The Uniqueness of Christian Parenting

There is something wonderfully unique about Christian parents. Christian parents seek to maintain a counter-cultural flavor even as we seek to prepare our children for entrance into that culture as fully-functioning adults. They seek to prepare their children for life on earth at the same time as they are seeking to prepare them for life in heaven. Christian parents see their children as a gift given to them and also as a stewardship to be respected. They are "our children" and yet we also recognize that they belong to another--namely to their Heavenly Father. Christian parenting is an odd endeavor and Christian parents are a rare breed. Here are some of the things that make Christian parenting a unique thing in this fallen world:

1. Christian parents seek to love their children but not worship them.

·       They have our hearts, but they cannot dominate our souls. We live for God, not for our children.

2. Christian parents seek to instill morals but not mere morality.

·       Outward conformity is not our aim. We long to see their hearts changed and renewed in the Lord.

3. Christian parents seek to uphold a standard but do not seek perfection.

·       Even as we point them to the Law of God, we know that they will fail time and again. God's grace is lavished upon us, we should lavish grace upon them.

4. Christian parents long to see their children succeed but not according to worldly standards.

·       Success in our eyes differs from success in the world's eyes. The success that fills our souls with delight is spiritual above all else.

5. Christian parents look to their children's future but not to one that is merely here on earth.

·       As we raise our children, we are training them for eternity. We have our eyes on eternity and are seeking to set their eyes on eternity.

6. Christian parents want their children to be happy but not at the expense of holiness.

·       What a blessing it is to watch your children enjoy life, but we desire a joy that stems from holiness and godly living.

7. Christian parents desire their children's lives to be unburdened but not void of trial.

·       The cares of the world are heavy and we would see all relieved from the shoulders of our children as is possible, but not at the expense of their growth in Christ. We know that trials shape character and we are willing to suffer as we watch our children suffer that the greater end might be realized.

8. Christian parents hope that their children will adapt to their world but not be comfortable in the world.

·       Our children live in this world, but hopefully only as pilgrims and sojourners. By God's grace, we hope they are uncomfortable here because they are on their way to the celestial city.

9. Christian parents encourage their children to pursue humility even more than confidence.

·       Confidence is good, but not if it trumps humility. Humility is good even if it trumps confidence.

10. Christian parents tell their children to look without--to Christ--rather than within.

·       Looking without to God in Christ is their only hope.

11. Christian parents encourage their children unto independence, but only as they grow in dependence upon the Lord.

·       None are truly independent and we are teaching our children that truth. As they grow in independence from their parents it is our expectation that they are growing in a fierce dependence upon the Lord.

12. Christian parents treasure willingness to serve more than their craving to lead.

·       Christian leadership turns everything upside down. The last shall be first and the first shall be last.

13. Christian parents value character more than accomplishments.

·       The value of character supersedes accomplishments in the economy of God and so it does in our parenting.

14. Christian parents approve of their children looking to their Father in heaven more than to their father and mother on earth.

·       We readily point away from ourselves. They have a Heavenly Father more secure and faithful than us.

15. Christian parents seek to train their children to put others before themselves.

·       Sacrificial love dominates our faith and we want it to dominate them.

16. Christian parents pray for their children.

·       Christian parenting is not a solo endeavor. If it was, we would fail. Rather, we have a Heavenly Father who cares for us, hears our prayers, and loves to give good gifts to His children. We lift up our children with the hope that they will be His children with the expectation that He will care for them even as He cares for us.

Jason Helopoulos