I have three very diverse boys (and one girl- bless her heart). Each has their own personality, passions, problems, and unique plan from God. Over the years they have made me laugh, cry, shout, shake my head in dismay, and clap my hands with delight. They are a blessing and a joy, and I love them immensely!
But, they’re not the perfect picture of godliness. And neither am I. Perfection is an illusion, and if we aim for that in our parenting or any other area of life, we’ll miss every time.
Raising Godly Boys to be Devoted Disciples of Christ
When we say we are raising our boys to be godly let’s be clear that we are NOT implying sinless perfection. Jesus alone holds that claim to fame! As fabulous as they are, each one of our boys (and every human ever born) has:
• A sin nature
• A free will
• An opinionated mind
• A wicked heart
• A rebellious spirit
Just like their parents do! We can’t put standards on them that we can’t even live up to ourselves.
Born-again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have an advantage in that the Spirit of the Living God dwells within them. They have victory over sin and the potential to bring God glory with their lives. But they still have that rotten flesh that wrestles against the Spirit, desiring dominion over their attitude and actions.
Living under the high expectations of others, or self-imposed pressure of perfection is detrimental to the emotional, mental, and spiritual health of our boys. They will struggle with comparison, feelings of inadequacy, envy, and low-self esteem as they seek to attain the ever elusive impeccability.
What is godliness anyway?
We tend to gauge godliness based on conduct- if they read their bibles, pray, serve, do religious things, and abstain from sinful things, then we would say that person is godly. But in God’s economy, it’s the condition of the heart that’s the measure of godliness.
~1Samuel 16:7~ But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. (KJV)
Vine’s Expository Dictionary defines godly/godliness as: “Denoting that piety which, characterized by a God-ward attitude, does that which is well-pleasing to Him and denotes the fear or reverence of God.”
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says this: “Godliness, as denoting character and conduct determined by the principle of love or fear of God in the heart, is the summing up of genuine religion.”
Synonyms for godly are: devout- devoted to Christ, and pious-reverent to God and devoted to worship.
No matter what religious works they do, how kind they are, or how many Bible verses they can recite from memory, their godliness is proven out in their relationship with Christ and reverence for God.
We want to raise devoted disciples of Christ!
We must gauge godliness by God’s standard and not our own. Focus on the internal over the external.
There are religious people in the Bible known for their external godliness- scribes and Pharisees. To want our kids to emulate them would go against Jesus’ clear teaching.
Jesus’ scathing sermon about the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23:
• say one thing but do another – v.3
• put burdens on instead of bearing them – v.4
• do all their works to be seen of men – v.5
• love to have the prominence – v.6
• crave titles of importance – v.7
• Jesus gives them 8 “Woe unto you” statements – v.13-29
• Jesus calls them: hypocrites, fools, blind, serpents, generation of vipers
~Matthew 23:28~ Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. (KJV)
As we endeavor to raise godly boys into godly men who bring God the glory He so rightfully deserves, we must address their heart condition.
A heart devoted to Christ begins with a heart crushed by the weight of their sin. It’s a heart that is broken from self-will and surrenders to the will of God to repent and believe the gospel. To raise godly boys we must be sharing the gospel, living the gospel, and they must be obeying the gospel.
If we don’t target their heart, mind, and soul first, we’ll just be raising religious robots instead of devoted disciples of Jesus Christ.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”In raising godly boys, If we don’t target their heart, mind, and soul first, we’ll just be raising religious robots instead of devoted disciples of Jesus Christ. #RaisingGodlyBoys #BiblicalParenting” quote=”If we don’t target their heart, mind, and soul first, we’ll just be raising religious robots instead of devoted disciples of Jesus Christ.” theme=”style1″]
Cultivating a heart of reverence and love for the Lord requires instilling biblical principles such as:
• Repentance over regret – Luke 5:32
• Relationship over religion – John 15:5
• Regeneration over reformation – Titus 3:5
• Reconciliation over rivalry – 2Corinthians 5:17-19
• Humility over haughtiness – Proverbs 15:33
• Love over loathing – John 13:34-35
• Obedience over obstinance – 1Samuel 15:23
• Service over selfishness – Psalm 100:2
• The Word over the world – Romans 12:1-2
We reproduce what we are. So if we want to be raising godly boys we must be godly ourselves. Love Jesus with all of your heart! Live out the truths of scripture! Let your light shine brightly! Lean on the Lord! Let your boys see what an authentic relationship with Christ looks like!
Instead of trying to conform our kids to a list of rules or shove them into a mold of our own making, let’s pour out grace and point them to the gospel.
As we love them unconditionally and model godliness, humility, reverence, and devotion to Christ, we give them a living example to follow and put the gospel on display. That’s how we raise godly boys without the pressure of perfection or creating religious Pharisees.
~ 3 John 1:4~ I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (KJV)
Resource for Boy Moms:
BRAVE for BOYS Bible Study a FIVE-LESSON Bible Study for BOYS (Ages 10-14) by Annie Pajcic of Thou Art Exalted!
I am a Jesus loving, bible teaching, pastor’s wife and mom to four kids who range in age from 13-21. Writing is my labor of love, and teaching God’s word is my joy. In addition to writing/teaching Bible studies and devotions, I also write at Daily His Disciple and contribute to other blogs. I hope to write books for God’s glory someday! You can find me over at Daily His Disciple.