|If you have children, you now that parenting is not always a fun job. As soon as you think you have your child figured out, he or she begins a new stage of development that is more difficult to understand than the one before! But no matter how discouraged or overwhelmed you may feel, don’t lose hope. This lesson will help you to realize that the Bible contains an abundance of practical advice for you.
- 1. What is the worst advice you have heard lately about parenting?
- 2. If someone asked you for the most important principle to remember as a parent what would you say?
Read the following three sets of Bible passages and application notes. Answer the questions for each set before moving on to the next.
Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.
Some people purposely decide not to become parents because it requires too much self-sacrifice. Others eagerly become parents but then neglect their responsibilities because they ore too busy with career or other interests. Even committed parents may believe that children often get in the way. But Scripture plainly tells us that children are a blessing to us from the Lord. We dare not treat them as an inconvenience when God values them so highly. Raising children requires self-sacrifice and long-term commitment, but it also brings great joy. If you are a parent, consider yourself blessed by God.
3. Why do you think Solomon, the author of this psalm, compared children with the arrows of a warrior?
4. Why is it sometimes difficult to see children as a reward from the Lord?
5. In what ways does our society treat children as an inconvenience or burden?
6. How does this verse challenge you to adjust your attitude toward parenting?
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.
It is not easy being a good parent. We can easily become discouraged when we receive no word of thanks for our hard work or see no tangible results for our investment in our children. But just as Paul challenged the Galatians to keep going, we should also keep on doing our best to be good parents and trust in God for the results. We may not see the fruit of our labors for many years, but we can trust God’s promise that we will reap a harvest of blessing if we do not give up.
7. Why is it sometimes easier to do good to someone at church than to do good to someone at home?
8. How do we find a balance between controlling our children and trusting God for the outcome?
9. In what ways does trusting God make parenting easier?
10. How can you remind yourself of this promise the next time you feel unappreciated or discouraged?
Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion.
No matter how much we would like to think otherwise, parenting is emotionally draining and physically exhausting! Fortunately, God’s power and strength never diminish. He is never too tired or too busy to help a parent in need. He sees all of our troubles and heartaches. He longs to be our source of strength. When you feel you cannot take another minute, turn to God—he will renew your strength and encourage your heart.
11. Why do some parents try to put on a good front and pretend they have it all together when they are barely hanging on?
12. Why is it important for all parents to admit they need help?
13. When you feel overwhelmed by your parenting responsibilities, to whom do you usually turn for help?
14. In practical terms, what does it mean to rely on God for strength?
The Bible teaches us that children are a God-given blessing and important responsibility. However, there will inevitably be times when your children feel more like a responsibility than a blessing! In those moments God wants you to turn to him. With the proper perspective and God’s help, parenting can be done. That is because God wants us to be good parents, and he is always there to help us!
15. What new insight have you picked up from the Bible passages in this lesson about God’s view of parenting?
16. How can you depend more on God instead of your own strength to fulfill your parenting responsibilities this week?
Read Hebrews 6:10-12:
For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do. Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.
It’s easy to get discouraged, thinking that God has forgotten us. But God is never unjust. He never forgets or overlooks our hard work for him. You may not have received the “World’s Best Parent” award, but God sees all you do for your children. Let God’s love for you and his intimate knowledge of your service bolster you when you feel down.
17. How can your own expectations and goals make your job as a parent more difficult than necessary?
18. How can you determine whether your expectations and goals as a parent are realistic and attainable?
19. What hope or encouragement have you gleaned from this passage?
Read 1 Timothy 5:8:
But those who won’t care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers.
God expects Christian parents to provide for their families. This means that you must care for the emotional, spiritual, and physical needs of your children. This is your responsibility as a parent. In fact, God considers the fulfillment of this responsibility so important that he had the apostle Paul write that anyone who does not care for his immediate family is worse than a heathen!
20. How could this verse be wrongly interpreted as an admonition to fulfill all of the material desires of our children?
21. How can we provide for our families yet guard against materialism and greed?
22. What implications can be found in this passage about providing for children’s emotional and spiritual needs?
Read Philippians 4:13:
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Paul tells us that the power we receive from Christ is sufficient to get us through all the challenges that we face. If your desire is to please God, he will not grant you superhuman ability, but he will give you all that you need.
23. How do you feel about your ability to be a good parent?
24. How does knowing that God is on your side increase your confidence?
25. What challenges do you face this week as a parent? How can you depend on Christ to help you meet those challenges?
This study is adapted from Parenting: Life Application Bible Studies (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1996).