No growing occurs, however, without the realization that we cannot progress in our faithfulness to God without the supernatural work of the Spirit. This acknowledgment keeps us from pride in our maturity, or from too hasty judgment of others’ spiritual condition. For instance, I can be tempted to take pride in my parenting by virtue of my children’s wonderful record of scholarship and conduct. However, I may learn upon my entry into heaven that the reason God so blessed me was that my faith was too weak to have persevered with the more troubled children of other Christian parents (whom I too frequently judge for the apparent failings). The challenges of raising a child are as much for the sanctification of the parents as they are for the benefit of the child. Perhaps this is the reason that childbearing and rearing come so early in our adult life cycle. Growing families are God’s pressure cooker to mature many of us quickly for the spiritual trials that he knows are ahead. Only the Spirit knows what is best for the spiritual nurture of each individual, and he matures us by means natural and supernatural that will be fully revealed to us only in glory. Our cause for rejoicing now, however, is faith that our union with Christ makes available to us the work of the Spirit that enables us to change.
As a general rule, parents who follow biblical principles in bringing up their children will see a positive effect on the character of their children. From a purely statistical point of view, children who grow up in Christ-honoring homes are more likely to remain faithful to Christ in adulthood than kids growing up in homes where the parents dishonor the Lord. The truism of Proverbs 22:6 does apply. We’re certainly not to think that God’s sovereignty in salvation means the way we raise our kids is immaterial. God often uses faithful parents as instruments in the salvation of children.
In His Word, [God] has given us a basic philosophy of child raising. In the Scriptures He has delineated for us the goals, the plans, the strategy, the standards by which we should raise our children. We do not need to shoot from the hip, we do not need to fly by the seat of our pants; we do not need to lean to our own understanding or the understanding of other fallible men in this matter. We have the infallible Word of God to answer our questions, settle our disputes, and be our guide. Conflicts, disagreements, differences of opinion can be settled by couples who are willing to make the Word of God, not their own ideas or feelings or opinions, their final authority in the matter of raising children.
Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:3 that “this is the will of God, your sanctification.” Parenting is profoundly sanctifying. When we were first married, the new relationship revealed rooms of selfishness in our lives – and within those rooms doors to other rooms, and in those rooms yet other doors and closets. The revelation was the beginning of an ongoing, lifelong housecleaning and the addition of children truly deepened the process. The inconvenience of parenting – the self-giving, the prayer, the dependence upon God, the growth – can be an experience of sanctification like no other… The discipline of parenting can be the road to an enlarged soul and the path to unimagined heights of spiritual development. That’s the way God planned it (Kent and Barbara Hughes).
I do not doubt, that many children, will rise up in the day of judgment, and bless their parents for good training, who never gave any signs of having profited by it during their parents’’ lives. Go forward then in faith, and be sure that your labor will not totally be wasted (Pro. 22:6).
You must be committed as a parent to long-view parenting because change is a process and not an event. Even the world’s best teacher – Jesus – had a process mentality and, because He did, He was willing to leave His work to unfinished people (see John 16:12–15).