Parenting is one of the hardest tasks in this life. I know from experience because God has blessed my wife and I with five of them. Yes, you read that right, 5. As a Christian parent, I think many of us who identify as followers of Christ have a difficult time parenting from a biblical worldview. A multitude of reasons could be offered, but I would rather provide some solutions for helping you become the parent God has called you to be.
As Christians, we need to remember that our home is both a training arena and a mission field. The home is a mission field because we share the gospel with our children expecting and praying for God to save them, but also a training arena in which we “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). In this post, we will be focusing on the home as a training environment. Therefore, I want to help you teach your child how to be a good winner using Scripture as our guide.
Contrary to the culture’s belief system, the world is filled with people who win and people who lose. As a parent, you have experienced this reality. You have felt what it is like to be a winner in that you were hired for the job you applied for, or got a promotion at work, or won an athletic competition, or called into the radio show to earn two VIP tickets to a concert. You have also experienced what it is like to lose in that you did not get the job, or the promotion, or the win, or the two tickets to the concert. Since we have all experienced winning and losing at various times in life, this means that logically speaking our children will too.
Therefore, how do we train children to be good winners in life? Here are 3 Scripture passages to help you instruct your children to be a good winner.
- Matthew 22:37-40. When Jesus was asked by a religious lawyer what the greatest commandment in the law was, Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Jesus teaches that loving God turn one’s heart and affections to the love of neighbor. A correct love of neighbor is found in the moral law of God nicely summarized in the Ten Commandments. Children need to be taught how to win without doing so in an unloving manner to those who may have lost. An unloving manner would be something like bragging, boasting, insulting, or any other action that belittles another person who is made in God’s image (see 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and James 3:1-12).
- Matthew 7:12. A nice summary verse that goes along with Matthew 22:37-40 is what has been labeled by many as “The Golden Rule.” Jesus claimed, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12). When our children do well and win at something, they should do so knowing that others around them are not sharing their experience. Ask them to think about how they would like to be treated if they were on the losing end of the situation. This will cause them to think strategically about how to be joyful in their accomplishment, but also how to empathize with those they may have beaten. I think as believers we need to be able to balance joy and empathy well.
- First Corinthians 10:31. In one of Paul’s letters to the Church in Corinth, he asserts, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” He follows this statement with these words, “Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved” (1 Corinthians 10:32-33). We need to teach our children that the way they act should do two things: 1) bring glory to God (heart motive), and 2) point others to Jesus Christ (correct behavior). When they do something well and become a winner receiving a platform, we need to teach them to use their success and influence as a means to show others the gospel and bring glory to God. That, in fact, is our God-given mission as believers.
Parents, raising children is one of the most difficult and rewarding tasks the Lord has called us to do. We must remember that God has blessed us with these image-bearers for a temporary amount of time. As Christian parents, we must steward this gift with a mission mindset and as a training arena. We need to teach our children to be good winners that exalt Christ rather than self like culture tells them to do. I pray that as the world continues to press its ideals into their hearts and minds, Christian parents would press our children towards Christ. Only he can save, change, and use them for his glory and the advancement of his Kingdom.
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