by Pastor Tim Burt
Oh the challenges of the Christian parent that has to watch their adult child go through the stage of figuring out what they believe. You no longer have the right or say in their life that you did when they were younger growing up under your guidance. They are adults and you have to develop a real friendship with them, the same as you would with anyone else. That’s the only way they will listen to you without shutting you out. If you preach at or yell at or condemn them, they will shut you out. Yet you can’t stand to see them make wrong choices or decisions. Welcome to God’s world. He feels the same way about us, yet He doesn’t interfere or manipulate us. (If you’ve been told He does, you’ve been told wrong.) He doesn’t want us to make wrong choices. He wants us to draw near to Him and walk in His grace and guidance. Yet, sometimes you just do your own thing. And so do your children!
So, what’s the answer? Let me give you four areas to anchor your faith and heart on!
First, set your heart like flint that love never fails. Your words may fail. Your approach to loving your children may fail. Love might look like it sometimes fails, but it doesn’t. Ultimately, God’s love will do its work. God’s love does not manipulate. It is truthful, yet appropriate and kind. God’s love speaks encouragement, and is full of faith. God’s love gives you the right thing to say and the right way to say it or it’s not to be said. If you care about your children’s love for God, and you should, then these years will teach you how to walk out God’s love-walk like nothing else can. You have to love your children during these years whether it’s a long duration or short and whether it’s difficult or easy. And even if they drive you crazy! Speak good over them. Don’t make them part of your whining or gossip to friends or other family in the name of asking for prayer. Do what God’s word teaches us to do—calling things that aren’t as though they were, your children! Declare these words despite what you see… Lord, I thank you that you are pouring out your spirit, sending laborers across their path, and watching over and protecting my children in Jesus name!
Secondly, you have to pray for them daily with sincere and true heart faith—not out of fear! Believe that God is working to draw them to Himself remembering that as much as you love them, He loves them more! Your prayers will cover them and protect them as much as possible, and in more ways than you can imagine. Pray… Lord, I thank you that you are working to influence my children’s heart each and every day. And I thank you for softening their heart and opening the eyes of their understanding today and every day! In Jesus name!
In most cases, God will use someone else to be the voice of reason and to speak God’s words to get through to them. Pray for the laborers that God sends across their path. They are working for you! And pray against the demonic forces trying to blind their eyes from the truth of God’s love. 2 Corinthians 4:4 (NIV) “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” Pray that the angelic host of Heaven will surround them during this time. Hebrews 1:14 (NIV) “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”
Third, show emotional stability! You cannot afford to blow it by letting them drag your emotions into their muddy pit. Sometimes in their searching stage, they get obnoxious, cruel, manipulative, even cold and mean. And make seemingly horrible choices. They will want your money and resources without accountability. If they want their own life, release them to it. If they want things from you, don’t be manipulative but also don’t be shamed or manipulated by them. If they want the adult life but your resources without sincere kindness or input, you are not obligated. Stay rational, and prayerful over your own emotions. Think hard and have peace in how you help or don’t help them. Just show love, not emotions in the process. And don’t let them tie your love to their desire of your resources. Establish clear boundaries for yourself. Don’t say or do what you will regret, and again, don’t let them drag your emotions and actions into that place. You are the mature adult in the room right?! So keep your emotions in check. Show the love of Jesus the best you are able. Keep in mind and have the hope that one day they will show up, say they are sorry, and have come to their senses as did the prodigal son.
Finally, don’t you yourself live a hypocritical Christian lifestyle. This is serious! Your children and the world are watching you! Don’t be the Pharisee who preaches one thing and does another. Don’t be judgmental. Just live your life in a Christ-like way that you hope they might be proud of and desire to emulate! You want them to change right? So let God keep doing a work in you! And that also means you better have found a good Bible teaching church you attend regularly and participate in or all of this will mean little to them.
In conclusion: remember that as much as you love your children, Jesus loves them more and is working through your prayers behind the scenes! Love that doesn’t fail, your living example, and your faith filled prayers are three incomparable forces surpassing all others!
1 Corinthians 13: 8, 13 NIV “Love never fails… and now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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