Today we will look at the final inner need of a child. Without addressing this one in their soul, they will not have much hope for the future. When this inner need is met you will launch your children with a level of confidence to do what God has planned for their life.
Inner Need Number 3 – Every child has the inner need for strength
If a child has security and knows they were created for a significant purpose, but no one helps them develop the inner strength to move forward in life toward this end, they lose hope. This last need is all about launching children with hope. Each child gains hope when they can get up each day and face the world with a sense of confidence. They have a strong hope to face life because mom and dad instilled the life lessons to give them strength – emotionally, physically and spiritually.
Obviously this involves moms and dads helping kids see their God given abilities. Again, you are praising them for actual talents and not what you wish for them. If they are good at something, let them develop it. Teach them that short-term discipline will enable them to have long-term pleasure in the area they are gifted. However, be careful you do not live your life through them and push them to be the professional athlete you could never become. After all, your dream of being the next NBA star died when you realized you would only be five feet tall!
Also, don’t be afraid to stretch your kids. God has not called us to raise safe kids, but strong kids. Of course, you don’t want to throw your kids in a pool of alligators and tell them to swim. Let’s not go overboard here. But, you do want your kids to develop some “tough skin” and develop a life of adventure. A life of adventure will teach them to rely on the Holy Spirit. Fear-based parenting makes our kids anemic and they often will struggle with trusting God during the hard times of life as a result. Being overprotective and seeking to give them a “rubber world” is actually one of the worst things you can do as a parent. Protect them at a young age, but as preparation increases, the protection decreases. Life is painful. Life has difficult times ahead for each of your kids. When your child learns to risk and fail when under your roof as a loving, grace-based parent, they will know how to cope with the difficult lessons later in life by trusting the Lord. These lessons learned will be positive accomplishments and actually give them more strength for the future.
When you allow your child to risk, and yes even fail in your home, you are providing a grace-based lab environment for them to find their strength in Jesus. Every time they walk down this path, you point them back to Him. In the failure, Jesus is there. When they are hurt, the Lord is present to provide comfort and healing. If they need more wisdom, the only wise God offers His. When forgiveness is needed and strength to pick up the pieces and move on, it is the good Shepherd who will lead them.
Parenting is the best discipleship process I know of as a pastor. First, if you are going to spiritually lead your children, then you must get your act together spiritually. Remember, you leave the legacy you live.
Second, if you finally come to grips with your role as a parent, then you must learn how God has graciously raised you as His child. Believe me, you and I have received more grace than we could possibly imagine! That doesn’t mean there are no consequences. James McDonald stated it best when he said, “If you choose to sin, you choose to suffer.” However, it is because of God’s incredible grace and love, that He provided a solution for our sin – Jesus, the good Shepherd who laid down His life for each of us (John 10:11). Once we see His grace-based parenting in our life, it will show us the path to creating the same grace-based atmosphere in our home. After all, the way they see God is directly related to how they see you as a parent – this is especially true of dads.
Now let me wrap this up. Only Jesus, as the good Shepherd, can meet all of these needs and so many more. When children can touch, feel, and see a gracious mom and dad meeting these needs in their lives, it will open the gate for the good Shepherd to lead them all the days of their lives.
Let’s put it into practice:
- How are you addressing the inner need for strength for each of your children?
- Where are you strong and where do you need improvement?
- Do you know their gifts and abilities and are you teaching them the principle of short-term discipline for long-term pleasure?
- Are you raising safe kids or strong kids?
What practical steps can you take today to meet this inner need in your children?