How can we help our children hear and respond to the voice of God? How do we give them ears to hear? We pray our kids will recognize God’s loving voice and obediently follow his leading in their lives, but it probably starts with us and our voice. Chip Ingram says in his book Effective Parenting, “Whatever attitude children have toward your voice, that’s probably how they will respond to God’s when they are older.” We are what God sounds like to our kids. So, what qualities of God’s voice should our voice echo so our children are drawn into a relationship with their Heavenly Father?
We are placed in a position of authority over our kids. God tells us to use that authority in a loving way, because really it is his authority, and we are only stewards. So we use our power to serve and shape our kids, never to abuse. When exercised in love, parental authority leads our children to be led and inspired, not beaten down and discouraged. We are responsible for training our children to know their spiritual identity as God’s beloved child. We encourage them and help develop their gifts. We correct bad behavior and train our children to be responsible citizens of God’s kingdom, requiring limit setting, redirection, and even punishment at times. We are not called to be our child’s best friend; we are placed into a position of authority to train up our children in the way they should go.
God loves us sacrificially and unconditionally. God extended his unconditional love to us while we were still sinners. He did not wait for us to have our act together before he loved us. Can we show love and compassion to our kids even when they mess up? God’s love reminds us that we belong to him and that we are precious to him. Do you validate your kids so they know how much you love them? We want our children to recognize the love of their Heavenly Father in us and to seek out an active relationship with him.
God accepts us as we are but transforms us into whom we are to become. God does not leave us to wallow in our sinfulness, but rather challenges us to be transformed into his likeness day by day. We all have been gifted by God and carry his image. We have a responsibility to use the gifts that we have been given to serve God and his kingdom. Scripture tells us that we are created to do good works that he has prepared in advance for us to do. We can get very comfortable in life and forget that God has called us to transformation. Wonder and pray about how God might like to stretch you and your family beyond your comfort zone.
God offers comfort for all the hurt we face in this world. We want our children to see God as the place where they take their problems so we need to model taking all of our concerns to God’s throne. God is able to listen to all mess so we should get comfortable talking to our kids about challenging topics. God hears all of our emotions from joy and thanksgiving to rage and lament? Galatians 6:2 tells us, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
We want our children to respond in obedience to God so we need to require obedience to our voice of loving authority. We teach that obedience by being clear with our expectations and following through with consequences when poor choices are made.
It is a huge responsibility to represent God to our families. We will never do it perfectly, but that should not keep us from trying. God equips us with what we need. Day by day we are building a foundation with our kids, showing them the faithfulness of their loving God. As our voices resonates more and more with the sound of God’s voice, our children will come to understand God’s character and be drawn into a relationship with him.