How Should You Respond to Children Who Don’t Obey God? Part 3

Parenting is included in the statement Jesus made when He said, “Without me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5). We need our Lord’s strength, His wisdom, His presence, and His blessings in the parenting process. Accomplishing this important responsibility without the help from Jesus is absolutely impossible. In this final post about responding to children who continue to make sinful choices (see part 1 or part 2), we look at two final responses: be patient, and keep praying.

Be Patient

I know that many of us, if not most or all of us, struggle with the idea of being patient. Many times in our lives, the issue is not that we want something;  it’s that we want it too much (i.e. what we want is more important than pleasing God in the process) and that we want it right now.

We don’t want to manipulate the child into repentance. Instead, we want to model godliness and wait for the Lord to do whatever He pleases in the life of our child.

The goal of having a child who loves the Lord with all his/her heart, soul, mind, and strength is a godly goal and a specific command for all of us. But that goal of loving the Lord is not achieved overnight. In many cases, it takes many days, weeks, months, and years to achieve that goal. However, reaching that goal is possible with the help of the Holy Spirit and the power of God’s Word, and even the influence of other people.

As parents, we need to be patient and remember Isaiah 40:31 “Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” God’s timing in not always (or maybe I should say, “is rarely”) our timing. Because God is holy and does not have the ability to make mistakes, we need to ‘wait for the Lord’ and keep running the race that He has set before us. If we really love the Lord, and our child, we will be patient because ‘love is patient’ (1 Cor. 13:4). We don’t want to manipulate the child into repentance. Instead, we want to model godliness and wait for the Lord to do whatever He pleases in the life of our child.

Sometimes the best thing to do when struggling with your child’s rebellion is to remember how patient God has been with you! All of us as parents must admit that God has been patient with our sinful and selfish choices, so we need to be patient with our child. A parent might argue that fact that they have never lived a life of rebellion day by day. Even if a parent was rebellious for one day or a few hours or a few minutes, God still showed patience. You might be asking, “How do you know that?” The answer is, because God is holy and cannot look upon sin, and if He were not patient, you would be dead immediately! So how patient are you willing to be with your child’s rebellion?

Keep Praying

It’s interesting that God said in James 4:2, “You do not have because you do not ask.” But just because we ask doesn’t mean God will answer our prayers right away. He always answer them, but sometimes the answer is yes; sometimes the answer is no; sometimes the answer is not now, or not the way you want it to be.

Paul stated it well in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.” Don’t just ask God on Sundays, or at the supper table, or just before you go to bed that He would work in the life of your child. Ask God throughout the day – as you drive to work (keep your eyes open though), as you are walking to the next office for a meeting, while you are watching T.V. and a commercial comes on, or any other situation. Take the time to talk to God! He’s listening, and he may answer your prayers in the way you ask; but always add to your prayers that statement Jesus made, “not my will, but your will be done” (Luke 22:42). The problem is that we often add the words “today” or “right now” or ‘really soon.” There’s nothing wrong with that request, but remember, the final decision is up to a sovereign God.

Another good verse to remember in times of trials is Hebrew 4:16, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” No matter what your child has done, or will do, we have to keep praying and remember that the blood of Jesus Christ can cleanse us from all sin. Our God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ask or think. Keep praying, but keep in mind, it’s all on God’s timetable, not ours!