Last week, I discussed the importance of parents recognizing their responsibility to be the primary leaders and teachers of their children—dads especially. Its important that parents teach their children, model the faith they teach by their example, and to prioritize the church. However, one thing I did not have time to mention is that the outcome of godly parenting is not solely the responsibility of the parents. Children are responsible for their development too. There are three principles to help us understand this truth.
First, we must understand that children must be active learners. Throughout the book of Proverbs, children are encouraged to heed the instruction of their father and mother and to seek their wisdom. Children must work to gain understanding through their parents education. Parents must teach, but the child is ultimately responsible for obeying and internalizing their instruction (Eph. 6:1)
Secondly, children must develop self-control. Following God’s commands is an outward sign of their inner love for Him (1 John 2:3) and a sign of the Holy Spirit’s presence in their lives. Children will reveal the state of their heart through the presence of self-discipline (or the lack thereof). It is the children’s responsibility to resist the temptations of the devil and the world.
Third, we must understand that our children will bear sole responsibility for their own actions. One day, we will all appear before the judgement throne (2 Cor. 5:10) and account for our own actions. While parents will be accountable for their fidelity to God’s commands, so too will the children—especially for honoring their father and mother (Ex. 20:12).
The Bible shows that following God’s commands is not a formula for automatically producing godly children. Many examples for this truth are found in 2 Chronicles where there is a constant cycle of godly kings and ungodly children. Parents, we must be faithful to fulfill our responsibility but the result is not up to us. We must trust God and lift our children up in prayer. God will hear your prayers and will be faithful to call His sheep to Himself.