Mentoring Your Child’s Heart: Your Priorities & Time

29 July 2018 PM – Jeremiah 9:23-24 – Mentor Kids – Scott Childs

Introduction: What do you really value in life? What things are important to you? What goals have you set for your children? Many parents place a high priority on education that will secure a high-paying job for their child. For other parents the high priority is on excelling in sports, being popular, dressing fashionably, or developing showy talents. Have you ever asked yourself what God says our priorities ought to be? Turn to Jeremiah 9:23-24. God wants our priorities for our children to be that they understand and know God. God delights in that. In eternity, which will be of greater worth, the typical human priorities or God’s priorities? The answer is obvious.

As you seek to mentor your child’s heart for God’s glory, you must be sure that your priorities and time are aligned with the Bible.

Transition: This evening I want us to focus on the influences of our priorities and our time with our children.

1.        Your Priorities have a Major Influence
a.         You live your priorities
1)         Live in the 21st Century is busy, yet we all make time for things that are important to us. Those things are our priorities. We also emphasize to our children things that are our priorities for them. In your mind, you may have a list of things that you think are your priorities and things that are less important to you, but your true priorities are what you actually emphasize in life.
2)         If you want to identify your true priorities, ask your children. They know what you prioritize.
3)         How important would your children say these are in your life? Bible, Church, Witnessing, Serving the Lord, Missions, Mentoring your children
4)         How important would your children say these are in your life? Work, Sports, Hobbies, Money, Education, Good looks, Achievement, Fancy possessions
5)         As God sees your life, what would He say are your true priorities? (Proverbs 21:2) “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.”
b.         You pass on your priorities
1)         Last week we noted that children learn most from our examples. They are constantly watching us.
2)         Parents that live materialistic lives will likely pass on a materialistic mindset to their children. Parents that are sports fanatics will likely pass on a fanatic love for sports to their children. Parents who have a flourishing relationship with the Lord will likely pass on that love for the Lord to their children.
3)         Encourage your children to serve the Lord with you, to go with you to pass out tracts and witness, or to help someone in need.
c.          You may push your priorities
1)         It is common for parents today to urge their children to pursue good grades so they can get an excellent-paying job. That may be okay if it is truly God’s will, but often they do not even consider God’s will.
2)         Many parents try to live out their dreams in their child’s life (e.g., sport’s hero, beautiful, popular, rich)
3)         A priority of other parents is to make life easier for their children than they had it as a kid. They seek to remove all the things they disliked as a child (e.g., I had to do dishes and clean house all the time, I never had any spending money, I had to eat all my vegies, as a boy I had to share a room with my brother).
4)         Dads tend to expect their sons to like what they like. We must not forget that God makes every one of us individual with individual interests. (e.g., My boys did not all like carpentry as I do).
d.         We ought to promote God’s priorities
1)         Once again, we must obey (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22) “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” We must sift our priorities through God’s grid. Remember what God told Jeremiah. Keep your eyes on eternity. (Colossians 3:1-2) “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”
2)         Pray with your child to help him find God’s will. Begin when he is young. Help him seek God’s will in every decision.
3)         It is far more biblical to praise good attitudes than it is to praise good achievements. It is not wrong to say, “You did a good job! I am proud of you.” However, it is far better to say, “God was pleased and so was I when you stayed calm instead of getting upset.” “I am proud of the way you acted when the kids were teasing you.” “It is a blessing that you always do your jobs with a sweet attitude. God will bless you for that.”
4)         Encourage your children to pass out tracts and to have a burden for the lost. Show them how. Teach them how. Pray with them about this. Keep their focus on glorifying the Lord.
2.        Your Time Together is a Major Influence
a.         It is tempting to be selfish with time
1)         A hen must sit on her eggs for 21 days in order for them to hatch. If she neglects the nest too often or too long, the chicks will not hatch. The same is true for mentoring your child. It takes regular time with your child to warm his heart and develop him into all that God wants him to be.
2)         As a parent, you have only a limited amount of time, but you must be willing to sacrifice your time for your children. When I was younger, I remember hearing a father say that he gave his children quality time rather than quantity time. That is not God’s answer to the problem. While children do need quality time, that can never substitute for quantity time.
a)         It takes time to share love.
b)         It takes time to build friendships.
c)         It takes time to show that you truly care.
d)         It takes time to discuss and resolve burdens.
3)         Do not be selfish with your time when your child has a genuine need. Those needs often come when the parent is busy. It will be tempting to say, “Not now, I am busy” or “It is time for bed, we can talk tomorrow.”
4)         Sacrificing minutes of precious time now will likely save you hours of painful heartache later. Prevention is better than cure. Invest time to build healthy relationships with your children. Take time to mentor their hearts.
b.         Mentoring a child requires significant time
1)         Pastor Terry Coomer makes this helpful observation, “I can lose my child’s heart because I am never home.  There are many parents who are just never home.  Jobs, activities, travel, sports, lusts, and the list goes on and on.  How can I convey anything to my children if I am never home?  I cannot parent my child if I cannot parent myself!  If I cannot discipline myself to be home, I will lose the heart of my child.”
2)         Make yourself available to your child 24/7. Be willing to drop what you are doing when your child truly needs your help.
3)         Work diligently on developing transparent communication. Listen without scolding to make it easy for them to be transparent. Patiently seek to get them to open their hearts.
4)         Interact with them on their level, especially when they are young.
5)         Set aside individual time [weekly] with each child. Go on walks together. Play games together. Do things together that they think are fun.
Conclusion: Without even knowing it, we all have priorities in life. If you have not really evaluated your priorities, I urge you to do so. Test them honestly with the Bible to make sure they honour the Lord. If your priorities are not biblical, you will confuse your child and turn him away from you. If you have been hoping that quality time will make up for quantity time with your children, you are fooling yourself. Just like the mother hen, it takes time together with your child to “hatch” a godly young person.

Song: Teach Me Thy Way, O Lord – 337