And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth. Genesis 1:28 ESV
Many God-fearing couples struggle to have children. For some of them, the journey to conceive a baby has been filled with expensive medical procedures and many heartbreaking disappointments. Yet they persist because they want to experience the gift of parenting. Others have accepted the reality that adaption or foster parenting is their best alternative and have stepped up to be good parents.
Parenting is a divine assignment from God filled with wonderful moments of joy and many challenges. It is a lifelong ministry from which one can never retire. The primary purpose of parenting is to populate the earth with God-fearing human beings. That’s a spiritual assignment like none other. It requires emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual focus and consistency.
In today’s text, God blessed and commissioned Adam and Eve to be fruitful and fill the earth with children. What God did not tell Adam, Eve, and subsequently all parents is how challenging the Ministry of parenting would be. Indeed, the parenting skills of Adam and Eve came into question when Cain killed his brother Abel. Whereas God did not accuse Adam and Eve of failing their children, He subsequently offered valuable insights in scripture about how to raise godly children.
One of these insights is found in Exodus 20:12, where God commands children to honor their father and mother, so that they may live long lives. This means parents must raise their children to respect, honor, and obey them. At the same time, fathers are reminded not to provoke their children to anger, but to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).
The greatest disservice parents do to their children is to bring them up without a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. After all, ungodly and unbelieving children have a greater potential of becoming ungodly and atheistic parents. The great commission work of Jesus Christ of making disciples should begin with parents. Indeed, evangelism should begin at home.
It is the responsibility of every parent to disciple their children. Churches may offer a more holistic and comprehensive process for children’s spiritual growth, but it is not the responsibility of churches to disciple children. God gave parents that responsibility. Therefore, sending a child to Sunday school does not absolve parents of their spiritual responsibility to disciple their children. Parents should model Christian discipleship so their children can become the same.
Ultimately, parenting is more about building up the body of Christ than growing our earthly families. The ministry of parenting is about raising children to do the great commission work of Jesus Christ. This can be done through biological children or adoption.
The world wants us to believe that good parenting is about raising children with successful careers. They heap praise on parents with children who are high achievers, celebrities, or star athletes despite the questionable character of these children. But the biblical model for good parenting is centered on raising children who reverence God and are living to His glory.
Questions for Personal Reflection
Why is it important for parents to bring their children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord?
How has the Bible helped you to become a better parent?
Prayer- Blessed Lord, I thank you for the wisdom you shared in scripture to help me become a godly parent. Please help me to be intentional in raising my children to become disciples of Jesus Christ no matter their level of success in life.