Being a mom in today’s society is hard. In a world that values appearances and instant gratification, the messy and grace-required work required to be a mother, paired with delayed gratification, just doesn’t fit the world’s projected Pinterest-perfect mothering ideal. “Religious” suggestions for family discipleship and raising a child up also abound, which are well-meaning, but can also easily overwhelm and cause a false guilt in Christian moms who are trying to raise their kids up in the way they should go.
Let’s cut through the Pinterest facade of the world’s ideas of mothering, and religious mumbo-jumbo of the 3-step list of how to disciple our kids, and get back to the definitive truth on the matter. Back to the Bible. Back to simplicity. Back to Jesus.
How did Jesus disciple, and how does this play out practically for how a mom can disciple her children?
The Bible shows us that Jesus had authentic relationships with his disciples. I mean, they were with Jesus all. the. time. You know how we moms complain that we can’t even go to the bathroom unaccompanied, right? I’d imagine that’s somewhat how Jesus’s life was with his disciples. They were full of questions, endlessly trying to anticipate what Jesus would do next and where he would go so they could help and be with him, naturally! They were all up in his business. Jesus saw them at their best and worst. And, even though there’s nothing sinful about Jesus, his disciples also saw him in his deepest, messiest struggles before God.
But that’s how they learned from Him. Being with him. Not only did Jesus have his disciples with him all the time, he used everyday time spent together to teach them to give glory to God, about
who He is, and how to live righteously.
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are all filled to the brim with examples of how Jesus discipled. Each instance of his discipling went something like this: (1) Some everyday circumstance or question presents itself to Jesus and his disciples because, yes, they were usually together. (2) The disciples want to know what to do or what Jesus is going to do about it, so they turn to Him. (3) Jesus responds by asking them a question, usually followed by a lesson (or sometimes he just leaves it open-ended for them to ponder). (4) The disciples have learned a new thing about God and/or have assisted Jesus in bringing God glory through working alongside Him in obedience.
So, how does this translate practically into how we moms can disciple our kids? Well, Jesus was pretty practical in how He discipled. We can be with our children and use everyday situations to
point them to Jesus. We can be real, ask questions that get our kids thinking about who Jesus is, and show them, or better yet have them help us, use the situation to give glory to Him. How
awesome is that? As mothers, our relationship and time spent with our kids set us up for a discipling relationship with them by default!?
We all have differing amounts of time to spend with our children, but we can choose to make the time we have with them count for Him. For my kids and I, praying in the car together, serving
alongside each other, working hard and cheerfully for him in the mundane (cleaning house, school anyone?), and relating discipline and consequences back what God’s word says about that particular heart issue are all discipling opportunities we embrace.
Lastly, something Jesus wasn’t but I am, is a sinner. I have found that being real and transparent with my children is critical in discipling them and creating a trustworthy relationship. Jesus never sinned, but the disciples grew in maturity and understanding by seeing their Savior struggle to be obedient through extremely difficult circumstances.
My kids see when I struggle to do the right thing. They see when I sin. Sin is never pretty or desired by God. But, as my children know (because I remind them regularly of their need for a Savior) that “All have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) It is critical for me, when I sin, to acknowledge my mistake openly with them, repent, apologize, and commit to refraining from that behavior in the future, humbly accepting God’s tremendous grace. Why is it critical? Because, whether we like to believe it or not, our kids are sinners and they need to also understand repentance and grace…the very foundation of “why” they NEED Jesus.
So what about you, Mom? I am going to challenge you to ask yourself, “Who is discipling my child(ren)?” Is it you and (if married) your spouse teaching them about Jesus through God’s Word and everyday opportunities to reference situations to Him? Or are you leaving discipleship up to the church,YouTube, social media, video games, school, or the kids’ friends? The enemy would love to disciple our children for us in the distractions and evil of the world, but God has other plans for our children and us, as moms. God has already set us mothers up with all of the things we need to effectively disciple our kids; time with them, a relationship with them, Jesus’s example of discipleship, and God’s word. Let’s disciple our kids like Jesus!