Guard Your Children’s Spiritual Growth

"Nurture, guard, guide, and fold the flock of God that is your responsibility … Not domineering as arrogant, dictatorial, and overbearing persons ... but being examples, patterns, and models of Christian living ..." (1 Peter 5:2-3 AMP)

Jesus protected the disciples' spirits.

What does that mean for your children? You protect their dignity, their self-esteem, and their spirit. You realize the power of your words and that they can heal or hurt. 

We say, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." That's absolutely wrong! 

Words hurt more than sticks and stones. A child can break a leg or an arm, and it will heal, but some of you are still under a curse today because when you were growing up, your dad or mom said, "You're never going to amount to anything." And you're still trying to prove them wrong. You're still reacting to life instead of acting. 

As parents we must understand the power of our words to hurt or to heal. A parent can crush a daughter with one sentence — or build that daughter up. The same is true with sons. John Eldredge, in his book "Wild at Heart," says most men go through life reacting to what I often call "the father wound." Every boy, as he grows up, wants to have his manhood affirmed, and the most important person to affirm it is his dad.

If he doesn't get it there, he tries to get his manhood affirmed in dozens of other ways. He lives his entire life trying to compensate for something his dad never said: "You're OK, son. You're a man. You're all right. You're valuable." 

The Apostle Peter, though writing to pastors, gives advice that applies to all leaders, including moms and dads: "Nurture, guard, guide, and fold the flock of God that is your responsibility [that includes your kids] ... Not domineering as arrogant, dictatorial, and overbearing persons ... but being examples, patterns, and models of Christian living." 

Talk About It -

  • How do you use words to build up your children?
  • How might your words be hurting your children?
  • Talk with your small group or close friend about ways you can affirm your children, and hold each other accountable.

 

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.

This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


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