What's the point?
When I first became a parent 13 years ago, I really had no idea what I was doing or what I was in for. I had never had a parenting class or ever read a parenting book. To say I was in over my head was an understatement. At the same time, I didn't have any grand plans for why I wanted kids and had no biblical framework on how to raise them.
Thanks be to God for his grace in opening my eyes to my own lack of understanding and ability in this area. Not to mention his grace in giving me a wife who was more knowledgable and able than I could have imagined. We began watching other parents whom we respected to learn from them. We started reading to see what God's Word and others said about parenting. Slowly, but surely, our hearts and minds began transforming. We no longer saw parenting as simply the next stage in life and an opportunity to have miniature versions of ourselves running around. Parenting was a blessing from God and one of the foremost ways we would glorify him by making disciples in this life!
When God created the heavens and the earth in Genesis 1, he made man in his own image at the pinnacle of creation. Man and woman were different from all the other creatures. They were eternal beings with the ability to know and worship God. In fact, Genesis 1:28 says, "And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” God blessed them with the opportunity and responsibility of having children to better worship Him throughout the earth.
This is why we ought to want kids in our life. It's an opportunity to be faithful to God's first command in all of the Bible and the foremost way we will glorify Him in all the world! Unfortunately, when Adam and Eve sinned, their relationship with God was broken and their ability to worship God in this way was hindered. Not only that, but their sinful nature was passed down to all of us, which made worshiping God through parenting not only hard, but impossible! Thankfully, Jesus made a way for us to be able to glorify God again through his death and resurrection. By grace through faith Jesus Christ we can be forgiven and begin living and parenting as an act of worship.
But how? How do we raise our kids according to God's Word in hopes of glorifying him? Deuteronomy 6:4-9 is one of the most important scriptures addressing this question.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Again, they couldn't do this perfectly, which is why they needed to be forgiven by God. But by grace through faith in the coming messiah and savior, they could glorify and worship God by loving him and teaching their children to love him.
But notice who is responsible our kids discipleship. Parents! We are responsible for teaching our kids to love God as we sit at the house, walk by the way, lie down at night, and rise in the morning. No one else is told to do this and no one else would have a better opportunity to accomplish this. In fact, we would be hard pressed to find any scripture that encourages parents to find a church, a school, a class, or a teacher to do this for them. It's the parents responsibility. This is family worship!
Family worship is parents taking the responsibility to glorify God seriously by loving him and teaching our children to love him. If we don't joyfully worship God at home, then it's unlikely our kids will. God has made parents the primary disciplers of their children. This doesn't happen simply during a prayer before a meal or bedtime, as good as those things are. It happens all day everyday! Teaching our kids to love and worship Jesus is just as much caught as it is taught. This is why we need to spend as much time as possible with our kids modeling this for them, especially during the early years.
At the same time, if parents aren't teaching their kids to love and worship God at home, it's unlikely that they will want to worship God with the church. If we aren't excited about gathering with the church to serve and worship God, then it's unlikely that our kids will want to gather with the church for worship. We must model a willingness to sacrifice our time and a desire to worship the Lord in hopes of them being willing and desiring to do the same by God's grace.
One of the ways we can do this at home is by setting aside time in our personal life and family life to pray, read the bible, ask questions, apply the gospel, and sing songs together. By cutting out other things in our life to make this a priority in our life, we are showing our kids the importance of God in our life. This alone won't cause our kids to love Jesus, but it creates opportunities for God and the Gospel to open up the eyes, ears, and hearts of our kids to repent and believe, then to worship and follow Jesus.
We can also do this by gathering together weekly with our church to worship Christ through singing, praying, reading, and listenting to God's word being taught. As we do this regularly with our kids they will learn about God through song lyrics and sermons. They will ask questions about Jesus from the reading and preaching. They will see others repent and believe, then be baptized and take the Lord's supper. They will watch the church give sacrificially of their tithes and offerings to support the work of the ministry. They will watch members follow Jesus by giving up their home and career to go to the mission fields. All the while thinking, "Why shouldn't I repent and believe, worship and obey, give and go?" (For more on Family Worship)
It's worth it!
Worship! This is the point of parenting! Worshiping God by making disciples who worship God! In doing so, we will realize that we are getting more out of it than we thought. We will become more like Christ and less like ourselves. He will increase and we will decrease! Our kids will have an authentic intentional follower and worshiper of Jesus in front of them to hear and see the gospel before them. They will be invited to repent and believe, then worship and follow Jesus themselves. By God's grace they will and then they will be sent out to do the same for their own kids one day. Thus making your 18 years with them not just impact their lives, but the lives of your grandchildren, great grandchildren, and so on. Not to mention those people you and your family impact along the way outside of your home.
I can't think of another thing worth giving your life to more than parenting and worshiping God by making disciples. It's more than worth it!