Biblical Principles to Capturing the Spiritual Hearts of Children
“I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” (2 Timothy 1:5)
Charles Swindoll had a friend who was raised by a Christian mother that knew the value of a godly upbringing. When he was still just a young baby she would sing him to sleep at night, not singing little ditties and lullabies, but singing the hymns and other songs that speak of the Christian faith. From the crib until he left home, she made sure he knew the truths of God’s Word, which were so powerfully proclaimed in hymns such as “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”
I would propose to you that many a Christian mother has been used by the Lord to plant spiritual seeds that the Holy Spirit has used to bring many to Christ. Just what are some Biblical principals that can be lived out that can capture the spiritual heart of your children?
She will ask herself the most important question
God’s Word is full of instructions on how to live in such a way that could enable your children to enjoy the abundant life promised in Christ. Influential mothers who want to capture the hearts of their children for Christ, take to heart what is written in Philippians 2:3 and 5, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”
The best thing a mother can do for her children and family is to let the humility of Christ flow in and through her. A Christian mother who has been taught of the Lord on how to apply this principle in raising of her children will know the joy of sacrificial living. She has been taught of the Lord the difference between working to get ahead in life and of working for the good of the family–especially for her children’s eternal future. This Christian mother will train, equip and care for herself in a way that benefits the family. A mother of godly influence works to keep herself healthy, alert and well equipped for the work God has laid before her.
She will ask herself the most important question, “Will this or that ensure a Christian upbringing of our children or will it keep us too busy for the things of God? Many a Christian mother has done without in order to enjoy the pleasure of sacrificial love, doing what it takes to ensure that her children are being brought up in the faith as Timothy’s mother and grandmother had done.
E. Buffalo spoke so appreciative of his mother’s sensitivity to his need to know about the things of God, and especially her need of living a God fearing life before her children. She made the time to teach him to pray and made sure he had what he needed to learn about the Lord Jesus. She denied herself certain pleasures in order to have the finances and especially the time to help oversee the spiritual training of her children. When he grew up he did what many have done, he walked away from the teachings and the Christian example of his mother. After being beaten to the point of unconsciousness, he found himself lying in the hospital bed in a Juvenile Hall in California, scared to death. It was at that time he remembered the teaching of his mother about prayer and the Word of God, thus, he prayed a real heartfelt prayer to receive Christ as Savior and Lord. He is now a pastor of a church and he makes this plea to all mothers on this Mother’s Day, “Mothers, [be sensitive to your children’s need of] turning off the television and worldly distractions and make the time to plant seeds [that the Holy Spirit can use to lead your children to Christ]. [Lay a] foundation that will cause them to consider Christ.”
Influential Mothers are Supportive
Influential mothers are sensitive to the spiritual needs of their children and they will sacrifice self to plant those seeds. They are also mothers who are supportive. Proverbs 15:4 says, “The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life…” One of our modern day Bible translations puts it this way, “Kind words bring life but cruel words crush the spirit.” A Christian mother will take to heart the fact that she must surrender to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to be supportive in her speech. Kids can be ruthless and they can hear words from other kids that tear them down. The last thing your child needs to hear when they come home is “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” That’s not true. A broken bone heals faster than a broken spirit. Mothers who are under the control of the Holy Spirit will see failures as opportunities for giving words that can heal.
I once saw a Peanuts cartoon. A little red-haired girl calls Charlie Brown on the phone and says, “Hey, Chuck, guess what? I am running for Queen of the month of May at our school.” Charlie says, “That is interesting, Lucy has already been chosen Queen of May at our school. She is standing here right now wearing her crown.” Instead of congratulating Lucy, the little re-haired girl, tears Lucy down to build herself up and says, “Your school has pretty low standards, Chuck!” As you watch the cartoon play out, you see Charlie Brown looking at Lucy with a sense of compassion and saying, “Lucy, she says Congratulations.”
There are a lot of things that are going to happen in the lives of your children that are going to cause them to realize that they do not measure up to other people’s standards and they are going to realize that they have a lot of maturing to do to be able to achieve what God has for them down the road. That is when they need to hear words of support from mom. Christian mothers take these times to tell their children who they can be in Christ, that every child of God has Holy Spirit gifts that will enable them to do great things with the Lord that will endure forever. There is no greater feeling than to see our children discover their Holy Spirit given gifts and watch the Lord mature the exercise of those gifts. It may be the gift of helps, showing compassion, music, preaching and teaching the Word of God, or any of the other twenty-one gifts that the Holy Spirit may give them. When children find their identity in Christ and what He has called them to do, they overcome the anxiety and the frustration that can come with trying to measure up to everyone’s standards.
Influential Mothers are Sympathetic
Christian mothers have the promise of positive influence through being supportive and sympathetic. Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Holy Spirit led mothers share in the rejoicing and mourning of their children.
One of our most respected men in America, President Ronald Regan was known and appreciated for his expressions of emotions. In the moments of national tragedy, when the shuttle was destroyed, when our men were killed in Lebanon he cried openly. It is a proven fact that strong trusted leaders are not afraid to express their emotions and often whereas weak leaders often show little emotion, especially over the joys and hurts of others. Jesus is our example, he wept with those who wept (John 11:35) and he rejoiced over the salvation of Zacchaeus. (Luke 19:9)
The most influential mothers are those who grieve when their children grieve and rejoice when their children are rejoicing. A few years ago I had the privilege to meet Pastor Don McMinn. He wrote a Bible study titled, 11th Commandment. While teaching “Comfort One Another” he shared the testimony of a time when his mother’s tears really comforted him. Several weeks before he started first grade Don broke his ankle. His dad rescued him and took him home. His dad figured that it was just badly sprained so he did not take Don to the hospital until the next day. Don’s mom was working late at the grocery store and it was somewhat late into the night before he saw his mother. When she walked into his bedroom Don was crying. The first words out of his mother’s mouth were not “How did this happen” or “Dad, why didn’t you take Don to the hospital?” Rather her first words came with tears, “Oh, sweetheart, I’m so sorry.” Her words so comforted him. Pastor Don’s great Bible study on the “One Anothers in Scripture” reflect the powerful effect that Dr. Don McMinn’s Christian mother had on him as he was growing up. A Christian mother’s life has a powerful effect on her children.
Influential Mothers are Straightforward
Influential mothers are sympathetic, yet there are times they must be “Straightforward.” Proverbs 27:6 says “Wounds from a friend can be trusted…”
Sometimes, mothers need to be candid and frank, leveling with their children, telling them when they are blowing it, when they are letting the sins of the flesh, the lures of the world and the lies of Satan overcome them. Christian mothers call sin, sin! Many of you have seen the bumper sticker that says “Real friends don’t let friends drive drunk.” A friend will step in front of an intoxicated driver and say, “You are about to make a big mistake and you are endangering not only yourself, but those around you as well.” An influential mother will warn a child and do all they can to stop their children from driving through life under the influence of the flesh, the world and the devil. No one wants a physician who will sugar coat the problem, but will spell out the heart disease and has the courage to say, “You need surgery or you are going to die.” Influential mothers will spell out the spiritual heart disease, surrender their children over to the Great Physician and ask Him to do whatever it takes to cleanse their child’s heart of those blockages that are keeping or draining the spiritual life out of their children.
Influential Mothers are Spontaneous
Influential Mothers are not only straightforward but also must be “Spontaneous.” Galatians 6:10 says “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” This passage of Scripture has a phrase that must be noted, “…as we have opportunity…” All mothers are very much aware of the term, “Teachable Moments.”
Influential Mothers prayerfully look for opportunities to do good to their children, especially opportunities which can cause their children to think and live Biblically. Instead of being influenced by their peers, Christian mothers help their children compare what their friends want them to do with what the Bible says. Some children were given a movie to watch and were told that it was a pretty good film. The film by the whole of its teaching taught values contrary to Biblical truth. Their mother took the time to show her children how to compare what was in the film to what God’s Word says is truth. In order to keep their children from being polluted by the world view through movies, books, video games, music and friends. Influential mothers will stir their children’s minds and hearts to what God’s Word says. Through the Holy Spirit inspired written Word, God’s instructions are, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)
Influential mothers seize the moment to get their children to ask these questions, “Is what I about to do causing me to meditate upon the Lord’s will for me? Is what I am watching, reading and doing grieving to the Holy Spirit of God? Influential mothers seize the opportunity to stir their children to God’s Word in the selecting of friends by giving warning of what the Bible says, “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33) Influential mothers take every opportunity possible to implant in the minds and heart of their children that they are to be “Holy Spirit-filled, Word Minded Christians” and as they grow older, their hearts will be changed and influenced by the desire to find God’s good and perfect will for them.
Mothers who raise their children as Timothy’s mother and grandmother did, will find God’s Holy Spirit working in the lives of their children. Those children will be moved upon by God and be given every opportunity to have a vibrant walk with Jesus Christ. It must be remembered that every child must make up his own mind about his own relationship with Christ. Mothers will not be held accountable to the decision made by their children. However, they will give an accounting to how well they lived the Christian principles discussed in this message today. Influential mothers know the joy and fulfillment that comes with rejoicing and mourning with their children. They also have the courage to Biblically correct and guide their children. They are spontaneous in their teaching, and seize every opportunity to get their children to think Biblically.
The Christian herald ran the story of a Confederate chaplain who was visiting with a wounded solider. When it came time to pray, the chaplain was surprised that the wounded soldier did not make the usual request which was to petition God for a speedy recovery. The request was a prayer of thankfulness for his mother. The soldier wanted prayer of only praise and gratitude to God for giving him a Christian mother who had so much influence in his life that caused him to consider Christ. Praise to the Lord that God enabled him to appreciate the sacrifice his mother made for him in prayer, making sure that he had the teaching of God’s Word and especially for living a God fearing life before him. Not long after the prayer of praise, the soldier died. However, but as the soldier died he ask the chaplain to contact his mother and be sure to let her know he died a Christian.
Our children will face many battles that threaten their eternal souls. Therefore, they need mothers who have a Biblical influence. Mothers, God’s Word holds a promise for all who will through faith in Christ strive to obey the teaching of Jesus. God says He will show His love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. (Exodus 20:6) Mothers, the Holy Spirit urges you to strive to grasp the spiritual heart of your children.
Let us pray!!!!