Generation Cedar

I’ve been mulling over a particular thought lately, and I decided it would be great fun (and sharpening of mind) to open a discussion about it. Like always, I’m only interested in thoughtful and respectful comments; all others will be deleted.

I will not be able to join the discussion until later, as we are headed toward our soon-to-be home (no, we’re not in yet!) to work like mad. But I look forward to joining later.

Here is the thought:

What is the purpose of children in the life of a Christian? And, how does the answer to that question change our life-decisions?

In formulating a one-sentence answer to the first question, (it’s harder than you think), it sparks some very interesting thoughts about life in EVERY area. Even for me, who ponders these “issues of life” often and deeply, this question has been an important one and really challenges me in a lot of ways.

Your thoughts?

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27 Responses

  1. The purpose of children in the life of a Christian:
    1. To grow the kingdom
    2. To grow the individual Christian parents spiritually by giving them purpose and challenging them.
    3. To be an illustration of how God loves us and wants us to choose to love Him. As parents we love our children so much and want the best for them. Our growth and understanding here influences how we parent.
    4. A source of joy
    (not necessarily in order of importance, just put numbers to itemize.)

  2. I agree with both previous comments. Also since we are made in the image of God, we are creators like Him. Having children is how we “create”. We should look at them the same way God looked at everything he created and declare “It is good!”

  3. The purpose of children is to teach the gospel to them in order to spread Christ’s kingdom, ’til He comes. They help change our life decisions because they force us to be continually sanctified and washed by kneeling at the foot of the cross for guidance and to praise Him who gave them to us.

  4. Many days lately, the answer in my household is for my own sanctification 😉

    For mothers, children are the opportunity to minister to the least of these, to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirty, clothe the naked, on a daily basis.

    Children taught me how to love.

    1. I agree with Ashley and others. Children are for our sanctification. Raising them makes us put aside our own selfish desires, and molds us into servant leaders in our homes. Many times a day I see myself through my daughters character, and I cringe. It is humbling to correct her behaviour only to realize I need to be corrected/ forgiven for that same sin.

  5. In the Westminster cateshism, i believe the question “What is the chief end of man?” is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Can that be done in the context of our lives with our children? Yes, but as mentioned above, through a lot of sanctification on the part of us the parents! As well as providing an example to the next generation of believers.

  6. The purpose of children in the life of a Christian is for the glory of God! (I Cor.10:31) That changes our life decisions by seeing them through the lens of what will bring Him glory – not selfishly on what will make us happy, comfortable, secure, successful, rich, etc.

  7. My first quick short answer — slave labor. LOL!

    My second answer — HUMILITY! That’s what they teach us by God’s grace and love.

  8. Our children should become links in the chane that brings forth the gospel of grace. They should present it to their own generation. and all the rest of the things I read above (obedience, santification, joy…)
    I just worry when I see so many christian kids leave the way of the faith. What will happen to mine? I know that worry is a sin, but I often forget it.

  9. I have enjoyed reading your answers, and agree, mostly with them all. Like Laura said, the Westminster catechism sums up the purpose for all human existence quite nicely…”to glorify God and enjoy Him forever”.

    I think to simply “replace us” is short-sighted, though certainly an obvious reason. From a Christian perspective, the Bible teaches that the Kingdom will be advanced and children (godly seed) are one way through which that will happen.

    The reason I ask myself the question is because when I start thinking the wrong way about children, a whole lot of things can go wrong. This question should be asked of every means of getting children–including adoption. At the point that a couple seeks to adopt a child simply to fulfill a longing, though that seems and feels like a natural thing to do, we tread on faulty reasoning.

    And I think the simple fact that Christians often don’t ask this question, much less answer it, is a major downfall both in our entire philosophy of children and in the way we raise them.

    Children are given by the Lord, and for Him. We are stewards of them, given the task of thoroughly immersing them in the knowledge, fear, love, and doctrine of Christ.

    At the point they become for US, everything changes. We can have them or not. We stop treating them as souls, and treat them more as trophies. Affordability, inconvenience and personal preference becomes paramount over realizing your children are a heritage from the Creator, and part of His intricate, amazing, super-natural plan for us.

    And the warning is for me as much as anyone. Do I love them solely from a passion to see them hunger and thirst after righteousness? Do I? Or do I just want them stop fussing because it annoys me? Do I labor tirelessly to show them what the Word says about every area of life, or do I read a watered-down version of David and Goliath and feel satisfied with my spiritual responsibility?

    How much time do I allot to other activities compared to my investment in them?

    We all fall prey to the wrong answer. I pray we would keep this question, and especially the answer, fresher. It will change the way we live.

  10. What I have realized is my children ar a part of God on Earth for me. What I mean is, at times, they are my potter. They mold me and help work out the imperfections in me. They are God’s ways of making me more like Him. They are perfect little reflections of me…the good and bad. They point out the wrong with no remorse. Their pure child faith offers the simpliest and often the best solutions to life’s issues. For instance, a “friend” asked my 3 year old “Why do you believe in God?” her answer was simply “Because He made me. He made you too, ya know.” So simple, and so right, and so perfect!

  11. I will say that three years ago my answer would have been quite different than it is now. Praise God for changing my heart. From the time my husband and I married my desire for children was so strong. We chose from 4 months into our marriage to leave our family size to the Lord’s choosing. For the first six years…one son…then one more. Two boys. I know many years in-between I spent tears longing for more children. Why? Why did I want them? Sure, it’s lovely to hold and smell a newborn baby. I think I felt loved and needed and that was some of my reasoning at that point. We wanted our boys to know the Lord and to serve Him as they grew but, I didn’t recognize that they were His kids and they were on loan to me. We planned to homeschool from the beginning as well. We were very aware of the dangers of sending them off and wanted to be their teachers and the ones to raise them up. Though we had some things right…we had many more wrong. Selfishness is there…in MY heart! My focus was not and still isn’t at times on the main goal of God-centered parenting. It is easy to become so busy that I am not discipling and guiding them in love to the scriptures when they sin. When we realize the true purpose of children and what our purpose is in parenting that everything changes. When God shows us that the purpose of our being is to glorify Him and to raise up our kids to glorify Him…wow! We must focus on God’s word and teaching our kid’s to obey Him through obeying us. Our kids aren’t cute little boys to dress up and play church with. At churches in our past..that is what many children had become…an accessory…a status trophy. I praise God that He gave us our two boys. I pray that if He sees fit He will bless us with more. If He chooses not too, may I keep my focus set on praising God for them and not living my life wishing I had more. I don’t want to waist my life longing for things that God didn’t have in the plan for my life. Focusing my aim on Him and His word. I have so far to go…but, praise God that He isn’t finished with me yet.

  12. I had a pastor wisely say, “There is more than one way to grow a church.” I think raising children to love and serve the Lord is very simply an obedience issue. God tells us to be fruitful and multiply, and to teach our children to follow Him. It’s the only way to make sure the Great Commission is carried over into each generation. The family is God’s design for society, meant to be the structure in which children are cared for and raised. It’s also a tool of sanctification for me as a mother. Raising children to love the Lord brings Glory to God for many generations to come.

    I think that so often women have children for the wrong reasons (wanting to feel loved, because they are cute, everyone expects them too) and the parents often end up feeling resentful because raising children is a lot of work! I think understanding that children are a blessing meant to bring glory to God and to grow His family is the first step to really appreciating the hard things about motherhood.

  13. I think having children gives us insight into what God went through when He gave his son. When Jesus became man, he knew or lived the frailties of humanity; but when mankind has children, we live or understand the sacrifice of God. What man or woman could so willingly give their child to save his or her enemy? That is what God did, and having children helped me realize just how great the sacrifice was.

  14. Many good answers here already. I’ll add that because children have a natural curiosity, they stimulate us to dig deeper to find answers to their very insightful questions. Children get us to thinking about God’s world in different ways than adults do, and teaching the Word of God to our kids, with their fresh perspectives, helps us examine and solidify our own thoughts. It gives us great opportunities to think through what we believe and why, and to daily articulate our thoughts on biblical matters. Parenting also gives us a picture of what it means to receive the Kingdom of God like a little child.

    I also thought of this bible verse (I Cor. 13:11): “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Children serve as a good reminder of all those little character issues we may have carried from childhood to adulthood without much thought. Through having children, we also get a good picture of the patience and mercy with which God “parents” us.

    In thinking back over what I’ve written here, though, all of these things could be accomplished even if I’m the parent of only one or a few children. I could say (I’m not pointing a finger at anyone here), “God’s teaching me through the child(ren) I already have; I don’t need more kids in order to learn what He wants me to know.” Or whatever. Purposely limiting God’s blessing of children (in general) is trying to put ourselves in the driver’s seat regarding parenthood. It’s an “all about me” attitude, what *I* want from parenting, and not about God and His desire for Godly seed.

    I think when it comes right down to it, the answer to “What is the purpose of children?” is that God desires heaven to be filled with His children, at whatever stage of life they (we) return to our Creator. One of my favorite passages from the bible, from a section of scripture my husband read at the burial services for our miscarried babies, is this: “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:2-3)

    God has MANY mansions prepared. He desires for them to be filled. How do we live out God’s purpose? We receive His blessing of children, as many as He desires to give us, even knowing there is a possibility those children will go home to Jesus before their birth. For the children we are privileged to raise, we walk alongside them, training them, immersing them in the Word, desiring, like God, that all would be saved, and come to the knowledge of the Truth.

    Very good questions, Kelly. Thanks for this discussion.

  15. To Glorify God! I have seen the Lord use my children as well as other children to reach those for himself that we are not able to.He has also used my children to teach me so much!! Someday..these little people will be BIG PEOPLE..we already have some..lol..and He will use them for His Glory!! It is a humble and awesome thing to watch!!

  16. The purpose of children is to grind crackers into the dining room floor and spill milk on the couch. Oh wait…..that’s not quite right.

    LOL!

    The purpose of children is to wake me up in time to see the sunrise. 😉

  17. To make more disciples for Christ. To experience part of His Glory in what He designed us to do. To find discipline and learn lessons in one of the most beautiful ways there is. To experience a love we’ve never known before. To create life as He designed. To make miracles with our own flesh and hearts. To learn to need Him in a way we never knew.

  18. God created us, His children, because He wanted to share His love–we too are called to love–not to just feel love, but to LOVE them. It can only come from Him. In being filled with His love, we have something to pour out to them, and in so doing God is glorified. And in so doing, His love is made known to others around us…. And His love is passed on to the next generation…

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