Teaching Your Kids the #1 Thing God Expects of Them

Teaching Your Kids the #1 Thing God Expects of Them

As a parent, your top priority is teaching your kids the one thing God expects of them. There are many characteristics that I would like to be used to describe my children – responsible, kind, generous, forgiving, etc. However, according to Scripture, there is surprisingly only one characteristic that God prioritizes as a requirement for children –obedient.

While there are many specific things that God has to say to His followers in His Word, there are very few times that God specifically addresses children by name.

But when He does, He makes it very clear what He expects of them, and it always has something to do with their relationship with (guess who?)… their parents.

Ephesians 6:1-2 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right… Honor thy father and mother.

Colossians 3:20  Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well-pleasing unto the Lord.

Did you know that the ONLY THINGS God ever commands children to do in all of the Bible are these two things – Obey & Honor, which is obedience in two forms – outward obedience through actions and inward obedience and respect from the heart.

If the ONE THING in all of the Bible that God commands from children is simple OBEDIENCE, shouldn’t that be a driving force of what parents should be teaching your kids?

Yet in our society today, obedience among children is not on the rise. Sadly, we’re raising a generation of parents who obey their children more than the other way around. (The Bible tells us that disobedience among children will increase as we approach the last days… 2 Tim. 3:1-2.)

So why should parents prioritize teaching your kids to obey? Very simply:

  • Because your child’s obedience to you is a reflection of their obedience to God. Children are commanded to obey their parents “in the Lord.” (Eph. 6:1)
  • Because it will prepare your child for a fruitful and successful life. The Bible promises that “it will be well” with them, and they will enjoy a longer life. (Eph. 6:2-3)
  • Because learning to obey is a part of God’s ultimate plan to save your child’s soul. Learning obedience is a part of “delivering their soul from hell.” (Prov. 23:14)

Many parents will give reminders, or rebukes, or even rewards in hopes that their children will obey, but they will not actually make their children obey. This is a very disturbing trend. Parents should not be afraid to require obedience of their children.

Not only do parents have the right from God to tell their children what to do; they also have the right from God to make them do it.

So why aren’t more parents enforcing the biblical expectation of obedience upon their children? Why aren’t parents requiring obedience of their kids, rather than giving them options to choose from? And how do parents expect their children to one day obey God as adults if they don’t first learn to obey them as children?

Parents, we have been given by God the authority to make our children obey. And we don’t have to be mean, or abusive, or harsh about it. Nor do we have to apologize for it. Don’t hand over your God-given authority due to misbehaving kids, or social pressure, or fear of man. You, as the parent, have been put in charge in your home, so don’t forfeit that. Remember that obedient children are raised by obedient parents.

Telling your children what you expect of them, and then consistently enforcing those expectations does not make you the bad guy, it simply means you’re guilty of good parenting.

It’s time for parents to get back to the basics of simply teaching your kids to obey.

Prov. 23:13  Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. (Certainly not a politically correct verse, but biblically correct. Children need clear direction and consistent, loving discipline from their parents.)

Notice throughout the book of Proverbs how often Solomon taught obedience to his children. He started the first 5 chapters with this theme of obedience (Proverbs 1:8, 2:1, 3:1, 4:1, 5:1)

As parents, we must teach our children the #1 Thing that God expects of them – Obedience. (Or as we used to sing it as a child: O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E).

  • Teach them to obey immediately. Children are to learn to obey what they are told when they are told.
  • Teach them to obey respectfully.  Never allow your children to say no or talk back to you.
  • Teach them to obey spiritually. Remind your children that their obedience to you is a direct reflection of their obedience to God.

I love how simply Ken Blount put it when he said, “There is only one command a child has, obey. Many people struggle in life because they don’t. Teach your kids, in love, to be obedient.”

It’s time we start prioritizing what God has clearly prioritized for our children. Maybe it’s time we sat down with our kids and reminded them of the #1 thing God expects of them. Our homes and their futures depend on it.

This article about teaching your kids originally appeared here.

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Andrew Linder
Andrew is a husband, the father of four awesome kids, and a children's pastor at a thriving church. He is passionate about intentional parenting and helping other parents and leaders effectively reach the next generation. He blogs about kids and family at AndrewScottLinder.com, and provides proven resources for VBS and children's ministry at KidzBlast.com.