Purposed Parent/Connected Child Podcast Episode 022 - Mature Your Child Toward Perfection in Christ
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Purposed Parent/Connected Child Podcast
Episode #022 – Mature Your Child Toward Perfection in Christ
Are you yearning for greater connection with your child? Would you like to parent beyond the moment with eternal perspective? 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.
Do you ever stop to think about the fact that:
Every decision you make impacts the life of your child.
Every decision you make exposes your relationship with God.
When my husband and I told our family we were going to China to adopt our third child, a ten-month old baby girl in China when we were 44 years old, we weren’t met with approval. In the beginning we didn’t have the support of either set of parents. Although we were not old, we weren’t near the age we were when we began raising our first two children, and we weren’t the young age at which our parents began parenting, either. Since everyone in our family had children at an early age, the idea of beginning what was basically another family in our early forties (since our first two were completely raised and no longer living in the home with us), seemed crazy.
Nowadays, it’s not at all uncommon to begin having children in your late thirties or early to mid-forties. In fact, even though our parents didn’t quickly approve, I think my mother was forgetting that her very own mother raised two biological children with her husband, my grandpa, then after the girls (my mother and my aunt) were raised, grandma got pregnant two more times, which brought my aunts. One is two years older than me and one who is one month older than me.
In hindsight, as we’re now 17 years past bringing home our baby, and we’ve returned to China ten years later to bring home our then 9 year old daughter, I can see that the process of adoption grew my husband and I, as well as our parents. Our first two children also moved closer toward the perfection of God through lessons they learned. Each of us was transformed in ways only God can measure through our obedience to Him through this beautiful and holy step of love.
Every decision you make can bring you closer to or away from the mirror image of God.
Every decision you make can move your child closer to or away from reflecting the image of God.
1 Corinthians 15:49 says, “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”
I treasure knowing that as we establish close relationship with Jesus, and move in humble obedience to His Word and ways, we are being crafted into image bearers of the Lord. As this transformational process continues, followers are able to grasp the special, specific purposes God individually desires for each of us.
Matthew 5:48 reveals the words of Jesus, “’Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.’”
Obviously, no one on earth is or can be perfect. As much as we love our children, we know that they can sometimes be very far from perfect as they follow fleshly desires. So can we. How do we guide them? Let’s examine this verse spoken by Jesus.
1. Jesus is speaking of character. None of us will ever be flawless, so obviously our children won’t, but Jesus calls us to aspireto a character like Christ. As we react to and raise our children, we must be mindful of how our responses and training, as well as our example of daily living reflects the character of Jesus.
2. Jesus is speaking of holiness. In a world of sin and enticement that claims to fulfill our fleshly desires, we must remember to teach our children about the holiness of God. This doesn’t mean hammering them over the head with their unholiness each time they make a mistake, but living as examples of holiness for them to emulate. As we seek and follow the Lord in obedience, our children see what we desire and do. As we are devoted to the desires God carries and shows to us, we are better able to be examples of His mercy and light for our children to learn. The closer we are to Christ, the nearer they will be drawn to Him.
3. Jesus is speaking of maturity. Although it takes time and devotion to grow our maturity in Christ, as we seek and follow Him moment by moment, the changes made to our life become more and more evident. As our children grow and mature, they are able to witness the effects of submitting to holy living under God and see the level of love and devotion we offer Him.
4. Jesus is speaking of love. 1 John 4:18tells us, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” Our children will mature toward perfection as they submit to Jesus and experience and exhibit the love He carries for them.
As we mature in our faith and obedience to the Lord, we are better equipped to mentor our children.
Obviously, each day brings more opportunities to live and grow in Christ, but as we humbly submit to Him, we can live with assurance that we are growing in perfection through Hisstrength. Are we perfect? No, but -
Our character, holiness, maturity, and love are reflecting His perfection within us.
Perfection, in the way we and our children can develop, doesn’t mean perfect as the world describes the word. To develop a more godly or Christlike character is the goal for each of us as parents and to set for our precious children to follow. Only Jesus can fulfill the ultimate perfection. Only He can set the example of what perfection consists of or looks like. As we follow Him, submit and cling to Him, drawour children nearer to Him, obey Him, and proclaim Him, they will be able to witness the Way, the Truth, and the Life and be drawn to Him for a true, deep, and eternal relationship.
1 John 3:2-3 says, “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. All who have this hope in Him purify themselves, just as He is pure.”
Our life under Christ is a process that transforms us to become more and more Christlike as we submit and follow Him through personal relationship.
Our process of transformation won’t be complete until we stand face-to-face with Christ one day, but while we are on earth, we have the opportunity to continue growing in and through Him, striving toward His perfect purity of character and holiness.
As we change, our children are changed. Their present and future are altered.
As we draw nearer to Christ, and desire our children to mature in perfection with Him, we cannot ignore the effects of culture around us and the negative way these values and lies affect our children. On the last podcast, “Say NO to Ungodly Influences in Your Heart and Home,” we looked at a list of ways we may be allowing ungodly influences to penetrate our heart and the home of our children. In turn, this sets our children up to accept or ignore the ungodliness we tolerate. In fact, what we permit in the lives of our family now will become accepted and applauded in the future. Don’t let what culture pushes or idolizes affect your decisions.
Only God’s Word and values should be used to discern what will touch and teach your children.
One item I forgot to add to the list we reviewed in the last episode is the way culture has accepted and pushed LGBTQ agenda in recent years. While I believe this subject needs to be addressed with love and respect, because each person is made in God’s image and with His utmost care, I recognize and honor that the only guide to offer authentic truth and direction is the Bible, God’s Holy Word. If God says marriage is between one man and one woman, that is what we should build our life upon and teach to our children.
As believers, we must focus on God, pleasing and following Him. To those who do not know Him, this is viewed as an act of hatred or aggression, however, if we treat those who do not agree with love as God would do, we do not need to agree with or condone what they do. Neither do we need to shrink away in fear or embarrassment as society would have us do. Each person in the world makes mistakes and sins against God in some way daily. To the Lord, those transgressions are not large or small in the way humans tend to categorize them. Sin is sin. Our Almighty, Sovereign Holy Father allows each of us to make our own decisions about whether or not we follow Him and how we will live our life. Keep looking to Him for guidance and direction. Our heart desire should be to please, honor, and obey Him and to teach our children to do the same.
The acceptance of gay marriage in our culture was a slippery slope that has branched to include much more. Each step moves closer to the next thing, like a chain with many attached links. Although most gay individuals do not accept the agenda that is currently being pushed in our schools, such as transgenderism and sexual fluidity, the movement to accept gay marriage did start the process for more inclusion along the same lines. We need to remember that God does not command us to follow His guidelines simply to impose rules we may not understand, but to protect and provide for us. Whether we tell a lie, rob a bank, entertain impure thoughts, or lust after another of the same sex, God sees the sins as the same. While some say that “love is love,” their human opinion does not matter. The truth is that loving another person’s spouse, a person of the same sex in a sexual way, or an adult loving a minor in an impure way is simply and obviously not the same as the beautiful way a mother loves a child or a man loves his wife. Humans can label whatever we want to do in whatever fashion makes us feel good, but it does not change the truth of how our Holy God views and categorizes the act.
Our children must be taught to know, love, honor, and obey Jesus in order to follow Him all the days of his or her life. This means respectfully and lovingly educating them in the words of the Bible - and first and foremost, modeling a genuine love and humble respect for and relationship with Jesus and others.
Another topic I did not address in the recent podcast episode is abortion. I don’t understand how this is a touchy subject within the Christian community, but somehow, even believers are divided. God created and values life. Each fearfully, wonderfully made person was knitted together in the womb and the days of our life are seen and numbered for specific purposes. Who knows, perhaps the cure for cancer will never be found because the individual who would have found the prevention or cure was not allowed to live and was killed in the womb.
Our children must read, study, and know the words in the Bible to begin to understand the mind of God and live within His holy commands to experience the freedom and joy only Christ can bring. In order to do so, we must be on the frontlines, learning and growing through Christ ourselves. We must value the Lord and cultivate a right and righteous relationship with Jesus so that we are able to instruct our children in the ways of the Lord. There is no greater honor than to be entrusted by God Himself to be a godly parent for the children He has entrusted to us.
Proverbs 17:6 says, “Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.”
Proverbs 23:22 says, “Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.”
Do not look at your life or the ways of culture through worldly eyes and heart.
Entrust your child to God alone and strive to be a mirror image of Him more and more each day so that you can mature yourself and your child to perfection through Christ.
Dear Heavenly Father, only You are holy. Only You are good. This world feeds into the human need for more, for popularity, for acceptance, for riches, for indulgences. All we crave or pursue is actually found in and through You alone. When we trust in You, we find that You , the One who conceived and knitted us together knows the deepest needs of our heart and can fulfill us like no other. Please enable each of us to be the parent You desire. Equip us to be pleasing in every way to You and to help our children become a mirror image of You. Dear Father, help us to stay on the path You chose for us and to guide our children on the path You have carved for them. May they be holy, as You are holy. Help us to excise things from our life that displease You or harm our children now or in the future. We thank you for the loving care You are able to give to each one devoted to following You. Help our children to be one of them. In the precious name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
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Remember, if we are not purposed in knowing Jesus ourselves and showing Him to the next generation, the world will direct them away from Christ. I pray that what you hear on this podcast draws you nearer to God and helps you cling to Him, despite any circumstances in your life. Until next week, keep looking Up while focusing on new ways to Parent and Connect With Eternal Perspective.