When Your Children Stray

Our youth need to be mentored and discipled, especially along the lines of godly discipline. Too often when our youth go astray, the first thing that we do is look for someone to condemn. But this really doesn’t help anyone. What our children need is our support, our hearts and our minds to come up with practical solutions.

Even the most perfect Father has rebellious children. Although the reality is that all of us have strayed from our heavenly Father, the greater reality is that God provides a way for us to find our way back to Him!

In every straying and wayward child’s journey, they will, at some point, come upon a dead end. The question is, when they do, will there be a pathway that we have prepared for them to be able to find their way home?

By going back to the Word of God, we learn how to lay the pathway home for our son or daughter’s return. The first thing we can begin in our homes is to …

  1. Model and Disciple Early On

You are the first and foremost model your children will ever see. You are the main person, as their parent, they will look to for guidance on almost any subject. Your life will become their textbook for how to live. And that’s a tremendous responsibility!

The Bible reminds us to flood our lives with reminders of God’s eternal principles. That way, when the children grow up, they grow up in an environment of the Lord:

“… you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again” (Deut. 6:6-7).

God is saying that we are to model our Christian life in whatever we do. Do things that example this. Don’t make your faith something that is unseen. We can teach what we know, but we reproduce what we are.

When your family is your first priority, God can take care of your other problems. But if you lose the family that was built over time, resolution does not come overnight. It takes time to build relationships; it is our responsibility. When God sees that we are doing it right, He will delight in us and He will take care of the rest.

  1. Watch and Pray but Keep Your Focus on God’s Purposes for Your Own Life!

Watch for any hint of your children wanting to return home. And make sure that you pray for them, but the key is this: do not lose your focus on God’s plan for you. Do not let your child going astray destroy you and your family. Stay focused on God’s plans for you and your family, while also keeping one eye open for any signs that your wayward child is returning.

The father in the story of the prodigal son didn’t lose focus and worry excessively about his son. He let his son go and he himself got back to work. However, he kept watching, praying and waiting expectantly. Then, when the son returned, he ran to him.

Pray for godly influencers. What I need to do as a parent is to pray for godly influencers in my child’s life. Pray that there will be godly people influencing your child toward God’s best.

What if God is taking such a long time to bring my child to his senses? Then remember this:

  1. The Ultimate Goal is Salvation

The third principle to follow in raising children is to remember that our ultimate goal is not to get our kids to quit embarrassing us. Our ultimate goal for them is salvation, that their hearts will change. That way, they will have an inner self-monitoring system guided by the Holy Spirit. What will change hearts is Jesus Christ Himself coming into the hearts of these young people.

We pray for salvation that God will somehow change a child’s heart. And though they may not make much of an impact in this life, because of the grace of God, they’ll be able to have eternal life. And that’s our greatest hope for our kids. That’s our heart.

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

God has a perfect plan and perfect timing. He’s ready and waiting upon your child to take one turn toward home and He will be sure to immediately grab them. He’s just waiting on them. So keep watching, keep praying and keep waiting upon God to work a miracle in your straying child’s life. He promises us that He will!

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