Are you a mom looking for biblical wisdom on how to love your children? Do you seek to improve the relationship you share with your children by having a more loving heart? Learn ways to love your children unconditionally by following the example of Jesus over the next 7 days.
Us moms know a thing or two about love. Or do we?
Confession time: I struggle with loving my children the way I should. The selfish parts of me lash out at my children when they interrupt my “me time.” (Don’t they know I need time to myself?) And I lose patience when my youngest accidentally spills his glass of milk. (Why isn’t he more careful?)
Sometimes I treat my children like little adults instead of the precious gifts and mold-able children that they really are. I even set unrealistic expectations in areas of life that don’t really matter (e.g.—that stupid glass of milk).
Do unrealistic expectations for your children ever diminish your ability to love your children the way you should?
The Bible uses the word love over 300 times and yet I still can’t seem to get it right. I allow the sin of this world and my own personal desires to take over opportunities to love my children. Thankfully, the Bible clearly tells me how I am to love.
Love Your Children Like Jesus
I studied the Bible to find out what I needed to do to really love my children and no verse stood out to me more than the words spoken by Jesus Himself in John 13:34 (KJV).
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you…”
Wow. Powerful and important words: “…as I have loved you.” So important, in fact, that Jesus repeats them in John 15:12.
When you love, Jesus commands you to love like He had loved while on earth. But it is easy to forget or even ignore the second part of the verse—the part that instructs us to love like Jesus rather than how the world tells us we should love.
Have you ever fooled yourself into thinking that because you feel great love for your children that you are by default loving them as well?
Love Your Children With Action and Sacrifice
The kind of love Jesus spoke of wasn’t a feeling. Jesus showed us His love with action. Paul confirmed the idea of “doing” love rather than “feeling” love in Ephesians 5:2 (KJV):
“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”
Here, Paul tells the church of Ephesus to walk in love.
I like Adam Clarke’s commentary of this. He said that to walk in love means to “Let every act of life be dictated by love to God and man.”¹ Essentially, everything we do should be an act of love.
But then Paul helps us further by telling us how we do this—by imitating the sacrificial love of Christ.
Do you want to improve how you love your children? Then meditate with me on 7 ways that Jesus showed us love in the Bible (though He’s certainly displayed is love in more ways!), focusing on one a day over the course of the next week.
How to Love Your Children Like Jesus
1. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN—ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY GO ASTRAY.
“And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things” (Mark 6:34, KJ V).
Teaching just might be a prerequisite to motherhood! Multiplication. How to scrub a toilet. The power of scripture. So much to teach to our little flock.
Jesus sees a teaching opportunity in Mark 6:34. He recognizes that the sheep needed a shepherd to prevent them from going astray.
Do you ever miss teaching opportunities? I do.
My son scratches the table with a butter knife and my first response is to yell at him. My daughter gives me attitude about completing homework and I dish it back. Yikes. Teachable moments lost by my lack of compassion. Have you ever had these moments?
2. SHOW THEM THE WAY TO INNER PEACE (DON’T DRAG THEM THERE!).
“… that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33, KJ V).
Your children will no doubt experience spiritual warfare. They will battle against worldly thoughts that put their spiritual well being in danger. Do you want to spend your whole life shielding them against the enemy or do you want to guide them to the one who can grant them peace during times of tribulation?
As a mom, you want to take away the hurt caused by a bully or remove the doubt your teenager faces when God doesn’t answer prayer. Perhaps you try to stop a child’s sinful behavior by putting more rules in place.
Fellow moms, I plead with you to stop fighting your children’s battles or they will never know how to overcome the struggles of life on their own. I pray that you will empower them to find victory by guiding them to Christ, rather than forcing them with continual rules.
Will you join me in bringing your children to Jesus so that they can experience the long-lasting peace of our personal Savior? He alone will give them confidence and comfort to endure the difficulties of life.
3. DEVOTE SPECIAL TIME IN PRAYER FOR YOUR CHILDREN.
“I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me…” (John 17:9, KJ V).
In John 17, we see Jesus focused on the needs of His disciples. He centered His prayer on the men God gave Him to lead.
I pray for our government, the ill, and the unsaved among others. But when it comes to my children, I find that I often jumble in my requests for them with everything else. Like Jesus, we need prayer time that hinges on the specials ones God gave to us to train and guide.
Do you seek out the needs of your children and set aside adequate time to make those needs known to the Lord?
4. RECEIVE YOUR CHILDREN WHEN THEY COME TO YOU WITH A NEED.
“…Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me…” (Matthew 19:14, KJ V).
Both of my sons have peed in their pants because I ignored them while doing something “more important”. Have you ever pushed aside your children’s need and did it result in a “mess”?
Your children will inevitably come to you in unforeseen ways. At times, my middle son comes to me with bad behavior, whereas my younger son seeks my attention from the solitude of his room. As they get older, maybe they will fight their way to me with declining grades or poor language. No matter the path, moms must recognize these instances for what they are—a child asking for help or needing a extra love.
Jesus received the children in Matthew when the disciples wanted to turn them away. He recognized that the children’s needs were just as important as the needs of His adult followers. You too must recognize when your children come to you with a need (not to be confused with a want) and put aside the busyness of your life to receive them.
5. BE AN EXAMPLE FOR YOUR CHILDREN.
“For I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15, KJ V).
Our children imitate the good and bad in us, don’t they? One minute my heart swells when my daughter shares a piece of candy with her brother, the next minute I cringe when she barks orders at him. A mini version of myself she is—a kind-hearted soul with a bit of a bite. Ouch.
We moms aren’t always the best example, are we?
I love the story of Jesus washing the disciples feet. Jesus, in all his perfection, becomes a servant to showcase the significance and necessity of servitude. Do your children see the way they should live through your actions?
6. OFFER YOUR CHILDREN TRUE FORGIVENESS.
“Wherefore I say unto thee, her sins, which are many, are forgiven…” (Luke 7:47-48, KJ V).
This one might seem obvious. Yet, true forgiveness can be hard and takes more than words.
Saying “I forgive you” doesn’t always change my heart. How about you?
True forgiveness doesn’t repeatedly remind the offender of his/her wrongdoing or leave you bitter about the situation. Forgiveness provides peace to both the forgiver and the forgivee, even when you may struggle to forget the transgression.
7. BLESS YOUR CHILDREN BY SHOWCASING GENUINE JOY.
“And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them” (Mark 10:16, KJ V).
Blessed is a loaded word. Upon searching for its definition, I found many definitions such as “made happy” and “consecrated.” However, commentary on the Beatitudes further clarified the word by saying “being ‘blessed’ by God means the experience of hope and joy, independent of outward experiences”².
We can bless our children in many ways, but what better a way then to help them experience the hope and joy of Christ.
Every time I hear JJ Week’s song “Let Them See You,” I am convicted to follow through on the plea of the song’s chorus:
Let them see you in me,
Let them hear you when I speak
Let them feel you when I sing
Let them see you,
Let them see you in me.
You can bless your children by showing them the joy you have as a result of Christ living in you. Hopefully one day they too will show others the joy of Christ in them.
Are you interested in a more in-depth look at improving how you love your children? Would you use a devotional that presents further Bible study and suggests action items to take in order to implement each of the 7 ways to love like Jesus listed above? If so, comment “YES” below!
In what way(s) would you like to love your children more like Jesus and why?
¹Clarke, Adam. “Commentary on Ephesians 5:4“. “The Adam Clarke Commentary”. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/ephesians-5.html. 1832.
² p. 1342, copyright 1996, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Tyndale Life Application Study Bible, King James Version.