and agape love in every area You know we need. Protect our heart and minds so that they seek and reflect You and Your desires and ways. May our children run to Your arms because of the nurture and grace we pour into them and guide them straight to You. In the precious name of Jesus we humbly and lovingly pray. Amen.
Thank you for listening to this episode. The Purposed Parent/Connected Child podcast will soon be available at terrihitt.com, where you can access the episodes housed in one convenient location, receive access to blog posts, read transcripts, and find additional resources designed to mature your walk with Christ and equip you to raiseor influence connected children through Him.
God knows that we are not capable of successful parenting on our own. As we rely on Him, as we release doubts and expectations, and humbly bow to His guidance and experience, we find greater clarity in parenting and a wondrous walk with our Creator that will extend to our children and those around us for generations.
I pray this podcast helps you parent with purpose and deepen your connection to Jesus and your children. Intentionally place Christ above culture or self. Allow Him to work through you for true connection that will draw your children to Him and build a maturing relationship with Christ and your children that lasts for eternity.