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Grow Up! Five Ways to Raise our Children in Maturity

Grow Up! Five Ways to Raise our Children in Maturity

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“We will see children that look like Jesus and find that God indeed rewards our obedience and perseverance with His blessing on our children and us as we keep them Home Where They Belong.”
“We will see children that look like Jesus and find that God indeed rewards our obedience and perseverance with His blessing on our children and us as we keep them Home Where They Belong.”

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Published by: The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine on Apr 09, 2013
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Grow Up! Five Ways to Raise our Children in Maturity
 
By Deborah Wuehler
 
 “Poor things,” she would say to herself, “they haven’t had any bringing up; they’ve justscrambled up!” This is what the dear mother had to say in Margaret Sidney’s
Five LittlePeppers and How They Grew 
.
1
As a tired and always busy homeschooling mom of eight,that is often exactly how I feel about how my own kids have grown. However, in this story,
the Pepper children didn’t just “scramble up,” but they grew in respon
sibility and maturityas they learned to live courageously in poverty and through trials of many kinds after thedeath of their father.I would love to know that my children are growing in maturity. However, I often hear myself 
saying “You are too old for that kind of behavior” or “When are you ever going to learn?” or “You are acting like a 2
-year-
old!” I am a mess of a parent who is trying to (and needs to)grow up, too, so you’d think I would be extending more grace to the hearer. What I really
desire is that my children would not carry their babyhood into their futures.I have seen extreme babyhood continue to play out in adult lives. This self-focus, whetherin adults or children, inhibits outward vision, outward action, and grows people up who areconcerned only with their own needs being met or with being entertained and coddled.Where are the people who think of others first and love when it hurts and stick it out whenthings get tough? Where are the true adults? Is there anyone we can learn from?
 
The Word of God is full of the real history of people either living out an extended babyhoodor living as strong, mature men and women of God. Consider Jezebel compared to Sarah:Jezebel strongly demanding
Sarah strongly submitting, even when it hurt. How about Saulcompared to David? One lacked self-
control; the other put himself under God’s control.
When they sinned (and they both did), the immature one made excuses, but the matureone repented. What about the wise man versus the foolish man in Proverbs? Obviously, wewould be wise to do the opposite of the foolish man, but so many times I act foolishly. So just how do I raise my children in maturity?The answer is found in another Biblical personality
Jesus. We should look at how Jesusgrew and then copy Him, since a truly mature person will make it one of his goals in life tobe like Christ. This is what the Bible says about how Jesus grew:
 
“And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace
of God was upon him. . . . And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth,and was subject unto them . . . . And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and 
in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:40, 51–
52).
 
In this passage we find five wonderful and extremely important goals to have for our own
children. Let’s pull out some of those phrases and look a little closer:
 
1. Jesus Grew and Waxed Strong in Spirit
 
Jesus was strengthened in spirit as He grew. As our kids grow, we really want them to bestrong in spirit and mind, too, and what better place to do that than in our own home? Somany anxieties and problems arise when our children are placed where their minds and
spirits are confined or attacked or defiled. To have a child be able to “wax strong” in spirit
 
and mind, is to have a child who is free to explore his world while getting to know HisCreator and learn His wisdom in all areas, including academics. By the time Jesus was 12,He knew the academics required of teachers of the Law to the point that even they wereamazed. I have felt that same kind of amazement as I have met some of these very younghomeschooled children and seen wisdom beyond their years and beyond their peers.
2. Jesus Was Filled With Wisdom
 
I want the same for my children. If I want my children to be filled with wisdom, then I mustbe a mother who is filled with wisdom. If I want to raise a son like Solomon, who prayed for
wisdom more than riches, then I need to be a Solomon’s mother who does the same and
prays for wisdom more than any earthly thing. If I want to raise a Joshua or Caleb who
didn’t listen to the world of disbelief around him, but rather believed in the God of Israel as
his Deliverer, then I must be a mother who believes in the God of Israel as my Deliverer.The very spiritual livelihood of our children and our future generations depends on it.
 
The Word of God and wisdom should be made available to our children even more than foodis made available all day long. We should be taking every opportunity to preach the goodnews of Jesus Christ and the commandments of God to our children. Nothing is moreimportant than to be preachers of the Gospel
right in our own homes. Here is the food wecan offer them:
 
“I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this
bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will 
 give for the life of the world” 
(John 6:51).
“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall befilled” (Matthew 5:6).
 
3. The Grace of God Was Upon Him
 
The Greek word for
grace
in Luke 2:40 is
charis
,
which means “God
freely extending
Himself (
His favor 
, grace),
reaching
(
inclining
) to people because He is
disposed 
to bless (be near)
them.” 
2
 God freely extended Himself and His favor toward Jesus as He was growing becauseGod the Father wanted to bless and be near Jesus. It is hard to conceive, but God alsoextends Himself to us and to our children as we grow, because He wants to bless and benear us.
Charis
 
comes “from
chairo
; graciousness . . . especially the divine influence upon the heart,
and its reflection in the life . . . .” 
3
So you see, when our children’s he
arts are divinely
influenced, that influence will be reflected in our children’s lives. Who and what they are
influenced by is reflected in who they are and what they do. In homeschooling our children,we have the blessing of being able to control or negate the bad influences on our childrenand thus control what is reflected in their lives. At the same time, we should become the
conduits of God’s grace as we pour into them a Godly influence that will also be reflected in
the way our children mature and grow in Godliness.
4. Jesus Was Subject to His Parents
 
Jesus obeyed the laws of God. He kept the Fifth Commandment: “You shall honor yourfather and mother,” and He set the example for us all. Should our children obey because it
makes life easier for us? No. They should learn obedience so that they can be like Christ.
 
 
Do they learn obedience and holiness in a secular setting? Does it come through a SundaySchool class? Evidently not, as studies have shown that many children who are raised inevangelical homes and churches but placed in a public school classroom for twelve yearsleave their faith by the time they leave for college.Our example for learning obedience is found in how Jesus was subject to His own parents,and in so doing, to His Father in heaven. As our children learn obedience to earthly parents,they are also obeying their own Father in heaven. As 1 Peter tells us, we are all to beobedient children and become like Him in holiness so that we might be holy in all
 “conversation [
anastrophé
],” 
that is, behavior.
4
 
“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the
 grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:13–
16).
 
We want our children to grow up and be able to do what Jesus did: to see what God wasdoing and do the same thing. Even as an adult, Jesus did only what He saw His Father do.That is a worthy goal for myself as well:
 
“Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son
can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever 
he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19).
 
5. Jesus Increased in Wisdom and Stature and Favor with God and Man
 
Jesus was not only
filled 
with wisdom, but He
increased 
in wisdom as He grew up into aman. And as He grew in wisdom, He also grew in favor with God and man. This issomething I pray over my children: that they would grow in wisdom and stature and infavor with God and man. I want them to be like Jesus. I want them to live and move andserve like Jesus. I want them to worship God and hear His voice like Jesus did. I want themto experience the same relationship with their Father that Jesus has with His.In John 17 Jesus is praying to His Father and asking that His disciples would know andexperience the same love that the Father has for Him. I also pray that my children wouldknow that God loves them with the same intense love He has for His only begotten Son. I
must intentionally tell them often of God’s great love—
and then show them what that lookslike by loving them
even when it is hard or painful or the opposite of what I feel like doingat the moment. Loving the unlovely or disciplining in lovingkindness or repenting foranything not like Christ in me is a sign of maturity; to do otherwise is babyhood on my part.If I want my children to grow up, I must lead the way and grow up myself in the wisdomand favor of God. I must do the hard, time-consuming things that all of life wants to distractme from, as I teach and train and nurture children in the Lord.My 3-year-old son wants me to read to him, but he wants me to skip the words and just tell
him about the pictures; he’s not really interested in the
 
depth of the story. That’s how someof us read the Bible: just tell us the highlights and the stories we know well. We don’t want
to hear anything that makes us have to think
we have enough devices to do our thinkingfor us. Instead of using our own minds, we carry our brains in our pockets or electronic

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