Mentoring Your Child’s Heart: Your Example & Guidelines

22 July 2018 PM – 1 Timothy 4:12 – Mentor Kids – Scott Childs

Introduction: I read a story of a father who spent time every day in the pub. However, he was always warning his son never to drink. Then one snowy day on the way to the pub, the father turned around and saw his son carefully placing his steps in the footprints of his father. He turned and picked up his son, never again to touch liquor.

The old saying, “Actions speak louder than words” is very true.

Transition: This evening I want us to examine the influence that your example and your guidelines have on the mentoring of your child.

1.        Your Example Influences Your Mentoring
a.         Your example is a board topic
1)         We have already touched on this in previous messages as we looked at your character traits, your walk with God, your marriage, your home life, your serving the Lord, your family Bible time, your discipline and your apologies.
2)         However, your example goes beyond those topics. Just as God commanded Timothy to be an example to believers, every parent must be an example to his child. (1 Timothy 4:12) “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
b.         Your outer life needs to be a good example
1)         You must be an example in word. You must guard the words that come from your mouth. (Psalms 19:14) “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Proverbs 16:24) “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” (Ephesians 4:29) “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
2)         You must be an example in conduct. Your conduct includes your spending, your work ethic, your honesty, your self-control, your choice of friends, and your ambition. (Philippians 1:27) “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;” A helpful question to ask is, What would Jesus do?
3)         You must be an example in love. You must truly love God. You must truly love your spouse. Love is caring, sharing, comforting, encouraging, edifying and empathising. Love is also dealing biblically with sin and disobedience. Have no favouritism among your children. The patriarch Jacob favoured his son Joseph that led to many heartaches.
c.          Your inner life needs to be a good example
1)         You must be an example in spirit or attitude. God tells us that a spirit of wrath or anger stems from pride. (Proverbs 21:24) “Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath.” Something did not please ME! It is a spirit of anger (an irritated response) that leads to anger. Anger will quench mentoring like water on a fire. An angry spirit is sinful and hurtful but a merry spirit is healing. (Ecclesiastes 7:9) “Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.” (Proverbs 17:22) “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”
2)         You must be an example in faith. In addition to your walk with God, seek to add to your faith as Peter outlined (2Peter 1:5-8; virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, love).
3)         You must be an example in purity. You must control your thought life. Impure thoughts and lusts are sin. Though you may hide them, God knows all about them and their presence will quash your fellowship with God. (2 Timothy 2:22) “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Impurity will hinder your mentoring.
O  Your children are watching (and often following) your example. If your example is bad, it will put a huge wedge between you and your child. If your example is godly, it will help to win their hearts and enable you to mentor them.

2.        Your Guidelines Influence Your Mentoring
a.         Guidelines are like fences
1)         Guidelines are for safety. Restrictions are for protection.
2)         In Bible days, shepherds build fences around their sheepcotes to keep the wolves out and the sheep in. In our homes, we must build fences keep vices out and virtues in. Guidelines are one of the fences we need.
3)         God gives us many verses on “building fences” in our lives. Here is a brief sample.
a)         (Proverbs 4:23) “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
b)         (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22) “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
c)         (Romans 13:14) “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”
d)         (1 Corinthians 7:1) “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.”
4)         You and your spouse must build Bible-based guidelines for your family. Use Bible verses like those we just read, not your feelings, as you form your guidelines. Show your child the Bible basis for each guideline.
a)         Some of the issues your guidelines must screen include the Internet, media, mobile phones, music, games, language, manners, friends and dress.
b)         Set guidelines for appropriate conduct with the opposite gender. Be specific! Boys do not help little sister use the toilet. Genders bathe separately. No child goes unclothed in public. Boys never enter sister’s room after bedtime. Mum always dress modestly when around your boys, even at bedtime. Dad and boys must never inappropriately touch a girl. Allow no provision for the flesh. Do not assume your child will always do right in these areas. Sinful passions begin at an early age, especially with boys. Mum, be strict in this area! Teach it and enforce it.
c)         Set guidelines that will help to prevent addictions, pornography, debt, over-eating, laziness, staying up too late, over-sleeping, and other vices.
d)         Adopt guidelines for relationships. Prepare your child for marriage. Begin early. Teach courtship not dating. Teach no touching until marriage. Even holding hands primes the pump for more intimacy.
b.         Biblical guidelines assist mentoring
1)         Biblical guidelines will prevent many wolves from entering your home. With biblical guidelines to protect your family, your child is much more likely to give you his heart and allow you to mentor him.
2)         Biblical guidelines will make it easier to address issues that come up. Regularly ask your child how well he is following your biblical guidelines. Discuss the areas with which he is struggling and give him biblical encouragement. Show him how to overcome.
3)         Biblical guidelines will make it easier to discuss the difficult topics that arise as your child matures. Candidly discuss facts that he needs to know. If you do not mentor him in these areas, he will seek the views of his peers.
Conclusion: What kind of example are you setting for your children? Just as God challenged Timothy to be an example in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith and in purity, we must be godly examples in these areas for our children to follow. Are the guidelines you have for your family biblical and sufficient? Are they serving as fences to keep out worldly vices and keep your children’s hearts going in God’s direction? Are your guidelines biblical so that they filter out all that God rejects and save all that God rewards?

If you set a godly example for your children and establish truly biblical guidelines for them, these two influences will make mentoring their hearts much easier and much more effective.

If your influences in these areas need some improvement, schedule a time to sit down with your spouse and with your Bible and determine with God’s help to make the needed changes.

Song: Teach Me Thy Way, O Lord – 337