Mentoring Your Child’s Heart: Your Walk with God
24 June 2018 PM – Philippians 1:9-11 – Mentor Kids – Scott Childs
Introduction: One thing young people dislike is hypocrisy in their parents. If you are not an active growing Christian, you may fool other Christians, but you will never fool your teens. If you say one thing and do another, your teens will rebel. If you sing at church and swear at home, you will lose your child’s heart. If you are too busy to talk to your young children when they have questions, they will never share their burdens with you when they are teens.
If you lovingly mentor your children to do the will of God from the heart while they are young, they may give you their heart and allow you to help them keep their heart pure with all diligence until they form their own families. That ought to be the goal of every Christian parent.
If you say, “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.” (Proverbs 23:26) Your ways need to be God’s ways!
Transition: One of the most important influences in mentoring your child’s heart is your walk with God. A close walk with God will give you power to develop the godly character qualities we talked about last week. Your walk must not be mechanical, but from the heart because It is possible to do the right things but still not be right with God.
1. You must have a Flourishing Relationship with God
(Read Philippians 1:9-11) I preached on this a couple of weeks ago.
a. A flourishing relationship with God begins with a desire.
1) You must “love” or dearly desire to know God and His Word. Without such a desire, your walk with God will always be lacking. You need a desire like the Psalmist who prayed, (Psalms 42:1) “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.”
2) Your love must abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment or discernment. Abounding in love for the Bible will give you the knowledge and discernment needed to approve things that are excellent. You can then choose God’s best and reject the bad. Good choices in life will make you sincere (not hypocritical) and you will not trip others. It will also fill you with the fruits of righteousness that glorify and praise God. We need this!
b. This requires a daily time with God
1) Make it your #1 priority to set aside a quiet time with the Lord for Bible study and prayer.
2) It is best to do it the same time every day. For me it is always best first thing in the morning.
c. Your time with God must be meaningful
1) Ask God to help you understand. (Psalms 119:18) “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” Seek knowledge and judgment from God.
2) Be looking for commands and principles. Underline or colour key verses. Look up key words. Compare other scriptures. Take notes in one way or another. Create some sort of Bible journal. Ex: Ecclesiastes 7:9, We must not be hasty or in a hurry in our spirit to be angry or vexed; for anger (i.e., vexation, provocation, frustration) rests or remains in the bosom or inmost part of fools (i.e., stupid fellows, dullards, simpletons, arrogant ones). Anger is not a wise response to irritations. It is the thoughtless response of simpletons. The wise person ponders and prays before he reacts. If we have a short fuse, it is an indication that we are one of the fools in life. May God help us to root out all such a spirit of anger from our hearts!
3) Write down a principle you can live out. You can use this later to share with your children.
4) Spend quality time with the Lord in prayer. Pray specifically. Seek to love and fellowship with God.
d. Then apply what you learn in your time with God
1) Seek to live what you learn before your family and others.
2) Apply God’s word to your thoughts. You cannot have a flourishing relationship with God and have impure thoughts. (Proverbs 23:7) “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” (2 Corinthians 10:5) “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”
3) Make changes in your life as the Lord identifies the need through His Word.
2. Only then can you pass on your heart for God
a. With a heart for God, you can live it.
1) Water will never rise higher than its source and neither will your spiritual influence.
2) Keep God real in your life and in your conversations.
3) Talk with your children regularly about God.
b. With a heart for God, you can teach it.
1) Begin early! Begin early! Begin early! Begin reading the Bible and praying with your child from infancy. Eunice taught Timothy from infancy. (2 Timothy 3:15) “And that from a child (i.e., embryo, infant) thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
2) It is not the church or school’s job to teach them to love God; it is YOUR job. Teach them Philippians 1:9-11.
a) Teach your child why to love God. He is our Creator, Sustainer, Provider, Saviour and much more. His character calls for our love. He is loving, kind, merciful, holy, forgiving and much more. (1 John 4:19) “We love him, because he first loved us.”
b) Teach your child his duty to love God and His Word. (Mark 12:30) “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.”
c) Teach your child how to love God through praise, thanks, prayer, singing, giving and meditation. Let them see it in your life. Show them how!
3) Your goal in rearing your child must NOT be to get him to do right. Instead, it must be to instill within him a love for God and His Word so he wants to do right to please God.
c. With a heart for God, you can then transfer it.
1) Help your child begin to study the Bible and pray.
a) Use the Bible as his first reading book
b) Show him how to look up words he does not know.
c) As he matures, teach him how to find cross-references, principles, and applications.
d) Help him learn to find a principle that he can write down and meditate on. Show him how to write it.
e) Teach him how to pray. Teach him what to include in prayer by using Jesus’ sample prayer (Mat. 6:9-13).
2) Try inviting your child to join your Bible time and prayer occasionally to show them how you do it. Make it a special time for him.
3) Answer his questions about the Bible. They may seem silly to you, but they are important to him as he learns.
3. Your walk with God is a major influence on your child’s heart.
a. Like father … like son, like mother … like daughter
1) Only a naive or foolish parent thinks that small children are not learning by his example. We learn much by example.
2) ILLUS: I recently read that the water corporation now has a special dog trained to sniff out water leaks. Your child is like one of those specially trained dogs. They can tell right away if you are walking close to the Lord or not.
b. Actions speak louder than words
1) In order for you to quote to your child (Proverbs 23:26) “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways”, you must be walking with God yourself. You are begging him to “observe your ways” or follow your example. That is a HUGE responsibility!
2) Your child needs your Godly example for encouragement and pattern in his own life. If it is lacking, you will lose his heart and God will likely lose his heart too.
Conclusion: Parent, on a scale of 1-10, how would God rate your walk with Him? If you fear that your score is low, you have work to do. Your walk with God (or the lack of it) has a tremendous influence on the heart of your child.
I personally believe that, next to godly character, this is one of the most powerful influences you have on your child. Your walk with God has a HUGE bearing on EVERY other influence we will be examining.
If you want to have godly children, and every wise Christian parents does, then make it a priority to develop a personal flourishing relationship with God, then seek to pass it on to your children.
For further study read my article, “A Flourishing Relationship with God”.
Song: Teach Me Thy Way, O Lord – 337