Do Not Hinder Your Children
By Edwin Christiaan
People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:15-17 NIV
As the day is coming closer for me to become father of a newborn baby, God is tugging at me and telling me what a responsibility I have not to do anything out of His will that will ultimately hinder my child to come to Jesus Christ and serve Him.
It is scary to see how many Christian parents, including pastors and ministers, who have children who do not serve Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, but instead are living in rebellion and defiance against God or they have a form of religion or godliness, but deny the power of Jesus Christ who could set them free from bondage and make them godly. (See 2. Timothy 3:5)
The Bible says about leaders (Pastors, Elders, Bishops) in the church that they must live a blameless life. They must be faithful to their wives, and their children must be believers who don’t have a reputation for being wild or rebellious. (See Titus 1:6)
It also says in the Bible that if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church? (See 1 Timothy 3:5)
The disciples hindered the children by rebuking them, but Jesus rejected the disciples’ wrong actions and encouraged the parents to bring their children to Him. The lesson here is clear: Disciples of Jesus Christ should remove all hindrances that keep children from coming to Jesus.
There are many hindrances that we put in the way of the children as they come to Jesus. I believe that there are three key hindrances that we should try to remove from our children.
The first hindrance to children is something in us adults, namely, pride.
Jesus said: “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14 NLT)
Pride, by definition, is an excessively high opinion of oneself. This results in a person’s reputation, needs, desires, dignity, and public image being his or her main interest and concern, regardless of what the effect on others.
One who is prideful thinks ‘extra’ highly of himself. We often label one with this attitude as a ‘snob’. Anyone who thinks they are better than someone else is being proud. A well known example is of a rich man who thinks he is better than all the other people in town, because of his money. This can also happen when we let our achievements ‘go to our head’.
“Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!” Romans 12:16 NLT
Pride has kept many people from accepting Jesus Christ as Savior. Admitting sin and acknowledging that in our own strength we can do nothing to inherit eternal life or please God is a constant stumbling block for prideful people.
Pride is self-worship and evil. “For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness.” (Mark 7:21-22 NLT)
Pride gives us the credit for something that God has accomplished, and takes the glory that belongs to God alone. Anything we accomplish in this world would not have been possible were it not for God enabling and sustaining us.
“What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift?” 1. Corinthians 4:7 NLT
We are not to boast about ourselves, finding pride in our own achievements and possessions. It is what God says about us that really count.
“When people commend themselves, it doesn’t count for much. The important thing is for the Lord to commend them.” 2. Corinthians 10:18 NLT
It is clear that in order for us parents to have an effective ministry to our children, we must repent of the sin of pride that hinders our children to come to Jesus, and instead humble ourselves so we will find help and favor with God to lead our children to Jesus.
“God opposes the proud but favors the humble.” So humble yourselves before God. James 4:6-7 NLT
The second hindrance to children is the lack of knowledge and understanding of the Word of God, the Bible.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6 NKJV
It takes as much or more understanding of a biblical doctrine to teach it to children than it does to teach it to adults. If you understand a thing well, you can usually make it plain for ordinary people and children. But if you are fuzzy in your own understanding, you will generally be overly complex in your explanation. That is why we need to study the Bible, the Book of Instruction, so we will gain knowledge and understanding that will cause us to prosper in everything we do, which includes raising our children to come to Jesus.
“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” Joshua 1:8 NLT
God commanded the Israelites to pass on His Word to their children:
“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NLT
Children can absorb and retain when they are repeatedly and systematically and progressively in-structed in the doctrines of the Bible. We often fail to teach our children not just because we lack knowledge and understanding of what needs to be taught, but because we do not take the time to plan to teach. We need to plan a strategy to for instance take ten minutes a day to teach our children the most important Biblical truths.
As we continually study the Word of God, the Bible, and obey everything that is written in it, we will overflow more and more in love and will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. By doing so, we will not be a hindrance to our children to come to Jesus and know Him.
“I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.” Philippians 1:9 NLT
The third hindrance to children is lack of discipline.
“Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives.” Proverbs 19:18 NLT
It is my responsibility and duty as a father to teach my child about the Father’s great love, who sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins on the cross to save us and give us eternal life, Jesus’ resurrection and His second coming, sin and its origin, forgiveness, mercy, persecution and suffering, the deity of Christ, the work of the Holy Spirit and its fruits, which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. My responsibility is also to teach my child about the inspiration and authority of the Bible and the nature and importance of the church.
As a father, I should never provoke my child to anger by the way I treat her, nor let my child become discouraged by aggravating her. Instead, I must raise my child up with the discipline and instruction that comes from God through His word.
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” Ephesus 6:4 NLT
“Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.” Colossians 3:21 NLT
We can live as parents in the sin and curse of aggravating and provoking our children to anger by the way they see us live for example in sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like being controlling, abusive and never willing to admit any wrongdoing. Our sinful lifestyles will then spill over to our children and hinder them to come to Jesus, and this will have serious consequences – not only on the children – but on the entire family and generations, as the Bible says in Exodus 20:5 NLT: “I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me.”
God is calling us parents to repent from living in sin and rebellion and become an example to our children of living on the right path, so that we in turn are able to direct our children onto the right path and not hinder them to come to Jesus Christ!
“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” Proverbs 22:6 NLT
Copyright©2012 Edwin & Sophia Christiaan