May 09, 2022 Pastor Steve Behlke

Loving Our Children in Helpful Ways

Loving Our Children in Helpful Ways

Motherhood is amazing.

Think of it, your mom loved you from the moment she knew she was pregnant. Then she gave birth to you. It changed her body. Hormones amped out. She maybe nursed you, changed your diapers. Made your favorite meals. Drove you wherever you needed. Hosted friends, sleepovers. Did your laundry. Laughed at your jokes. Cherished every recital, game, good grade. Buffered between you and your father. Prayed for you, cried for you, worried over you, rooted for you. Your mom really truly loved you.  

Of course, moms are mere mortals, weak, broken, busy, stressed, and exhausted, but how God made it, you are incredibly special in your child’s eyes. 

For those of you who are blessed to be mothers, you got to co-create and bring into this world, and nurture a new person made in the image of God.  

This blessing of being a mom enables a woman to reflect in a most intimate and wonderful way, God’s love to another person—your child, your children.

I want to encourage moms to keep it up. For you have an incredible responsibility. But yet your primary calling is simply to love them.

The essence of motherhood is relationship. 

This seems natural for most moms, but it’s not always easy. It takes time. Energy. Sleep. And help. For your cute little baby has a sin nature. And it doesn’t go away as she becomes an adolescent, as she matures into a teen, an adult. At every stage she requires grace. And you want to give it to her but you aren’t made of grace. You need Jesus, to abide in Christ.

Motherhood is about relationships—first with God.

I don’t have to tell you this. But let me encourage you to take the time to meet with Jesus. Some time in the word. Each day in prayer. Let Jesus fill your cup. Trust Him for the patience, gentleness, and love He offers. Let Jesus Christ forgive you any built up guilt. Any built up shame or regret…

Motherhood is all about relationships—This is the relationship that sustains you and gives you peace to soar. So, first with God, then with your husband, then your child. O and also with experienced moms, godly women.

Titus 2:3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women [young wives] to love their husbands, [because loving, Christ-centered marriages are the best soil for children to grow in Christ’s likeness. And] to love their children,... 

There’s not a lot here when it comes to motherhood—love your husbands, and love your children.

Moms, you’re really good at loving your children. But love as God does. 

God's goal is not that we, His children, never experience hurt, loss or sadness. We won’t mature that way, nor be of much help. God loves us in ways that help us to trust and walk with Jesus and mature in His likeness. That's His goal is for His children. And it starts in the home with mothers and fathers...

So I just want to list three helpful ways to love our children…

1. We love our children in a helpful way by growing them in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

This isn’t just the mother’s role; it’s dad’s too. But especially when they are young, moms, you may have a more intimate connection, more opportunities, and you may have an easier time sharing Jesus with them.

The Apostle Paul wrote to a young pastor and friend of his,

2 Timothy 1:5 For I am mindful [Timothy] of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.

2 Timothy 3:14 You, [Timothy] continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 that from childhood [through your mother] you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation [not justification, but sanctification, glorification] through faith in Christ Jesus. 

Father’s it’s your responsibility, but dads and moms, teach your children about Jesus. Who He is. You don’t have to be a scholar—tell them what you know. What you trust. Tell them what He did. And why you trust Him. 

I.e., Train them in why they can trust and follow Jesus in all they face. Don't expect them to know. And don’t trust the world to teach them.

Don’t so protect them from the world that they don’t know how to combat it. Equip them for the battle. 

We as parents, as fathers and mothers need to help our children,

2 Cor. 10:5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

Read them great books. And pray for our children,

Eph. 1:17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.

They are in class five days a week. They need to hear from you. Bring them to GU Kids each week. They need to talk about Jesus with other kids, too. 

2. We love our children in a helpful way by affirming their God-given identity. 

Identity is a heart word that is related to who your child is. And it is under siege today. As moms and dads, we need to proactively build into our youngest children a strong sense of identity, significance, and destiny. 

Today, we need to affirm their character, and strengths, AND their gender.

Considering the spirit of the age, in some schools, some classes, shows they watch, you need to protect your children at the core of their being. 

Your child has a God-given need for significance in his identity. But if this need for significance goes unmet, he can question his identity.

Want to be something more. Or different. Kids naturally question themselves. They don’t always like how they are. Boys may not fit masculine ideals. Girls may not fit in feminine ideals. They may be made fun. Bullied. Feel inadequate on the playground, in the classroom. If they do not feel significant in who they are, and another way to identify is cheered, given high status, the promised significance is alluring. 

Love meets this need with affirmation. A father and mother’s affirmation builds into our young children a strong sense of identity, significance, destiny.

A helpful way to love your child is by affirming who God made him or her to be. Their character. Strengths. Their sex. Affirm your son’s masculinity. Don’t nag that he’s too aggressive. Help him to value being a boy, a male in all its meaning. Affirm your girl’s femininity. Don’t mock her fears. Instill the value, beauty and strengths of being a female.  

Moms and dads can love your child in a helpful way by affirming and helping them to see the strengths and talents, the character traits and qualities that our Lord wove into them. 

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it. 

Know your child. Help them reflect God’s image, not yours. They need the grace of a parent to understand them. To see how God blessed them. To see things in them that they don’t see. They have so many insecurities. They don’t always like how they look, who they are, or how they compare. 

Affirm their strengths. 

Moms, you’re probably doing this naturally. You love your children.

Here’s a third helpful way to love your children, and this may be a common blindspot for many moms today. And more and more fathers too. BUT…

3. We love our child in a helpful way with diligent discipline.

Our heavenly Father loves us even when we are pig-headed, disobedient, totally selfish, and totally justifying our sins. But for our sake, He lets us know what is right and wrong, and He does not simply ignore our actions. 

Revelation 3:19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. 

God knows that if He doesn’t intervene we can just go on in our sin. And if we do they will destroy us. He calls fathers and mothers to love their kids this same way. He uses very strong love language to communicate it to us,

Proverbs 13:24: Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. 

He says this frequently; He says this is loving. He says this a lot because we think think discipline is unloving. We feel guilty disciplining. But this is loving; this is helpful. This is an area to humble ourselves and yield to God. 

Hebrews 12:11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

Moms, you only want to express love to your child. Awesome. Godly discipline is an act of love! It is never fun, it’s painful. But in the long run, diligent, loving discipline blesses your child with wisdom and boundaries to prepare them for a righteous life marked by peace, not violence. (Trust Jesus Christ)

This doesn’t negate that motherhood is ultimately relational, extending love and grace. Things moms value. For these are the very qualities God extends to us. Love and grace are what draw us to Him. Because of His grace, we can be honest with Him. Because of His grace, discipline works.

And if this is so in our relationship with God, how about with our kids?

When you trust God with this you aren’t doing this alone. 

And when it’s all too hard. And you don’t have any more strength or patience or gentleness, Christ is your strength, your help in times of trouble. 

Take a break. Open your bible. Pray. Cry out to God whenever you feel overwhelmed, when chaos has overtaken the home. Get with your husband.

Call a godly friend. And remember what God has promised you…

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

2 Corinthians 12:9 … “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” 

You don’t have to be strong or on top of it. In fact, best to admit YOU'RE NOT. And to trust the Lord and turn to Him.