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Children Faith Parenting


Throughout scripture, Jesus treats children with radical care and love to indicate how deeply He values them. It’s no wonder that He continually compared our faith to children. Just as children depend on their parents for daily needs, so too do we rely on God the Father for our spiritual and physical needs.

Where do you often go for parenting advice? Perhaps you consult your parents or in-laws. Maybe you enjoy scouring the internet for the most practical tips for child rearing. Or you might blend your own experiences with guidance from trusted voices.

Each day with your kids provides the opportunity for new experiences, conversations, and mistakes. The bits of wisdom and advice you receive might help in specific moments every now and then. But does that wisdom last?

It’s no secret. No one’s discovered a universal parenting approach promised to fit every child.

However, there is a model designed to provide guidance and wisdom for every parent. The model is virtually accessible by everyone and relatively easy to understand. Yet, it requires patience, commitment, and humility.

What Does the Bible Say about Jesus with Children?

Even though He was never a parent in the sense we understand, Jesus has more parenting guidance to offer than any theory or strategy every could. Discovering His advice begins with looking at the subtle moments throughout the Bible where we find Jesus with children.

In the Old Testament, there are dozens of verses that describe the importance of raising children. From Proverbs to Psalms to the laws within Deuteronomy, God’s parenting advice for the nation of Israel covers practical and abstract situations.

It’s in the New Testament where God reveals a gentle and caring approach to parenting. Centered on Jesus’ relationship with children, these moments no longer resemble a collection of wisdom sayings. Instead, Jesus portrays how to treat children with respect, love, and care through His actions.

Bible Verses about Children

Throughout His ministry, Jesus interacts with children. Often, these interactions serve dual purposes. Usually, Jesus provides immediate care or love for a child based on their needs. Wrapped within these moments of care are larger teachings pointed at the hearts and behaviors of Jesus’ followers.

When Jesus interacts with children, He solidifies their worth and value. Considering ancient culture’s view of children, Jesus’ approach is radical. At the core of Jesus’ interactions with children is a glimpse into the love He has for all of us.

In each of these four moments of scripture, read closely and consider what you can learn from Jesus to show your own children.

Matthew 18:1-4

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” (ESV).

A large portion of Jesus’ teaching extends from the disciples’ misunderstanding and confusion. This moment reveals a notable lack of humility in their comprehension of eternity. In response, Jesus immediately points to young children and their example.

Jesus specifically highlights the humility of young children. Perhaps Jesus points to how children find satisfaction. In a moment when the disciples pester Jesus with questions about their own stature, He turns to the nearby children as examples of humility. In children, Jesus reinforces the true purpose of salvation. It’s the desires of adults that often miss the relevance of such a good and undeserving gift.

Matthew 19:13-14

“Then children were brought to him that He might lay His hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’” (ESV).

This moment provides two key observations. First, the local parents know to bring their children to Jesus. There’s a magnetic element to Jesus’ ministry that compelled parents to bring their most valuable possessions to Christ. In this case, the parents choose their children.

Secondly, Jesus not only acknowledges the young children’s presence, but He blesses them. Within our culture, blessings contain a deep reverence. Jesus doesn’t hesitate. He immediately blesses these children. Then, He welcomes the company of young children for they belong within the kingdom of heaven.

Raising Your Kids to Defend the Faith (1)

Raising Your Kids to Defend Their Faith

“Raising Your Kids to Defend Their Faith” is a series of five short videos, created to get you started in teaching your kids the fundamentals of Christianity, so they can understand it, explain it, and defend it.

John 6:8-9

“One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” (ESV).

Perhaps one of Jesus’ most well-known miracles, the feeding of the five thousand contains multitudes. However, the provider of those famous five loaves and two fish often fades into the background. It was a young boy! And it’s interesting to note the disciples’ immediate reaction to his offering.

Notice what Andrew says. “What are they [the food] for so many?” Unfortunately, Andrew doubts both the young boy and Jesus in a moment when Jesus communicates the exact opposite. Where the disciples see a deficiency in a young child, Jesus sees opportunity and value.

Matthew 9:23-26

“And when Jesus came to the ruler’s house and saw the…crowd making a commotion, he said, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. And the report of this went through all that district” (ESV).

Consider how many people died during Jesus’ ministry. He could have raised countless friends or strangers from the dead. Throughout his whole ministry, Jesus only raises three people from the dead. One is Lazarus, the other is a widow’s son, and then this young girl. In this moment, he chooses a young girl, the daughter of a local ruler. Why?

In the Gospel of Mark’s account of this miracle, Jesus immediately provides food for the young girl after her resurrection. This reveals how Jesus provides care not only for her spiritual needs but also her physical needs. The wonder of this miracle is not lost on Jesus. In fact, it appears so finely apart of His nature, that Jesus moves on to the next logical thing: to provide food for this girl.

It’s not entirely clear why Jesus chose this young girl. Yet, this interaction between Jesus and a child reveals His deep compassion and care for even the little ones.

What Can Parents Learn?

Perhaps the greatest privilege God could extend to us is the gift of raising children. As long as you are a parent, you can benefit from learning how God desires to love and care for your children. Consider strengthening your approach to parenting with these three concepts.

3 Concepts from Jesus’ Interactions with Children

1. Encourage Your Children’s Character Traits.

Jesus consistently highlighted the inherent humility within children as a necessary and valued part of one’s character. Too often our pride can limit our capacity to serve and care for others, especially our children. As your child develops their personality and interests, consider how you can intentionally encourage their character.

Create space and time to encourage your children’s character traits. You can verbally encourage your children individually in meaningful conversations. Also, you might write letters of encouragement following an important moment in their life. Or if your child is more of an extrovert, encouragement in front of their siblings or friends can cement your love and care in their mind. Don’t neglect the opportunities to notice and encourage your children’s character traits.

2. Focus on What Your Children Can Offer Instead of What They Can’t.

Unfortunately, our kids tend to build their identity based on what they can’t do instead of what they can do. In your role as a mother or father, you can positively impact your children’s self-esteem. In Jesus’ interactions with children, He consistently focused on what they could offer rather than allowing culture to limit their worth.

As your child discovers their interests and gifts, consider how you can support them within your family. Think about how you can create situations for them to excel, problem solve, or collaborate with their siblings and friends. Include your kids in activities around the house or in important conversations involving topics like vacation, back to school, or even weekly family events.

3. Care for Your Children’s Spiritual Needs as much as Their Physical Needs.

Jesus cares just as much for our spiritual needs as He does for our physical, mental, and emotional needs. It’s especially evident within the miracles of His ministry captured in the Bible. In Jesus’ interactions with children, there is an intentional emphasis upon caring for their needs such as hunger, care, and love.

As a parent, the same is true for you. Beyond providing clothes, a home, and food, you can demonstrate love through introducing your children to spiritual nourishment. Exposing your child to the Bible through family devotionals or stories is a great place to start. Or you might consider how you can grow more involved with your church community or friends. Look for key moments where you help your children make connections between the physical world and the spiritual one as well.

Final Thoughts on Jesus’ Interactions with Children

Throughout scripture, Jesus treats children with radical care and love to indicate how deeply He values them. It’s no wonder that He continually compared our faith to children. Just as children depend on their parents for daily needs, so too do we rely on God the Father for our spiritual and physical needs.

As you parent, consider how Jesus’ example might provide guidance for your unique parenting situations. Look for those quiet moments where you can extend the same sort of love and compassion to your kids to continue to strengthen a lasting relationship.

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