INFLUENCING OUR CHILDREN
Every person alive on this planet has the power of influence. It does not matter if you are poor, rich, evil, or good, you influence those around you. Sometime your influence will encourage and build up, while other times your influence may discourage or tear down. One thing we cannot know is how deep our influence will affect people because we not only influence those that see our actions, but also those who hear what we say.
As Christians, we need to be concerned with what kind of influence we are being especially when it comes to our children.
Psalm 127:3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.
To have a child is one of the most rewarding experiences that you will have in this life and it is also one of the most challenging. As the Scripture said, our children are a heritage that is a gift from God. Our children belong to us, and God has given us the awesome responsibility to raise them, care for them, and train them in the way of the Lord.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Ephesians 6:4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
Do you know what the word admonition means? It means instruction. Our children will not accidently stumble onto the righteous path, no they must be instructed and trained by us, and we must not fail them because they are a gift from God, and we should all want our children to love God and follow after Him. As John said:
3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
Parents are always proud of the children when they accomplish things in life whether it be winning a race, or a singing contest or even taking their first steps as toddler, but the crowning achievement for a parent that should thrill their soul more than anything else is when their child is led to Christ and they become a Christian that walks in the pathway of righteousness. Yes winning contests and making achievements are great, but they are temporary in nature, but becoming a Christian and walking in truth will make the difference between having eternal life in heaven or hell.
As Christian parents and grandparents, we must do everything in our power to influence our children by teaching them and instructing them in the way of righteousness. This is not a new concept because it has been taught throughout time.
We all know how faithful Abraham was, but did know one of the reason that Abraham was chosen by God was because He knew that Abraham would teach and admonish his children and grandchildren in the lord.
Genesis 18:19 "For I have known (ESV Chosen) him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him."
God wants people to be faithful toward Him, but He doesn’t want them to keep their conviction to their selves, no, He wants them to share it with others especially their children. Not only should we want to go to heaven, we should always want to take as many people with us as we can including our children.
Since God thinks it’s important for us to pass on His Word to our children, we should do what we can to obey His instructions in this matter.
Deuteronomy 6:5 "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 " And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
When I looked up the word diligently in the Hebrew Lexicons I found a couple different meanings. One said it means to sharpen or teach in a precise or exact matter. Another said it meant to repeat. I like combining both of these together so that we have God telling us to continue to teach our children the Word of God exactly as it is, and we should repeat it over and over again.
This is the idea we get from the passage because it tells us to teach them when we are sitting, rising up, walking or lying down. In other words, don’t waste any opportunities you have to teach your children about God and how He is important in our lives.
One of the reasons we should be working toward this end is found in:
Psalm 78:1 Give ear, O my people, to my law; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth. 2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, 3 Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done. 5 For He established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children; 6 That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they may arise and declare them to their children, 7 That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments;
If you and I do not do our jobs at Christian parents and grandparents, we can easily have generation that does not know God, but when we use our influence and teach our children and grandchildren, then we can know that they will pass on the truth to their children. Once again, this proves that you never know how deep your influence will run because the child you influence today may in turn bring about generation after generation of faithful Christians long after your dead.
Timothy is a great example of this. Paul told him.
2 Timothy 3:14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
How did he learn about the Scriptures from his youth? Who taught him and influenced Him?
2 Timothy 1:5 when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.
His mother and grandmother taught him and influenced in the way of the Lord, and we know that his father most likely had nothing to do with his training about God because he was a Greek (Acts 16:1). Since his mother and grandmother influenced him in the way of the Lord, it helped make him into the evangelist he became, and in turn, he took what he learned and passed it onto others as Paul instructed him to do:
2 Timothy 2:2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
If we want to ensure that future generations remain true to God’s Word, we must do our part as parents and grandparents to train and admonish our children and grandchildren in the way of the Lord, and we must be the best influence that we can.
One way that we can make sure our children are getting the good influence they need is by building better Christian homes. If you want house that is going stand firm, you must have a strong foundation. Jesus teaches this idea in:
Matthew 7:24 " Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 "But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall."
The same thing is true
when it comes to having a strong sturdy
Far too many Christians today view the home as place to sleep, eat, and have their private battles, but we need to understand that the home is the beginning place for training our children. We must have God in our homes otherwise our children will not know how be a Christ-like example when they are outside the home. If they only learn about God when they are at church, but are allowed to act like the world outside the church, then they will grow up thinking this behavior is acceptable whenever it is really hypocrisy.
Parents and Grandparents you must begin building a strong Christian home by being the example. If you leave the church services and leave God there, then so will your children. Think about your home life right now. When you are at home do keep your language clean?
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
If you don’t it should not surprise you one bit when you children curse as well.
Do you keep alcohol in your home and drink one every once in awhile to relax yourself? If you do, remember you are teaching your children that is ok to drink strong drink even though Bible says that you should not.
Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
When you are at home, do you take time out to pray over your food and do your encourage your children to pray to God? If not, you should because God wants to hear from us, and the more pray, the stronger our faith will be, and the stronger our homes will be.
Another important thing we must do in order have a strong Christian home is to treat our mates with the respect and honor they deserve.
Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
The man should be the spiritual leader of the home, and the wife should help encourage him to be so. When the husband and wife love each other and submit to one another, they will have a marriage that reflects Christ’s love for the church. The husband and wife must work together and help each other to remain committed to serving God. They must realize that it takes both parents to raise their children in the Lord, and that they are going to be the example that their children are going to follow.
Parents and Grandparents if you make God your number one priority, then your children are going to see that, and they will most likely follow in your footsteps because when they see how happy you are in your marriage and how you work out your problems, it will cause them to want have what you have, but again, if you are not both working together and not striving to get along or to have God in your home, then you are being a bad influence on your children.
If you want to build a strong Christian home you must also teach the value of obedience and respect to your children.
Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise: 3 "that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth."
If children do not learn to obey their parents, then they are really going to struggle when it comes to obeying the Word of God. There are far too many parents who are not involved in the children’s lives, and no discipline is given, and we have a generation of kids who are unruly and have no respect for authority. I have talked to a lot of teachers over the years who teach in middle school and high school, and I hear the same story from all of them. They tell me that many of the kids do not care if they get in trouble and they do not care if they pass or fail.
When I was going to school this trend had just barely started, but today it is out of hand because these children have not been taught to obey. So, I hope that every Christian parent will realize the importance of discipline and teaching our children to obey because without obedience we cannot be pleasing to God. This is an area that both parents need to agree on, and you should not allow your children to manipulate you.
Children have a tendency to ask dad for something and if he says no, then they will ask mom without mom knowing that dad already said no. Sometimes we have to ask them if they have already asked the other parent that question, and if they lie about it, there needs to be consequences of your choosing.
Another important thing to make a strong Christian home is to make sure your children understand the importance of God’s Word. God’s Word teaches us everything we need to know about being a Godly example, a good parent, a good husband, and a good wife.
Your children should see you studying God’s Word from time to time. It would help if you have devotionals at home, and if you should encourage your kids to read God’s Word on their own. These are great habits to have because the more time we spend in God’s Word, the stronger our homes will be, and the stronger our children’s life will be. They will have the proper foundation that will last them until the day they die.
Having a strong Christian home is one of the most important works that we can do as parents because when our homes are Christ-centered in will make the church stronger and we can be confident that church will continue grow through our children and their children and so on.
I hope this lesson the morning has reminded you just how important is that we influence our children in a positive way by having a Christ centered home. I hope you will join us tonight as we look at some of the many ways that our homes are under attack and how we combat them as we try to influence our children toward righteousness.
INFLUENCING OUR CHILDREN
This morning we began a two-part lesson on influencing our children. This morning we focused on being a positive influence to our children by having a Christ-centered home. Tonight we are going to focus on how our homes are under attack and what can do about it.
I can promise you there is a struggle that is taking place in our homes, and this not a new struggle, but one that has been around for a long time. For example Joshua knew about this struggle, which is why he said:
Joshua 24:15"And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
There is always going to be a struggle between good and evil and the person that is responsible for the side of evil is the same person that is responsible for it the garden of Eden. Of course I am talking Satan.
Satan is very interested in destroying the home because he knows that the home is where values are taught, beliefs are formed, and lives are shaped. He knows that a child’s best chance of becoming Christian and learning the tools he needs to remain faithful until death begins in the home.
If Satan can find a way into your home and cast doubt before your children, then he knows that he can influence them away from God and away from His truth. We need to keep in mind that the devil can only do what we will allow him to, which is why it so important that we keep the full armor of God on, and we continue to resist Satan and his ways continually.
Satan also knows if he influences enough homes he can influence an entire nation.
Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people.
Psalm 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, And all the nations that forget God.
Does this sound familiar. Consider our nation today. We used to be known as a Christian nation and many of our homes were Christ-centered. The divorce rate was low, and the children were raised up to respect the authority and God.
But today, our nation in on the wrong pathway, and all it took was a few generations. There are less people that have moral values, more and more homes are dysfunctional and the divorce rates have sky rocketed. Human life is not held as high as it used to because every day innocent unborn babies are being murdered through legal abortion and now marriage as God has defined it between a man and women is under attack. If the wicked have their way, our nation will end making it legal for marriage to occur between man and man or woman and woman anywhere in our nation. Fewer believe in God and even fewer believe in the authority of the Scriptures, and much of the movement away from God has happened because our homes are not Christ-centered.
Satan has found many ways into our homes, and it will help us in our battle against him if we know some of the various ways in which he is destroying our homes and our nation.
The first tool that Satan uses to destroy our homes is our innocent looking television.
According to The New York Times and A.C. Nielsen Company we learn that: 99% of American households have one TV; 66% have at least three; 68% of kids, ages 8-18 have a TV in their room.
The average American spends about four hours a day watching TV, which adds up two months a year and if we live to the age of 65, 9 years of our life will be taking up by watching TV. Think about how much time we are being exposed to and influenced by what is on our TVS.
I know that we can use TV for good by watching wholesome programs, but there is just not much of that kind of programming available today. In fact, there are shows after shows that are designed to desensitize us to certain sinful behaviors. For example:
It teaches that adultery and fornication are acceptable and that we have nothing to be ashamed of when we do it. But the Bible says:
1 Corinthians 6:9 Do you
not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the
It teaches that marriage is temporary, and if you don’t like how your marriage is going you can break it off for any reason and move on to a new love in your life. But the Bible says:
Matthew 19:9 "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery."
Matthew 19:6 Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."
It teaches over and over again that homosexuality is ok and we should not be ashamed of it, but instead we should embrace it, but the Bible says:
Leviticus 18:22 'You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.
Romans 1:26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
More and more, our TVS are teaching us that profanity is ok and that it is an artistic expression, but the Bible says:
Colossians 3:8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.
Things like these are being taught to us and our children on daily basis if we allow it, but some have the attitude that “It doesn’t affect me!” In fact this last year when I went on a preacher exchange this older woman admitted to me that she watched a show that continually promotes a multitude of sexual sins, but she said it doesn’t matter to her because she knew that she would never be influence by it. But that is not what the Bible says.
Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.
Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy -- meditate on these things.
No matter what evil we are exposing ourselves to it can change our way of thinking and given enough time it can eventually corrupt us. As Paul said,
1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits."
According to statics,
some parents are using their TVS as babysitters, which means that their
children are being raised by
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
I want to point out that the is a general statement because each child has to make their decision if they will live by the training that has been given to them, but if they never receive the training in the first place there is nothing for them to choose between, and they will most likely go down that road that leads to destruction.
What should we do? Should we throw our TVS out the door? While that might not be bad idea, I am not suggesting such a radical movement. Instead, I want you to start observing this week how much time your kids are watching TV, and watch it with them, so you can see what they are being taught. If they are watching shows that are educational or not immoral, then great, but if you see that the programs they are watching are teaching them that sin is ok, then you need to make some changes in what they watch.
Of course the best thing we can do is get involved in our children’s lives and don’t use the TV as a Baby Sister.
Another sneaky tool Satan uses to attack the family is the internet. Yes, the internet can be used for good or it can be used for evil. Please note the following statistics from the Kaiser Family Foundation:
The number one concern that most parents have about their children using the internet is their potential exposure to pornography, and we should be concerned about this. According to familyfirst.net 9 out 10 children between 8-16 have viewed pornography on the internet. Most of those children stumbled on these sites by accident because those who create these sites know that kids and others misspell certain words, and they make it to where the website will show up in the search engines when those misspelled word are typed in. All it takes is one click, and right before you eyes will be pornography.
While these types of sites grow every day, I am happy that many of the search engines have made it more difficult to see porn because most of them have safe search turned on, but anyone who wants to can disable these features with a couple of clicks with the mouse. Even when safe search in on, some porn sites still slip through.
Another area we need to be concerned about is chat rooms because unless they are being monitored by someone there is no limitation to what can be said, and this is the place the child predators like to hang out because they can make friends with young children and convince that they are a young girl or boy when they are really an adult. They do their best to get them to meet them somewhere. Unless you know for sure that a chat room is being monitored, I would suggest that you not allow you children to participate in these chat rooms.
When it comes to the internet we need to monitor what are children are looking at, and we should never develop the attitude that my child would never do that. I heard a story about a boy who was good kid and his father was a preacher, and the boy had no intent of getting caught up in the sin of pornography, but one day he received an email that had link to porn and he decided to click on the link, and that was all it took for this young man to get hooked on porn. From that day forward, he visited more and more sites.
This is why it is important for us to make sure that our children are not off in their own room behind closed doors with full access to the internet. Instead, the computer they use to surf the web needs to be in area that others can see the screen because a child is less likely to look at porn if they know that mom or dad can catch them at it at any moment. You can also check up on your children by looking at the history of web pages accessed by them.
The internet can be very useful and entertaining, but we have to make sure that it is not destroying our children’s morality by monitoring what they do on it.
Drug abuse is another way that Satan can destroy our homes. Drugs and
alcohol are a major problem in the home. How many marriages do you know that
have been made stronger because of drugs or alcohol? None. When parents use
drugs they tend to lie more and some become abusive and they have no problem
leaving their children on their own while the get their high or the buzz. Meth
is one of the most popular drugs that we have in
One man told me the other day that of the 26 people he graduated with only 3 of them are not messed up on drugs or alcohol. More and more people are turning to drugs to escape their problems, but all they are doing creating new ones because once people get hooked on these drugs, they will do anything to get them including stealing and letting their kids go hungry so they can get their buzz.
When people get high on drugs or get drunk, it can lead to adultery. As;
Proverbs 23:31 Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it swirls around smoothly; 32 At the last it bites like a serpent, And stings like a viper. 33 Your eyes will see strange things, And your heart will utter perverse things.
Most of us have probably seen or heard about someone making a pass at someone’s wife or husband when their drunk or high. If they find a willing participant and they commit the act, many times they wake up the next day a little confused and full of regret because they cannot take back what they have done.
So, it is imperative that we keep drugs and alcohol out of our homes and we need to teach our children about how they can destroy their lives and those around them. Again, we cannot assume that our children will not get involved in such things because they can, and drugs and alcohol are easy to come by.
Another way that our homes are being attacked by Satan is by immodesty. If we want to keep our children pure, we need make sure that they are dressing in way that does not promote lust. Paul teaches us:
1 Timothy 2:9 in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.
God has given us a brain to reason with, and we are smart enough to determine if we or our children are dressing in away that professes godliness. If we are dressing in clothes that show as much skin as possible, we can know that this is proper dress ware, but if we dress in way that covers us properly, then we can know that we are wearing the proper cloths.
Since I have two girls, I know how difficult it is to find proper dress ware for girls. Many of the dresses have a neckline that goes almost halfway down the chest and many of the shorts are so short that not much is covered. The trend right now is to show as much skin as possible. But the guys have it easier right now at least because the trend for them is to dress in long shorts and things that are more modest.
The reason I say that immodesty is destroying our homes is because when we fail as parents to make sure our kids are dressing in godly manner, we are setting them up to fail because the more skin they show the more attention they are going to get from the opposite sex and this is not the kind of attention that we want them to have .
We need to monitor what our kids are wearing, and if their clothes are provocative, get rid of them. Our children have enough temptations to deal in the world without adding to them by dressing immodestly.
Another way our families can be attacked is by the friends that our children have. Satan loves it when our children find a friend that can corrupt them. As Paul teaches evil company does corrupt good habits. We all like our children to have friends, but sometimes those friends influence our children to do things they would never do on their own. Most of the time we can pickup on their changed behavior.
We need to find out as much as we can about their friends because if we simply let things go, your children can be lead down a dark path. So, do your best get to know their friends, and if you find that they are influencing your children in a bad way, then you may have to end their friendship for the sake of your child and for your home.
We must also do what we can to teach children the qualities they should be looking for when it comes to choosing a mate for life. They need to choose a person who will hold the same spiritual values they do and whose number 1 priority is to help them get to heaven. The best chance at having a marriage that will last until death do you part is if both of you are Christians and both are committed to living in accordance with God’s Word. I can tell you that as much as Erica loved me, she would not have married me if I had not became Christian because she had seen first hand how hard it is to live the Christian life when your mate is not one. So, do you what you can to help your children make the best decisions they can when it comes to choosing a mate for life.
So, if want to safeguard our homes from Satan we must work daily at building Christian homes. When our homes are Christ-centered:
Make no mistake about it, Satan is after our children and he is attacking our homes in very subtle ways, which is why we must always be on guard. As Peter says:
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
We do what we can to safeguard our homes and our cars, but let us do our best safeguard our families because their souls are on the line. As we come to the end of the lesson, I hope that it has encouraged you to have the same resolve that Joshua did when he said:
Joshua 24:15 "And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
Adapted from “Influencing One’s Children” by David Boren.